Wisewalk Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation for teen and youth counselling in Nigeria, has urged parents to be more deliberate about fostering better relationships with their teenagers.
The foundation made this known after concluding a four-day Teens Camp and Leadership Training in Lagos recently.
The lead coordinator at Wisewalk foundation, Emike Oyemade, described the teenage years as the time when the world is expanding, exciting and demanding energy.
According to her, this period presents the quest for identity and individuality, adding that there is an assertion of independence and the need to establish meaningful relationships with others as well as the urge to exercise personal decisions about the present and future.
Oyemade said: “In my 12 years of working with teenagers and counselling their parents, I have met many parents who think something is wrong with their child/ward. One of these concerns is having a teenager who talks, thinks and acts way above their age.
“During our just concluded teens camp, some parents registered their children because they think the children need deliverance.”
Oyemade further disclosed that most teenagers only need guidance, not deliverance.
“The four-day teens camp we organised recently was filled with transformational encounters to guide over 50 teenagers to self-discovery and personal improvement. Through several training sessions with seasoned professionals, they learned how to successfully navigate life experiences leading to a clear understanding of their identity and individuality. Teenagers who know who they are can make better choices in life, engage with others, and establish healthy relationships,” she said.
Considering the high level of decadence in the world, especially among the young ones, Oyemade advised parents to expose their teenagers to professional counselling and ensure that they properly guide them to have sound knowledge of who they are.
She said adolescence brings new struggles and challenging experiences as they try to create a balance, adding that establishing a clear personal identity is important at this stage.
“Teenagers need to be clear about who they are. It sets the ground for becoming the person they want to be. They need to know what they want, the strengths that will build their competence, the weaknesses they need to overcome, and the interests that would help them make successful career plans.
“When there is a restriction or lack of exploration and identification of their characteristics, values, and directions, teenagers become uncertain about themselves and do not know what to do. We must guide them to overcome this.
“Research has proven that minimal exposure or opportunities to socialise and establish peer relations restrict changes of discovering self because of limited experience. Our aim for holding the Camp was to help teenagers discover and rediscover themselves and build essential life skills,” she added.
Oyemade also expressed concerns over the alarming rate of addictions among teenagers.
According to her, “Habits and dependencies on drugs, gambling, devices, sex, gaming and other addictions are usually picked up during teenage years and these must be curbed at the early stages.
“Peer pressure and societal influence are highly instrumental to the rise of addictions among teenagers. One rotten apple is enough to spoil the bunch. If one is addicted, the high tendency of evil communication to corrupt good manners puts his circle at risk.
“Teenage age is a critical and developmental stage of life. This period is when youngsters are constantly exposed to new ideas, characters and people. They tend to work on developing their personalities and interest. This stage requires full attention,” she explained.
Oyemade urged parents to support their teenagers through this stage and give them opportunities to discover their uniqueness, evolve, stand out, make an impact and be empowered to become whom they are created to be.
“Our teenagers must be set straight and placed on the right path now than try to do so in adulthood when it is too late. Teenagers need to meet with other teens that positively challenge and motivate them to take ownership of their future,” she said.