DEALING WITH ADOLESCENCE
By: Sthembile Shabalala
Although for parents watching their children grow up is the most treasured experience for parents, many will admit that they wish their children could skip the teenage stage and become adults.
Adolescence is recognized as many as a stage during which teenagers become irresponsible and do not listen to their parents- from approximately thirteen to nineteen years of age is when “teenagers” want to experiment and experience life as it is, and often do not think about their future.
Slindile Jiyane, a Journalism student, says that adolescence is not such a bad thing as it differentiates between a teenager and a matured person.
“I have been through that stage where I thought I was in control and knew better than my parents. However I am glad I did not do the things that my friends did. I was my own person who made her own mistakes and learnt from them,” she said.
A lot of young people want to be independent at a very early stage, however, independence does not mean that one can do whatever they feel like doing, whenever they feel like doing it.
It simply means you are given the benefit of the doubt, and that you are a responsible, mature young person. The youth of today, however, tend to use the word, “independent,” as an excuse to do as they please, even if it means disrespecting their seniors.
Most parents find it very hard to understand what to expect from their teenagers, and may be either over-protective or over-confident about their children’s independence and ability to protect themselves. Some parents are believed to be the reason for their children’s behavior at this stage.
The children who are over-protected sometimes do things behind their parents’ backs. Others run into difficulty when they are confronted with situations where they are expected to cope alone. In both these situations young people can feel un-supported and worthless.
On the other hand, peer pressure has always been an issue which plays a major role in the decisions that are made by individuals. Parents are not the same and will always be different. Some are strict, and others let you make your own mistakes and learn from them. At the end of the day, parents only want the best for their children.
Sphilele Nxumalo, a Durban University of Technology student, said I believe this stage has a negative impact on our teenagers, who are to be our future leaders. People start at a very young age to do wrong things and end up being criminals or alcoholics because they started in their childhood and their parents ignored it and said it is a stage that will eventually pass,” said Nxumalo.
The media also plays a role in children wanting to gain their independence at an earlier stage. Teenagers want to be independent because of the people they see in magazines and television.
Adolescence and the difficulties many of our youth have in dealing with this phase can cause severe damage to the future leaders of the country.