Last week we doubled down on our recommendation for teenage children in these difficult times because we know they are more restless by nature. In the middle of this pandemic, everyone must get their family engaged to prevent anxiety and mental challenges. Books are an incredible way to calm nerves and travel outside the four corners of your home. Books are liberating and full of incredible charm otherwise unknown if you have never opened a book. We dwelt on teenage boys last week so this week we are going to be dealing with our teenage girls. So much has changed since we grew up and now those changes are beginning to affect our girls. We are churning out young girls with no self-esteem and no self-worth. The money-driven society is turning our daughters to dolls and some of them are walking mannequins lacking manners. What about indecent exposure?
My mother used to say what is hidden under a decent dress is more attractive that what has been seen by a stadium full of people. Now they have added social media and all some girls want to do is show gutter pictures of themselves online and dirty dancing. There is need to reclaim our land. We may not be perfect but we must try to influence our children to be better behaved. A lot of times they hate us for it, they say you are judging them (too much TV and internet) but it is our job to manage them and explain to them lovingly that, you cannot be indecent in private or in public. The world clapping for you now will divest you at the drop of a hat when things go south. Let us help them with anger management. Violence does not solve any problem. Let us help the girls with good cultural influences. Let us not use them as barter to settle a debt with an old friend. Our daughters are our pride. Let us protect them.
Here are five books to keep your teenage daughters engaged in these uncertain times.
1. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s Buried under the Boabab tree is a young adult book on the challenges of young girls in the North East. Already an award winner, this book is the one that will teach your daughters empathy and gratitude for their lives. Seeing that for several years now many girls in the North East are out of school either due to the insurgency or poverty occasioned by the insurgency or just the sheer lack of freedom. Read their lives through the story of an unnamed young girl whose life Adaobi has carefully mirrored and we can feel her pain, her laughter and follow her dreams. All this to include her abduction, her father’s death in the hands of Boko Haram and her friend’s indoctrination. Expect lots of questions from your daughter. You can read it with her.
2. It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Uzoinni. This is an incredible book about the pressure of being successful at a very young age and dealing with accompanying depression for some. Young people always talk about blowing, being successful, being famous. No one, not even their parents provide the structures of resilience and managing muddled up thoughts to help them surmount feelings of mental illness in the middle of a seemingly successful life.
3. Tropical Fish by award winning Ugandan writer Doreen Baigana. This is a coming of age book that would remind you of your secondary school days. Full of wit and wisdom. Every African female teenager should read it.
4. Any Cookery book. In my home, Asian cookbooks are making the rounds in the kitchen. Every young girl should learn to cook, for herself, her self-esteem and her current and future family. I love to cook. It is Cathartic, and delivers fresh food to you. Overall it saves costs. I know how much I would have spent in a Chinese restaurant if I did not know how to cook stir-fried rice and shredded beef sauce. Get your teenage daughter in the kitchen. Celebrate her, even if the food isn’t so good the first time, gently correct her.
5. Fan girl by Rainbow Powell. This is a book for all teenagers. It speaks to the issue that bothers a lot of teenagers. How to fit in and how to stay relevant in a teenage world. It also deals with puberty and how to deal with the change.