Teenagers And Dating: The Dangers Of The Mountain Edge. 

Teenagers And Dating: The Dangers Of The Mountain Edge. 

 

As VALENTINE approaches, here is something I wrote that you might find useful:

*Teenagers and Dating: The dangers of the mountain edge!*

*Preamble!*

Teenagers love dating. Oh dear! I remember when I was much younger (forget the fact that I was in the minor seminary at the time), there was always something very fascinating about girls, especially the really pretty ones. I would unconsciously change my gait, become overly self conscious, and even stutter for words in their midst.

Yea! So I know why many teenagers feel like dating is a ‘rite of passage’ of some sorts. Who wouldn’t want to get to know a pretty lady better? Or get a cute guy to go out with them? Okay? But now I know better. And I know that teenage years can be most devastating for many of us if care is not taken.

A young lady in Year One in the University once asked me if it was okay to start dating a guy. She wanted to begin a steady relationship. I asked her if it was okay to stand on the edge of a mountain top, when it was obvious you could lose your balance? She said it was risky. And I told her it was equally risky to start a relationship that early as well. You could fall off the mountain edge and end up with too many broken pieces of your heart.

*This thing called dating…*

Many people use the word ‘dating’ so much, they can’t exactly tell what it means anymore. Let’s not drift too far away. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “Dating is a stage of romantic and/or sexual relationships in humans whereby two or more people meet socially, possibly as friends or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in a more committed intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple.” There are those who frown at Wikipedia definitions. I don’t. I have reasons to believe that Wikipedia definitions are modern definitions, influenced by modern behavioural patterns.

*What about courtship?*

So while dating is basically about hanging out with someone  and going out for sights, picnics, movies etc, it’s usually with an aim of getting to know that someone better for whatever reasons; from good to the outright bizarre. Take note!

Courtship on the other hand is solely for the purpose of marriage. Understand? Here’s our friend Wiki on the matter again, “Courtship is the period in a couple’s relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement.” This definition presumes that there was already an existing relationship of sorts. This should be nothing short of friendship. It doesn’t necessarily mean sexual intimacy.

*Deepen friendship, not sexual intimacy…*

It’s quite cool to have a friend. A boyfriend, a girlfriend… That’s all good. But the emphasis should be on FRIEND not BOY or GIRL. So, rather than worry about how to get this one girl or this one guy out of the group, worry more about getting to know and enjoy companionship with this one guy or one girl (or more) within the group. Exclusion brings evil. “I have a cutie pie in my class and we go to the same church, sing in the same choir, stay in the same neighbourhood and all. So I get to see him and talk to him almost always. But I’m not satisfied with that. I want to go out with him to the bush behind the house, or pass the night in his room and so on.” I am asking for trouble. And I will find it in no time.

*Don’t date! But if you must…*

The general advice for teenagers is “DON’T DATE!” Truth is, you don’t want to be sexually active in a relationship. And that’s exactly where early dating could get you. You still have school and many other more important things to sort out. You’re not ready to be a mother or father yet. You’re not ready to make the marriage commitment either. You don’t even have the capacity to make such a commitment yet. So let it go and concentrate on self development and growth.

But if you’re stubborn, and you think you must date, then do so in public places and amidst friends. Do group dating. It’s so much more fun and so much safer. That way, you get to hang out with the guy or girl you like and still end up in one piece. A teenager in a relationship is like a ticking time bomb. Self control is still under construction. Hormones are developing and roaring hot. Libido is untamed and emotional maturity still far on the horizon. Why would you want to climb a mountain edge when you’re not sure of your balance? The last thing you want to do is get two teenagers alone in a secluded place for long periods at a time. Get the point

*Pay your own way!*

Many people don’t want to hear this at all. But truth is, some teenagers are too greedy. They agree to go on a date with someone they’ve never met because it could lead to free food, free smartphones, free bags and stilettos, and blah blah blah. Listen to me. If you must date as a teenager, and you go as a group, pay for your own food and drinks. That way, you won’t feel obliged to say ‘yes’ when your date begins to demand some funny things.

Why must you accept an expensive phone or dress when you know you’re not ready for what might follow? So kindly reject free seemingly harmless gifts till you know what you’re dealing with. Don’t throw up your hands and rejoice that you’ve caught a mugu (coward). You might end up being the mugu (coward). And then it’ll be too late. So, pay your own way. If you don’t have enough money, stay at home.

*Never, never stay the night!*

Even group dating has to be supervised. You would be amazed what harm young people could do to themselves without some adult supervision. This is where drugs like cannabis, cigars, alcohol and others usually come in. Above all, sexual molestation and or rape could follow. So when going out on a date, make sure the location is not known to the group alone. Tell someone else. If possible, go with someone slightly older, if you’re not comfortable with having a full grown adult around. Finally, get done and go back home. Don’t stay over in some hotel, or in some rich guy’s apartment claiming to be flexing. You might end up completely flexed. Next day, you might not recognise the road to your father’s compound.

*Finally…*

It’s okay to want to hang out with a pal. But for what? Sex? Don’t! Free gifts? Don’t! Adventure and fun? Don’t! To get to know them better? Yes! What’s okay to do is courtship. When you continue to hang out with friends in groups and develop healthy friendships and relationships with them, you’ll be clear headed enough to pursue other important things. Soon, you’ll be ready to climb the mountain edge and not worry about falling off.

God bless you as you strive daily to be better and better, Amen.

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2017.

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: