In most western countries, the rules are, for the most part, lax for their teenagers on the topic of dating. You see twelve year olds talking about a boy or girl they like in class and the parents actually encouraging it.
Funnily enough, while they don’t actually swear (or they make use of milder alternatives) in the teens show, dating and kissing is apparently not a problem.
No one said there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s definitely not how things are done here in Africa.
And that only indicates a clear line in the lifestyle of the Western world and African culture. This is where it gets mixed up. Right from time, the west has influenced a lot of changes in Africa and now we see a lot of teens practicing cultures from the Western world and tagging it ‘being cool’. One of these ‘cultures’ includes dating at an age that is still considered young. These lifestyle, once it borders on abomination in Africa culture, the perpetuator is usually faced with adverse criticism.
This goes without saying that things are still very much different in Africa. Because things that happen in other places do not have as much consequences as they would in Africa, it doesn’t mean it should be done.
Culture and religious doctrines of Africa regarding teen dating
Religion is a major bias. It’s no new thing that Christianity and Islam forbid sex before marriage, and in other to keep up with that, one has to keep oneself holy. Even traditional practices in Africa require teens to keep their virginity and keep oneself clean. It’s certainly no surprise that teenage dating is one of the distractions.
Being a teenager, which also means going through a lot of hormonal changes, something as small as a kiss can turn into something more. That’s why most African parents find the idea of teen dating absurd, they don’t want to hear of it. They know once two teenagers come together in the name of dating, immoral acts are bound to be committed. This is true because hormonal levels in teenagers are high and they always want to try something ‘adultish’.
How many times as an African, have you heard a teenager tell their parents that they’re dating someone?
*Disclaimer; this post states Africa, but it’s really from my general knowledge of Africa and my experience in Nigeria. if it’s not how things are done in your part of Africa, feel free to leave a comment. Also, this post is mainly talking to teens on the younger side.
My opinion as a teenager
I’m always on the fence when it comes to whether teenagers should date or not. I think it’s something you’ll look back on as an adult and say ” maann I was very embarrassing then”. Being in a relationship has a lot of commitments we can’t afford at this age.
I think we’ve not had enough experience of life to actually want to be with someone forever. I mean, most of us don’t even know what our love language is, we haven’t found ourselves not to talk of finding another person. Do you know how long it takes to know a person? but anytime teenagers realize that they ‘like’ someone, they just want to be with them.
As someone who as avoided relationships all my life in secondary school up till this moment, I think teen dating is very stupid. Your ‘partner’ can’t call you without you fearing that your mum might ask, you can’t hug him/her in public for fear that sa relative might see you. It’s just so stressful like why not wait?? Stop running ahead of your time.
The disadvantages of teen dating
1. You lose focus of your academics
I take academics very serious because it plays an important role in ones future. As a teenager, thoughts of relationship with academic work is not a good combo. No matter how you think you can handle it, you’ll find yourself leaning towards the latter.
2. Teenage Pregnancy
This is a very regrettable occurrence that ought to be taken seriously. If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex, don’t want incentives to have sex? Don’t date. I’m not even sure teenagers understand consent. What’s worse is that it becomes the girl’s burden. And, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can use protection when sex happens for the first time, teenagers are usually not prepared, hence pregnancy. Practice abstinence, it hurts no one.
Sure you must have come up with different ideas on how you can remain pious and still be in that relationship, it’s impossible, what’s a relationship without being able to hold, kiss, cuddle your partner? Why not just remain friends—if that helps, and if it doesn’t, probably stay on your own and explain to them why it can’t work. My teachers usually employ this saying: “if he really loves you, he’ll wait” this is true to some extent because do you really think he’ll wait? No kind of love can stop a young boy with his future ahead of him. He’ll rather explore.
As a teenager, you have priorities like school and your career, to face. You have a bright future ahead of you, Sometimes you may think these adults are harsh on you, but only them really knows what has happend to they because of teen dating. They’ve had far more better experience than us. I’m sure adults have a good laugh when they see us, little kids running ahead of our time.
As you get older too, you’ll probably look back and think how ridiculous you were, it’ll no longer make sense to you, because as you grow, your preferences start to change. You find out that what you thought you liked is no longer appealing to you anymore. You start getting attracted to things you thought were ordinary.
So how can you date at this young age when you haven’t found yourself, when you haven’t found your true taste. And believe me, you don’t wanna be caught making stupid mistakes like getting pregnant, or giving up school for blind love.
Also watch out for rebellious friends just because your friend’s doing it doesn’t mean you should learn to pick good friends.
Once you have a crush, don’t act on it immediately. Those feelings come and go as they like, and when they persist don’t kid yourself into thinking they’re your soul mate. Rather weigh the disadvantages with the advantages and your ability to enact self control. Most importantly practice discipline.
This is a very diverse topic and I know every one has a different opinion of it, feel free to comment your thoughts and if you liked this post follow me on Facebook and support me on https://www.buymeacoffee.com/anjolawritA
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