Relationships can have a very important impact especially during adolescent years. While teenage relationships are mostly discouraged by the society, these relationships can however be fun, healthy and exciting!
Relationships can be healthy if you both support and encourage each other, are considerate, talk openly about disagree- ments and also have an open platform where you can bounce ideas off each other and are not afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
Sex and Relationships
It is important to note that relationships and sex are not the same. Relationships do not necessarily lead to sexual intercourse especially for young people in school. Both boys and girls develop the desire to have sex during puberty as this is a natural part of growing up. It is a biological process to
make sure we reproduce. Having the desire for sex does not mean you must have sex. Some believe that you will fall ill if you do not have sex, which is not true. Nothing bad will happen if you abstain from sex. Abstinence, which means avoiding sexual intercourse, is the best way to protect yourself from pregnancies and STIs. Boys and girls can be friends without being romantically or sexually involved.
Love and Sex
It is also important to know the difference between love and sex, as they are not the same thing. Love is a strong feeling of caring for someone else. You can love your family, friends, children or partner. Sexual desire is a strong feeling of physical excitement. It may be a fantasy or a crush. Love can exist without sexual desire and vice versa.
During adolescence, many people have their first love relationship. Friendships
sometimes develop into love elationships, though mostly they do not. Today, friendship between two people of the opposite sex is a common phenomenon. Friendship does not need to lead to sexual activities. Such kinds of friendship should be supported instead and not judged negatively.
As young people discover their sexuality, it may be confusing to them to establish when they do or do not feel sexually attracted to someone. When young people think they are in love, they may feel a strong attachment to another person – an infatuation – and may decide to have sex to feel closer to their partner. This can lead to a strong love relationship, but more often it does not.
Everyone needs friends as they play a big role in shaping who we are and introduce us to new things and ideas. As you grow older, some of your friendships will start to change, Changes in relationships are natural but not always easy. You may also begin to interact with more people, although not all of them will be close friends.
But what are the views of teenagers about relationships? Straight Talk held several editorial meetings on the issue in different schools in Kisumu and Kisii and here are the various reactions:
A student presented the following dilemma: “I am in form two and concerned about what we are told many times that mixed schools are places where boys and girls come to learn as brothers and sisters. but contrary to this, we are often warned to keep our distance. I have been a victim. After interacting with girls, I am always questioned by teachers about what we were discussing. I Therefore don’t understand why our school is a mixed school when we are not allowed to freely interact and share”
Fidel Odhiambo of Form 1 at Dago Kokore High School, Kisumu, advises students to avoid relationships that may lead to sexual intercourse.
“Male teachers’ pressure”
Esnah Siko felt that girls are under pressure by male teachers. She said, “For instance there have been cases where teachers use the excuse of giving students private lessons, only to take advantage of the seclusion to confuse the young minds and trick them into giving in to sexual relationships.”
A student who wished to remain anonymous added that some teachers have student lovers, yet they are the ones who should be advising them about social relationships. The student went on to advise that “teachers should realize that they are our parents at school and teachers should not blackmail students by offering extra marks in exchange for love.” In addition, students should give teachers maximum respect knowing that they are their parents in school.
“Utilise academic strengths’
Another student who also wished to remain anonymous wondered why fourth formers ‘married’ each other and yet they expected to pass.
Johnson Mogendi gave the example of a friend of his who is a fourth former and his girlfriend is in form three, who started the relationship in form one and they have had to repeat classes. He felt that there were too many negative implications with such relationships.
Dorothy a form two student also gave an example of a girl who believes in the super power nature of her sugar daddy because he has money and provides everything including school fees for her. he has also promised to get her a good job so she does not have to concentrate in school and therefore, performs poorly. She wondered how such a girl can be helped because the sugar daddy will soon drop her and look for another ‘sweet beibe’ sooner rather than later. This will negative- ly affect her.
Donella Amondi felt that some young people mistake infatuation for love. She advised that students should avoid engaging in unhealthy relationships that can easily make them drop out of school.
Friendship is an important part for teenagers and therefore necessary to note that boys and girls can still have rewarding relationships not based on sex
“Relationships can be healthy”
Relationships are a normal and healthy part of life. Below are some characteristics of a healthy relationship:
Respect in a relationship means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s bounda- ries.
•Good communication – It is important to communicate and speak honestly and openly so that the miscommunication is avoided in the first place. Never keep aeeling bottled up because you’re afraid it’s not what your BF or GF wants to hear or because you worry about sounding silly. And if you need some time to think something through before you’re ready to talk about it, the right person will give you some space if you ask for it.
•Fairness/equality – You need to have give-and- take in your relationship, Do you take turns choosing which new movie to see? As a couple, do you hang out with your partner’s friends as often as you hang out with yours? It’s not like you have to keep a running count and make sure things are exactly even, of course. But you’ll know if it isn’t a pretty fair balance. Things get bad really fast when a relationship turns into a power struggle, with one person fighting to get his or her way all the time.
•Separate identities – In a healthy relationship, everyone needs to make compromises. But that doesn’t mean you should feel like you’re losing out on being yourself. You both have your own lives (families, friends, interests, hobbies, etc.) and that shouldn’t change. Neither of you should have to pretend to like something you don’t, or give up seeing your friends, or drop out of activities you love. And you also should feel free to keep developing new talents or interests, making new friendships