EndSARS started long ago.

“Soro Soke” has been for long.

Even in August, Lawyers protested against one Governor and he was removed as a guest speaker. This movement has been for a long time, “Not too Young to Rule” was part of it sef and I don’t see it ending soon.

Thanks to all those who shared with me their opinions about yesterday’s status on early marriage and sexual temptations. I find all the opinions and perspectives valid, very valid. If you don’t mind (and even
if you do), I want to continue today with; Dating in teens and when can one start a relationship?

Although marriage appears to be as old as the human race, dating is less than 200 years. Dating became part of English and was used for romance around 1907 or so. Many of our fathers and mothers know a lot about courtship and accept it.

However, because many of them are like old, dry bonga fish that cannot bend again, their minds are no longer flexible enough to understand and accept dating. You know, some people would not accept e-documents no matter how much you preach it, and some do not want to get why it should be a virtual meeting. Don’t blame them, but, blame them still.

Today, we seem to categorize relationships into two:

  1. Before Engagement/will you marry me (dating)
  2. After engagement/now that we have agreed to marry each other (courtship).

So all those “we are going out”, “we are seeing each other”, “he is wooing me” etc now fall under dating.
The big question many teen counsellors face today is “Must we date only for marriage; can’t we date just for fun/dating sake/rehearsals?”
Wear your religious cap, your social cap and your tribal cap too. However, do not forget to carry your basic sense along. This may not be what you would like, forgive me.

Before now, only boys had all the diverse social education, went to school, discussed in religious meetings and did politics. Women? They were raised at home by their mothers to be submissive good wives. So a regular girl was trained to adapt or adjust to any kind of man whom she ever married. Besides, she did not have a say as to who she was to marry. Do not forget she was raised not to divorce and in order not to be promiscuous, she was either circumcised or married off at puberty.

So, when many people say marriages of old lasted long, I usually ask if they lasted till death because of love and harmony or because of culture and long-suffering?

Then a time came that our girls could church and go to school etc yet, they had their pews, single schools and the likes, then the gap and divides started closing in with mixed schools and pentecostal
churches. Let me mention that the basic human emotional and social needs that make a 25year old girl want a boyfriend/husband are the same reasons why a 13year old girl want a boyfriend, and both
needs are valid.

The error many people make is trying to invalidate the emotional, mental and basic romantic human needs of teenagers. In my private and personal studies on sex, I have seen many experts agree that romantic and sexual behaviours are learned from childhood plays and observation.

I remember the book ‘counselling children (through the world of play)’ children fear or embrace relationships, marriage and sex from the relationship of their parents, first, before that of their caregivers, then the world around them. I was wowed when a group showed with an experiment that the rough plays of primates helped them position their bodies for sex as adults.

Different experiments show that isolated animals and humans usually always do romantic relationships and sex badly because they did not learn through social interactions as kids, all the mental, emotional, physical and communication skills required to do a romantic relationship.

With all due respect, we would agree that we see this a lot with kids who went to private schools throughout and especially those who went to school from their homes in their car, people who never went to church, the market, social gatherings and school alone. You must have met
one of such people during NYSC (and Law School). A 100level girl who attended a public or not so rich secondary school will know when a 300level boy is lying to her, a boy who attended a mixed school and
stayed in the hostel would know when a girl is trying to use him and take his money.

When I was a teen, the boyfriend, girlfriend thing was not accepted too, however, there was a push for what we called platonic relationships. I wonder how many teenagers know what a platonic relationship
mean? The idea is don’t have a romantic friend of the opposite sex. However, have lots of good and special friends of the opposite sex.

Remember some parents teach that the day a boy touches you, you will get pregnant, some parents and church people would attack you if you had a female friend, let alone shake hands. Lack of understanding and wisdom in handling the matters made our parents (excluding my
father) believe that two young people cannot be friends without romance crawling in, and to a reasonable extent, they were correct but remember they are not used to the social life which is our normal; they did not attend mixed schools, mixed churches or mixed streams. While school and religious activities made us compelled to interact and work with the opposite sex, they never had those experiences, the only thing that brought a boy and girl together in their day was romance/marriage.

Sorry, this is long, I wish I could summarize it, but let’s see how it goes…
…If kids live their lives and teenagers lead their lives, every person is supposed to be fully mature at age 20. If your child at age 20 is not an independent and mature adult who does not need direct parenting, you failed his/her generation.

I understand that many kids at 20 years are still in school and you are their major, if not the sole benefactor. However, a 20-year-old should be at least 60% independent in all things. If at age 20, your kid cannot
choose where to live, where to worship, where to work, whether to date or not, wo! accept that you raised a dummy that is dependent on you and cannot be responsible to himself and the community; you have created a delinquent adult.

Okay, let me answer if a teen can date or not.
The first Valentine Card I ever gave out was bought for me to give out by my father, I was less than 15 years. Many times, I borrowed my father’s phone to call girls, even in his presence. I had close female friends who were free to visit me and who I was free to visit, yet I did not kiss any. I know many girls and many ladies who have males topping their friend lists and they are virgins. However, there is a basic human need (and rights) which everyone has (and teenagers are not exempted), the need to love and be loved and have one person to call your own and the need for sexual satisfaction (not pleasure, not exploration, not adventure). This need (I grouped them all as one need) is what teenagers try to meet
when they date.

Teenagers who get sufficient love from family and a wide range and variety of friends (including those of the opposite sex) usually choose to keep you as a friend than as a boy/girlfriend. Have you noticed that
the very social babes and dudes are the single ones yet, find it very easy to enter and leave and re-enter relationships, and they are the ones who are also shockingly virgins? They know how to negotiate their way out of a trap, they are well informed due to stuff gathered from all their friends, and as such, make proper decisions, even those who are not virgins most likely lost it either through rape or abuse.

Most teenagers get a boyfriend/girlfriend the moment they break out from their parent’s shackles, meaning they were caged. Some date for social learning purposes, and others to belong. These are the ones that even after a breakup may not regard and count the dating as a relationship.
By our civil laws, culture and religion, the proper question should not be if a teenager CAN date but SHOULD a teenager date?

If our customs permits an 18-year-old to marry and our Marriage Act permits a 21-year-old to marry, and dating is supposed to be before courtship and courtship before marriage, how early can a person date?
Sorry for the troubles and bumpy ride, I usually suggest, recommend and counsel that no one should date unless it is for marriage.

Let your relationship be long enough to know each other sufficiently but short enough to prevent unnecessary sexual pressures and temptations