Identity formation is one of the highest point in adolescent growth and development, therefore, the importance of supportive relationships with family members and connections to community need to be promoted. Even a sense of family can help a young person through transitional times..

Research shows, however, that ongoing positive family connections are protective factors against a range of risky behaviors that affect the health of adolescents. Although the nature of relationships is changing, the continuity of family connections and a secure emotional base is crucial for the positive development of young people.

It is normal for young people to begin to think for themselves and question aspects of their lives and of family relationships. These changes may mean times of anger and frustration that is leveled at the family, but in the majority of circumstances these feelings are likely to be temporary or circumstantial.

Parents will benefit from being supported to understand the role of rebellion in young people’s development. Limit setting still needs to occur for poor or unacceptable behaviour. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the importance of peer groups, and how they become more influential than parents at this age. Whilst peers do become significant, the quality of the relationship is different, with peers providing intimacy based on equality, and parents providing a relationship still based on a power imbalance. Peer relationships, therefore, have a purpose, but do not usually become more important to young people. 

Young people still require stability in a home environment, and a secure emotional base from which to explore and experience the world. This also provides them with somewhere to come back to for reassurance, support and unconditional love in tough times. 

A parent’s relationship and caring role with a young person continues to be important, although the relationship will need to be flexible to adapt to the teenager’s changing needs. At this time, there will need to be a gradual change from a more authoritative approach, to a more collaborative approach. 

Parents have to face the (sometimes hard) reality that their child is no longer a child, is becoming independent and is no longer within their control. They may feel distressed as they perceive that the young person won’t listen to them, or does the opposite of what they may suggest. 

They may have to watch their young person disregard the things they thought they taught them were important, such as ways to look after their health, or their future goals (as the parent envisaged it). 

Parents have to learn to ‘let go’, not of the relationship, but of their dreams for the young person, and their authority over the young people, so that they may allow a young person to develop their own dreams and greater self- responsibility.

 Guidance and boundaries are still important, however the quality of the relationship, and collaboration rather than ‘obedience’, becomes increasingly important if a relationship is to survive and be maintained. 

Joint discussions about rules/options, compromise and flexibility for win/win solutions are important. Warmth and understanding are important, rather than judgmental comments or telling a young person what to do.

A family and its members continue to provide valuable role models for a range of behaviours, including effective communication, relationship skills, and socially acceptable behaviours. The ways in which conflict and disagreements are negotiated within the family are important blueprints for dealing with issues in other arenas.





“My name is Mary-Jane Ihuoma (real name withheld). I am 14yrs old and I live with my parents and two younger siblings. I sometimes think of killing myself and other times, I think of running away from home. Worse still, I wonder if they are my real parents. When I don’t do my house chores or finish them, my mother would starve me of food for a whole day. If I stay out longer than I should, I get the beating of my life. If I am caught talking to the neighbour’s son, my mother would rub dried hot pepper around my vagina, saying “that will teach you to keep away from boys, Ashewo (meaning prostitute)!” Now I do not know which makes me feel bad, my mother doing all these things to me or my father who sees all these things been done to me and doesn’t say a word?!….”

“I am Mrs Joyce Bassey (real name withheld). I have five children (12yrs, 10yrs, 8yrs, 6yrs and 4yrs old). They do not listen to me at all. Everything I ask them to do, they do not do them. I give them house chores and I end up doing them. I am tired and it’s just that I do not know how to beat a child if not…”

Can we say that the 1st scenario is a case of child abuse or strict parenting? Or would the 2nd scenario be a case of “Spare the rod and spoil the child”? Well, I cannot judge O! But all I know is that I still believe in the power of talking or discussing with your kids. I believe parents should go an extra mile of telling their kids what they did wrong and why they shouldn’t have done it or better still asking their kids what they think they did wrong and how or what they should have done right.

If truth be told there are still some kids, especially Nigerian kids who are so stubborn and dem no dey hear word so tey they respect cane pass their mama and papa! But, come O! Don’t you think it still boils down to how that child is or was brought up. Because why?…pikin no fit train him or her sef.

On a final note, I think we parents should learn to nip certain behaviours in our kids right from the bud and not just say things like, “She is still a baby” or “It doesn’t mean anything” or the famous one “He will out-grow it”. If we correct these wrongs on time, we won’t resort to beating, abusing or starving these kids all in the name of training them!


Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


Ever wondered how your teen got to know about the internet, more so, get into it and I mean really into it! Not that it is a bad thing to see your child very “up-to-date” with the computer, but sometimes I can’t help but worry about the extent of internet usage. 

Cyberspace surely allows adolescents the benefits of expressing themselves, as well as, exploring new friendships and experimenting with their identity. We also know that it offers a wealth of educative options and helps them keep up with their favourite hobbies, music, sports, and so much more.
But what we should understand, is that cyberspace is like a ‘Big City’ where the adolescents meet the good, the bad and the ugly. It does have a lot of downsides with varying degrees of  problems such as addiction, cybersex, radical political groups, satanic groups and formation of somewhat artificial, shallow and transient relationships. 
The very scary one which is a real cyberspace dilemma is the issue of  ‘Adult Predators’. You are never sure who that other person maybe that chats with your teen. That 17yr old flirtatious girl could be a 47yr old man who may present himself as a supportive, sympathetic confidant who encourages your child to discuss personal problems and who eventually becomes emotionally attached to the predator.
Finally, the question is ‘How should parents be involved?’ These adolescents need control and to achieve that measure of control, rules need to be made! I don’t think sitting beside them while they browse would do the trick but rather, trying to get them learn how to use the internet judiciously even when not under supervision. This judicious use can also be achieved by communicating to them the pros and cons of  internet usage. Parents can address addiction problems by assigning an internet log time.
Finally (seriously, the real finally!), we should really bother about what our teens are really doing in cyberspace and not just lie to ourselves saying, “They have to keep up with other kids”. 
Hint: We can start with those doors that lead to cyberspace such as that blackberry you gave your kid last month or the android phones and tablets littered in their rooms or better still that iphone 


Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


This is a commom phrase (or should I say story) and answer kids get from parents to questions concerning sex, sexuality and reproduction. Oh, come on guys!! Who do you think you are fooling…telling that funny story! Do you expect your kids to keep up with that answer? Ehn, if you like don’t tell them the truth according to their age and exposure, someone will help you do it and in a way that you may not approve of…practically, I mean!

I understand your fears but for how long are you going to keep telling this story that doesn’t reflect the truth about sexuality and reproduction. If questions on this hard-to-talk-about-topics come up, please do not beat about the bush, especially  if you are not comfortable talking about them or you know nothing about it.

What parents need to know is that kids just don’t ask those questions based on imagination but on what they might have seen or heard and so they just need clarifications from the most trusted person(s) in his or her world…Mum or Dad!

The point is not to hush the child up or change the topic or tell  ‘the birds and bees’ story but to give an age-appropriate information that will not only be simplified according to their level of understanding but will be accurate.

I am not sure if you guys have noticed but kids are growing up too fast these days! You see a 5yr old boldly asking questions on sex, relationship and reproduction a 15yr old would ordinarily ask or even feel too shy to mention!

It’s a parent (be it mother or father)’s primary responsibility to discuss sex issues with children as opportunity arises. It’s important that they know the facts so that they can be comfortable with themselves as emerging sexual beings and make well-informed decisions at appropriate times.

The following are some useful tips on how to start the ‘sex talk’ with your kid(s):

  • Get educated or informed on FAQs (frequently asked questions). This will help you overcome your total ignorance, fear and anxiety when the series of questions come up!
  • Start building a good communication line between you and your kids. It makes it easier for the kids to come to you for about anything.
  • Learn to pick cues when you are with your kid (either from what they say or do). This tells you….it’s time for that talk!
  • Fill your kids with facts on the issue. Helps to foster the spirit of trust and respect. If you lie about the subject and they find out…you think they will ask you again?!
  • And if you don’t have the right information on sex and sexuality issues, refer your kids to an Adolescent Health Centre. 
On a final note, please stop this propaganda on ‘the birds and bees’ story and start telling these kids facts about intimacy, sharing and being responsible to themselves and the people they choose to relate with.


Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Do you wonder if it’s better to give your child regular pocket money or just act as their ATM machine?

Children today have many demands, they want to have what their peers have and parents are under pressure to provide it all.

So how much is appropriate? It is best to get the child involved in agreeing the amount with you.Image

Parents what do you think?

Truth or Fiction?

Pocket-money encourages bad spending habits in teenagers.

For impregnating his 15-year-old daughter, a Karu Upper Area Court, Abuja, has remanded one Rufua Alabi, 42, in prison custody.

Alabi was arraigned by the police before Justice Alhaji Umar Kagarko for allegedly impregnating his daughter, who is said to be an SS2 student and the second child in the family of six.

The prosecutor, Pascal Njoku, told the court that Alabi of Kurudu Village, Abuja, committed the offence sometime last year, adding that the incest had resulted to a six-month-old pregnancy.

According to him, the victim’s mother, Bose, reported the matter at the Jikwoyi Police Station, after she found out that her daughter was pregnant.

He added that Bose took her daughter to the hospital where a doctor confirmed that the victim was pregnant.

He said the victim confessed to her mother and the elder brother that her father was responsible for her pregnancy.

“My father on many occasions, had sexual intercourse with me when nobody was at home and warned me never to tell anybody about the affair,” the prosecution quoted the girl as saying.

Njoku said the offence was contrary to the Penal Code.

When the First Information Report (FIR) was read, the accused, who had no legal representation pleaded not guilty to the one- count charge of putting his daughter, a minor, in the family way .

The presiding judge ordered that his bail application come in form of a motion and adjourned the case to July 3, for further hearing. (Courtesy

Adolescents should be taught ‘How to Break the Culture of Silence’. Child sexual abuse is fast becoming a fashionable act in our society.
Let’s help protect these vulnerable group of individuals by empowering them with skills-based health education.

Enrol your adolescent today in Health Education Classes
@ the ASTRAH Centre, No 1 James Robertson street, off Akerele street,Surulere, Lagos.

Did you know?

That healthy self-esteem is feeling good about yourself, and feeling that you are a worthwhile person. While we all have self-doubts at times, it is important for adolescents to feel okay about themselves most of the time.

Self-esteem enables adolescents to try new things without too much fear of failing, to reach out and make friends, and to manage problems they are likely to meet along the way.

Self-esteem builds a solid foundation for coping with life.

Enrol your kids in the ‘Self-esteem Class’ today.
@ No 1, James Robertson street, off Akerele street, Surulere, Lagos.
Members: N1,500
Non-members: N3,000

For further enquiries:

…Powered by ASTRAH Initiative.

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