My TeenagerBy Stella Damasus
“If you want to hang out with us, you have to be able to manage dating 3 guys at the same time.. You can’t be our friend with the way you look, your dressing needs to be more revealing, you need to use more makeup…“Hahahaha, so you want to move around with us and you don’t party, you don’t drink, you’ve never had sex, you can’t even use a swear word?!”
Sometimes parents are not aware of the things concerning the lives of kids when they are in school. If I didn’t have a young girl I am mentoring that can tell me these things, I also would still be in the dark on such matters. Everything I’ve written here was given as a criteria to a young girl that I mentor just so that she could be a part of the “Populars”. Shocking?.. Yes I know. In my days, being popular wasn’t about how many relationships you could manage or if you have had sex but apparently things have changed.
I’m going to attempt to explain what life in school is like for young boys and girls just the way the girl I’m mentoring explained It to me.
In school you have clans. The 3 major clans are:
The Populars – These are the people that everyone wants to be like. They run the school and are usually feared but still adored by all others. They are rich and almost always badly behaved (so it still puzzles me why others would want to be like them).
The Famzers/Wannabes – The famzers (who are also like wannabes) are people that spend the better part of their time trying to be like the populars. They do everything possible to hang out with the populars so as to officially become a popular.
The Geeks- these are the people that usually get bullied because instead of messing around, they’d rather concentrate on their studies or maybe because their looks are not up to what the populars want or their dressing is not top notch (I don’t know who died and made them Fashion Police)
As irrelevant and childish as these things may seem, it’s very serious because these little things end up scaring our kids for life because in the quest to be one of the “Populars” our kids begin to do crazy things in school.
I once knew of a girl who so desperately wanted to be one of the populars but because she felt she didn’t have the looks to get her there, she decided to do whatever it took to be friends with the populars. So, she intentionally started skipping classes so she could become a “BAD GIRL”. Then she started paying a lot of attention to the boys that she would normally blow off. After that she agreed to go to the back of the school with a boy so she could finally prove that she had become a big girl. All of a sudden she started to get into a lot of trouble, and guess what, the populars started paying her a lot of attention. One would think that cults only exist in university, sorry to burst your bubble, secondary schools have become the place were cultism exists. I got really scared when I was informed that the girls are the ones who are at the forefront of this practice.
So this is how it works, once you can prove that you can be a bad girl, you have started having sex and no teacher can do anyting because you have a way of sorting them out, then you can fully be initiated. The process of initiation will see the girl in question carry out a particular task that can be as bad as sleeping with two teachers in two days, can also be stealing something from the principal’s office without being caught.
This might sound shocking and unbelievable, you might even think its a story line from one of our movies. Trust me I wish this was the case. I actually took time to talk to some of these young girls and the things I heard shocked me to my bones.
I started thinking of the reasons why these girls do the things they do. I then discovered it had to do with the lack of attention from their home. They feel that this is a way of getting attention and then when they get into, they begin to enjoy it.
Most times there is no one or no means of expressing their frustrations and confusion especially at that age when there is so much about themselves they want to understand. Their bodies are changing, hormones are raging, thought processes are running faster and wilder, exposure is much more now, and so much more. In all of this, there is no one who will create that time to actually sit and explain a lot of things to them, no one to make them understand and contain these changes, no one to make them feel loved and cared for thereby making them confide in their so-called friends who are also finding it difficult to understand themselves.
When they find solace in these populars, it becomes a drug for them and it becomes easy for them to upgrade whatever bad deed they are involved in. They no longer face bullying because they become one of the bullies.
To make it easier let us call this young girl I am mentoring CJ. This happened to CJ and the process of initiation demanded that she became a lesbian and have a relationship with the leader of the populars. This really destroyed her because as she grew older she became confused about her sexuality and of course there was no one she could talk to about it.
As we spoke about this she started crying and when I asked her what the most painful part was, she said it was the amount of young girls she did the same thing to before she left and the amount of yong girls who are excited about secondary school who will still face it.
Do we really have guidance counsellors in schools? What are their responsibilities? Do we as parents pay attention to physical, emotional and psychological changes in our young girls?
Let’s save our children
Stella Damasus is a Nigerian actress