Girl Talk


Having great friends to share your life with is a gift like no other, after all, friends are the family you choose.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, my 23-year-old neighbour ‘’Vicky’’ took her own life.  We were later to discover she had posted a suicide note on a well-known social networking site where she had over six thousand followers.  Her message had sounded like a desperate plea for attention. Although she had all those social network “friends” online, not one came to her aid. Vicky had locked herself up in the kitchen of her apartment and taken a bottle of sniper (a poisonous insecticide) mixed with an equal dose of morning fresh (a common dishwashing liquid). A suicide note was later to be found in ‘’Vicky’s room.

Taking just an hour tea break at Louis’ place left me wondering why a 10-year-old child who has formed a habit of spending quality time with her mum, narrating every single happening in her life now suddenly turns 14 and can barely let mum into her life issues. Everything to her now seems private at every single time, even when mum attempts to engage her young vibrant teenager in a discussion; it always ends up with the phrase “I may not be able to talk about it now, mum”.  

Ignoring an already existing absence of trust between a teenager and her mum can be highly detrimental to the family relationship since trust is an important part of any relationship. Trust in a relationship goes a long way to represent your belief in someone’s good sense, ability or honesty. As your child gets older and starts becoming more independent especially at her teenage age, it can be difficult to find the balance between her need for independence and privacy, and your need to know what’s happening in order to keep her safe.

Inasmuch as teenagers try to act as though it never matters to them what you feel or think about them, the fact still remains that now that they are growing to become adult the tendency to overthink and consciously analyze your perception about them, is very high. If your teenager still finds it difficult to trust you, then there is definitely a problem with your mother-daughter relationship. 

Here are 3 interesting reasons why teenagers have trust issues with parents:

  1. You Never Cease to Criticize Them Excessively: I think we all know the evils of fault-finding, but in parenting, criticism (to some degree) is a necessary evil. Parent to child is one of the very few relationships where you do need to offer correction. It’s our job to teach teenagers to look good and decent, stay out of wrong companies, pick up healthy relationship habits, do their homework, etc but this does not exempt parents from ensuring that criticisms are given kindly and sparingly. No one can handle a barrage of disapproval; especially teenagers. Also remember that these teens are criticized all day by teachers and peers; home should be a haven of acceptance and love for them.  On the flip side, it is not wrong to criticize your teenager when she is on a negative path but learn to do this using constructive criticism if not it might breed in the teenager a lack of trust for her parent.
  2. When parent’s Behave Like Truth Breakers:   It is very common for adults to make promises to their teenagers, but not always to keep them. In addition to setting a bad example, this drives them away and damages the bond between you two, because the children feel they can no longer believe that their parents will do what they say.
  3. You Act Like the Family Legislator Rather Than Engaging in a Conversation: When you act like a parent whose job in the home is to make countless rules and at the same time watch out to always punish any one who breaks it, your teenager will likely distrust you. As much as Rules are quite vital in running an effective and highly functional home, building trust is quite different from rules. Establishing some very strict rules in a family is not entirely bad but how you handle the implementation and execution of such rules is what matters most. If your teenager has broken one of the house rules your ability to listen, be ready to discuss without judging and sometimes make allowance for them getting it wrong goes a long way to teach the teen to trust you even when he makes other mistakes. 

As part of the process of maturing, adolescents begin to feel more autonomous and responsible for themselves, and may go to the extreme of considering themselves self-sufficient, no longer feeling the need to share information with their parents, ask for certain permissions and approval rather, they want to make decisions for themselves without consulting. As much as the life of teenager takes this new turn, mothers must be willing to do all within their power to ensure a cordial relationship between teenager and herself. They must try their best to cultivate and sustain trust between themselves and their teenage children.

Being a teenager can be tough. There are changes taking place in your body and brain that can affect how you learn, think, and behave. And if you are facing tough or stressful situations, it is normal to have emotional ups and downs.

But if you have been overwhelmingly sad for a long time (a few weeks to months) and you’re not able to concentrate or do the things you usually enjoy; you may want to talk to a trusted adult about depression.

Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. 

What Is Depression

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a medical illness that can interfere with your ability to handle your daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or managing your school work. Depression is common but that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. Treatment may be needed for someone to feel better. Depression can happen at any age, but often symptoms begin in the teens or early 20s or 30s. It can occur along with other mental disorders, substance abuse, and other health conditions.


Teen depression signs and symptoms include a change from the teenager’s previous attitude and behavior that can cause significant distress and problems at school or home, in social activities, or in other areas of life.

Depression symptoms can vary in severity, but changes in your teen’s emotions and behaviour may include the examples below.

Signs of Depression

Sadness is something we all experience. It is a normal reaction to a loss or a setback, but it usually passes with a little time. Depression is different.

If you are wondering if you may have depression, ask yourself these questions:


  • Do you constantly feel sad, anxious, or even “empty,” like you feel nothing?
  • Do you feel hopeless or like everything is going wrong?
  • Do you feel like you’re worthless or helpless? Do you feel guilty about things?
  • Do you feel irritable much of the time?
  • Do you find yourself spending more time alone and withdrawing from friends and family?
  • Are your grades dropping?
  • Have you lost interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy?
  • Have your eating or sleeping habits changed (eating or sleeping more than usual or less than usual)?
  • Do you have aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or stomach problems without a clear cause?
  • Do you ever think about dying or suicide? Have you ever tried to harm yourself?


It’s not known exactly what causes depression, but a variety of issues may be involved. These include:

  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When these chemicals are abnormal or impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems changes, leading to depression.
  • Hormones. Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives — such as a parent or grandparent — also have the condition.
  • Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as physical or emotional abuse, or loss of a parent, may cause changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to depression.
  • Learned patterns of negative thinking. Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel helpless — rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life’s challenges.

Risk factors

Many factors increase the risk of developing or triggering teen depression, including:


  • Having issues that negatively impact self-esteem, such as obesity, peer problems, long-term bullying or academic problems
  • Having been the victim or witness of violence, such as physical or sexual abuse
  • Having other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, a personality disorder, anorexia or bulimia
  • Having a learning disability or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Having ongoing pain or a chronic physical illness such as cancer, diabetes or asthma
  • Having certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being overly dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
  • Abusing alcohol, nicotine or other drugs
  • Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive environment


Family history and issues with family or others may also increase your teenager’s risk of depression, such as:

  • Having a parent, grandparent or other blood relative with depression, bipolar disorder or alcohol use problems
  • Having a family member who died by suicide
  • Having a dysfunctional family and family conflict
  • Having experienced recent stressful life events, such as parental divorce, parental military service or the death of a loved one


Untreated depression can result in emotional, behavioral and health problems that affect every area of your teenager’s life. Complications related to teen depression may include, for example:

Alcohol and drug misuse; Academic problems; Family conflicts and relationship difficulties; Involvement with the juvenile justice system; Suicide attempts or suicide.


There’s no sure way to prevent depression. However, these strategies may help. Encourage your teenager to:


  • Take steps to control stress, increase resilience and boost self-esteem to help handle issues when they arise
  • Reach out for friendship and social support, especially in times of crisis
  • Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening
  • Maintain ongoing treatment, if recommended, even after symptoms let up, to help prevent a relapse of depression symptoms
  • What’s normal and what’s not

When to see a doctor

If depression signs and symptoms continue, begin to interfere in your teen’s life, or cause you to have concerns about suicide or your teen’s safety, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional trained to work with adolescents. Your teen’s family doctor or pediatrician is a good place to start. Or your teen’s school may recommend someone.

Depression symptoms likely won’t get better on their own — and they may get worse or lead to other problems if untreated. Depressed teenagers may be at risk of suicide, even if signs and symptoms don’t appear to be severe.

If you’re a teen and you think you may be depressed — or you have a friend who may be depressed — don’t wait to get help. Talk to a health care provider such as your doctor or school nurse. Share your concerns with a parent, a close friend, a spiritual leader, a teacher or someone else you trust.

When to get emergency help

Suicide is often associated with depression. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call your local emergency number immediately.

Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your mental health professional.
  • Seek help from your primary care doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
  • If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:
  • Make sure someone stays with that person.
  • Call your local emergency number immediately.
  • Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Never ignore comments or concerns about suicide. Always take action to get help.

Why can’t you just ‘snap out’ of depression?

Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to “snap out of it,” “just be positive,” or “you can be happier if you just try harder.” But depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. Most people with depression need treatment to get better.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between ups and downs that are just part of being a teenager and teen depression. Talk with your teen. Try to determine whether he or she seems capable of managing challenging feelings, or if life seems overwhelming.

Vivian O.

Extracts from

Beauty is the illumination of your soul.” John O’Donohue

“Outer beauty attracts but inner beauty captivates.” Kate Angell

“Outer beauty is a gift; Inner beauty is an accomplishment.” Randi G. Fine

“Take care of your inner, spiritual beauty. That will reflect in your face.” Dolores Del 

We can go on and on and still not run out of quotes on INNER BEAUTY.

There is one resounding truth about all these wise sayings though; and it is that  we must embrace our inner beauty.

Singer and songwriter, Natasha Khan popularly known as Bat for Lashes recently made a comment in her interview on Evening Standard where she spoke on the Pressures women face. She said, “I’m realizing that beauty isn’t skin deep. It can be when you’re young but when you get older you have to really make sure your essence is vital and alive, that you’re a beautiful person on the inside too because that is what shines through.

Talking about embracing one’s inner beauty may seem cliché but it has really got so much attachment to everything we do; it’s visible to everyone we meet and honestly reflects our true personality. Keeping a good look on the outside isn’t enough; you also got to work on a pleasing inner you. 

Will you like some tips on how to embrace your inner beauty? 

If you are an employee, being the best employee is a great way to show your inner beauty.

 If you are a student, being an attentive one would be a start and then making your teachers, school and parents proud is a show of inner beauty. As a wife, being a respectful woman, a good mum and an upright woman is a good show of inner beauty and the list goes on and on.

Whatever your status, it is important to note that the world will have a taste of you someday, sometime, someplace, and you don’t want to show ugly  because ugly lies deep in the bone, beauty will fade but ugly holds its own.

 Therefore, create and cultivate an inner beauty that will touch lives and leave a mark wherever you go. Develop such beauty that will never fade. It is not a day’s work but with determination and consistency you will gradually develop the real beauty, the type that never fades-Your Inner Beauty.

Vivy K.

Sources quoted

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Mrs. Jean has just recently noticed her 16-year-old daughter’s frequent emotional instability, her recent moodiness and the obvious flare up or irritation to happenings around her. This issue now seems to be to so worrisome considering that her always vibrant and proactive sweet daughter now acts like a mascot. On a closer look at Suzanne, Mrs. Jean finally discovered that her little teenager seemed to be facing a lot of stress both from school and her relentless efforts to gain relevance among her peers.

It is easy for all mothers to realize when they are stressed by their responsibilities either at home or at work. It is not too easy though for them to realise their dear teenage daughter is right in the midst of severe stress. Why would a teenage girl who at the moment has no bills to pay, feel stressed.

Most teens experience stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope, neither do they see a hope of changing such situation. Some of these situations might include:  School demands and frustrations, negative thoughts or feelings about themselves, changes in their bodies, problems with friends and/or peers at school, unsafe living environment/neighbourhood, separation or divorce of parents, chronic illness or severe problems in the family, death of a loved one, moving or changing schools, taking on too many activities, having too high expectations, family financial problems and so on.

When some teens become overloaded with stress, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use. It is natural that when we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rate and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

 Parenting a teenager who is constantly faced with stress can be less of hard work if parents adopt safe measures which are capable of combatting and reducing such stress.  Help that sensitive growing teenager navigate through life’s stress. To ensure the negative impact of stress do not overwhelm your teenager, here are ways Parents can help: –  

  1. Monitor if stress is affecting their teen’s health, behaviour, thoughts, or feelings
  2. Listen carefully to teens and watch for overloading
  3. Learn and model stress management skills
  4. Support involvement in sports and other pro-social activities

Teenagers also have their role to play, teens can decrease stress with the following behaviours and techniques:

  1. Exercise and eat regularly.
  2. Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
  3. Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  4. Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  5. Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
  6. Develop assertiveness training skills. For example, state feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways: (“I feel angry when you yell at me.” “Please stop yelling.”)
  7. Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress. One example is taking a speech class if talking in front of a class makes you anxious.
  8. Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.
  9. Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts – with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. “My life will never get better” can be transformed into “I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”
  10. Learn to feel good about doing a competent or “good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
  11. Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.
  12.   Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.

By using these and other techniques, teenagers can begin to manage stress.

Parents should also understand that, if a teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed a consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional may be helpful. 


American Academy of Child & Adolescent psychiatry –

By Eloke-Young Splendor

Great families make great societies.

Every criminal and ill-mannered citizen of a country is of course the product of a family. This therefore, emphasizes the need to have a society filled with highly knowledgeable and purpose driven parents who have given themselves to learning about what it takes to parent a 21st century Teenager.

It is impossible to see a mother who does not want to be referred to as the “best mom ever” even though in these recent times that phrase does not actually validate a woman’s skills of being the ideal model of a top-notch parent. For every single activity on the planet earth, as well as parenting too, a particular skill or even various skills are required for an individual to remain on top of her game.  

As a 21st century parent who desires to raise well-mannered teenage daughters, who will eventually grow into responsible adults, you must be able to identify the vital qualities needed for parenting.

Take a look at 5 vital things you must know about parenting a 21st Century Teenager: –

  1. The 21st century Teenager always has an Ever-Willing 24hrs Teacher So Stay Current to Remain Relevant:  It is very true that the Internet has become an ever-willing 24 hours’ teacher to both Teens and adults. It is therefore, no news that a 13 years old in this 21st century can own a tablet or a phone and trust me they are quick to surf the internet at any given time, considering the inquisitive nature that comes with being a teenager. Many times teenagers already know about their puberty signs, the risks that comes with being careless with their bodies at teen stages and even possible hormonal changes that come with growth; even before you think of beginning your own lecture. The 21st Century teenager is highly informed by the limitless social media platforms available these days, therefore as a mother whose desire is to ever remain a relevant solution provider to her children, you must keep abreast of the current trends relating to teenagers and their development as well as do everything within your power to become your daughter’s number one teacher especially when it comes to life matters. Your inability to stay current will adversely cause your inquisitive teenager to turn to her ever-willing 24hours teacher.
  2. The 21st Century Teenager Will Always Tend To Believe their Peers Over You: Last weekend I visited a childhood friend who had been so worked up over her daughter’s sudden change in eating habit. She complained bitterly of how her 14 years old will hardly want to eat any food just because she was referred to as obese by her friends in school. According to Mrs B, she had done all she could to let her know that she was just big, bold and beautiful yet her opinion seemed not to matter to the little girl, as far as she was concerned her friends knew the current trend and their opinions mattered most.  One thing you must know about the 21st Century teenage girl is that more than your approval, they also seek the approval of their peers and friends too. Proving yourself to your teenager in this 21st Century is very unnecessary seeing that no 21st century young girl wants to be known as mummy’s baby; no not at the age of 16.
  3. The Rules Do Not Come Without a Reason: One of the questions that will always remain on the lips of a 21st Century teenager is “Why?” Gone are the days when children especially teenagers; do not question the instructions and decisions of their parents; in this new era every teenager wants to know Why this, and Why that.  Children of nowadays are so inquisitive that they will always want to find out the reason behind every instruction, rule and even the reason behind the so-called Curfew. These days most teenagers if not all, do not just want to be told “do it because I said so”.  In parenting a 21st century teenager, rules must be followed with genuine reasons in order for it to be effectively carried out. The wise 21st century mum is one who will not spell out rules that are born out of imaginative and selfish reasons which are aimed at pushing the child away and restricting her freedom.
  4. Her Emotions Scream Louder Than Your Threats and Warnings: –    As parents of a teenage girl you must understand that teenage girls can respond to emotional issues in ways that seem so baffling and confusing.  A teenage girl with raging and rising hormones as well as emotions will not consider your threats and warnings before making decisions or even taking a step that is detrimental to her life.  When raising a 21st Century teenager, you must learn to take her emotions very seriously, sometimes these emotions may be voiced in meaningless words but wise parents must learn to see beyond their teenager’s words and try to decipher how they really feel and what they truly mean beyond those words. Here’s the bottom line: What your daughter broadcasts matches what she actually experiences. Really, it’s just that intense, so take her feelings seriously, regardless of how overblown they might seem knowing that, even your threats and warnings cannot shut up those emotions. Threats and warnings can create a great distance between mothers and their teenage daughters.
  5. Your Teenage Daughter Greatly Needs Your Approval: –  It is very okay to discipline your teenage daughters whenever they are wrong notwithstanding, you ought to also remember they are in dire need of your approval. Clear, well-timed messages of affirmation are vital for a young person’s sense of self-worth and confidence. In parenting a 21st- century teenager, you must be able to translate your positive feelings to her in a manner that will make a lasting difference.  A superb 21st-century mum is one who recognizes the right time to use words such as I love you, you are beautiful, you are so strong and many others. Also, you must note that these words of encouragement need to be linked to an observed act or demonstrated capacity in order to make it more believable and acceptable by your teen.

Generally, parenting in the 21st century have been likened to bed of roughly thorned roses as it requires a lot of skillfulness to navigate this stage successfully since it can also come with some level of pains too. Nevertheless, a mother who have mastered the vital needs of her teenager and is also well prepared as well as informed about the surprises that might spring up in the process; raising a teenager will suddenly become a journey in parenting she will love to explore over and over again.

Mrs. Leen has just discovered that she has to put up with Catherine’s new attitude and choices which include; spending more time with her friends than mum, suddenly becoming very secretive, isolation, and a very short temper.  This situation is not peculiar to Mrs. Leen. Most mothers of teenage daughters are facing or will face this predicament some time.

The thoughts of parenting a teenager can be scary for most mothers. This is the point where you get fired as the boss in their lives. Notwithstanding, if you have done a great job you could also get rehired as a trusted friend and advisor, then if you continue to do a good job, your teen may even take your advice for every of her life decision.

It is therefore very important for mothers of teenagers to possess some very vital skills, which will keep them on the prestigious pedestal as impactful leaders, advisors, friend and best mothers to their teenage daughters.   

Here are 4 Vital Skills to be possessed by mothers of teenagers

1. The Skill of Patience & Persistence: If you are ready to raise a teenager then you must be ready to get pushed to the wall.  As a mother of teens, be prepared to see your teenage daughter break your rules as well as get mad at you for no just cause. Nevertheless, you must never run out of patience no matter what, you must continue to persist on the rules and the need for it to be obeyed to the later. Smart mothers with teenage children always make enough room for their young girls’ mistakes as this enables them to parent their teenage daughter with the required patience and persistence. Persistence here involves being firm on your decisions, rules and even sanctions. In parenting a teenage girl, you must be decisive enough about your laid down rules as well as patient enough to see it being followed up.

2. The Skill of Absolute Trust:  Mothers who wish to build a healthy and highly impactful relationship with their teenagers will try their best to always showcase the skill of absolute trust in their teenage daughters.  The character of being a nosy mum is highly detested especially when relating to teenagers. The skill of trust promotes openness in the relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter. Trust also involves that you believe the best for your teen daughter so you don’t always put on the glasses of suspicion each time you are relating with her.

3. Quick to Adopt the Mirror Method:  Those who have successfully passed through the stage of raising teenage girls have in one way or the other employed the mirror method in the upbringing of their daughters. Gone are the days when teenagers want to be brought up with the adage of “Do what I say and not what I do”.  The best way to instill the right lifestyle in your teenager is by becoming a model of the best attitudes she should emulate.  The mirror method involves living out an exemplary lifestyle, in which your teenage daughter will follow suit. In this 21st century, teenagers no longer want to do as they are told rather they love to pattern after what they see.  A smart mum who wants the best for her teenage daughter will always work to remain the standing mirror that reflects a well-cultured life for her teenager.

4. Keep Your Emotions Intact: Showing a teenager the routes to becoming caring, independent and emerging into a responsible adult is definitely not an easy task. This task can almost rob you of your emotional stability but you have the duty of keeping your emotions intact. It is true she might roll her eyes so much that you’ll swear they might get stuck in the back of her head at some point but rather than raising your voice in order to prove your point, it is far better to calm down and resolve every issue with a discussion.

Trust me parenting a teenage daughter can be so frustrating sometimes, nevertheless, mothers of these teen girls must braze up themselves, recognizing the fact that teenage years are also the most impactful and interesting stage in parenting a child.

 By: Eloke-Young Splendor