REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE: Emotionally confused teenagers and their obdurate parents

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being” – Albert Camus

“And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through” – David Bowie

“The young always have the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another” – Quentin Crisp

“In order to exist, man must rebel. But rebellion must respect the limits that it discovers in itself – limits where minds meet, and in meeting, begin to exist” – Albert Camus


For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been dead broke. The last time I was in this type of financial upheaval was a long while ago. And back then, I prayed I would never be in that kind of situation again. But the gods had another plan for me. They wanted me to taste penury yet again in my lifetime. Olorun maje!

My Oga is not even helping matters at all. He has refused to pay up for the past two months even though I work tirelessly to the extent I’ve been nicknamed a Jacky. A donkey! My goodness! He blames the recession for his inability to pay me and the other workers. The last time I confronted him, he told me it is a global phenomenon.

Nwoke m, even Greece is facing financial problems and you are here complaining”, he told me.

For phuck’s sake, what has my job got to do with recession or the financial crisis in Greece? Patients troop into this place in their numbers every day. My Oga’s chin has even grown bigger that it was a couple of months ago. His waistline has been burgeoning at a rapid rate that he had to purchase new belts last week. Yet he is in recession but his stomach isn’t. Issorait! Very soon, I would unleash my vexation on his property and kidnap some of the equipments. I would keep them until he pays a ransom equivalent to my salary. O ti ya!

Late at night, I sat down in the living room to watch a show on TV about a teenager that hacked his parents to death. The kid was arrested without any form of resistance. He showed no remorse at all. He subsequently blamed his actions on the obstinate nature of his parents. They never allowed him to hang out with his friends. They always monitored his activities. The last time his dad saw him talking to a girl, he embarrassed him in front of everyone and took him home while holding his ears. He had enough of all the bullshits and decided to snuff the lives out of them. TRAGIC!

After seeing the show, I got more worried about ever making an exodus to the white man’s land. I mean, no day would pass without hearing some freaking story from obodo oyinbo. But on the flip side, such cases are also becoming commonplace in Naija. Sometime last year, a student of the Redeemed University beheaded his dad after they had some altercation. On the blogosphere, similar stories abound on a daily. I am even more careful these days. I’ve become a good person overnight. I take extra care when talking to my younger cousins. Even when I am tempted to scold young kids or teenagers nowadays, all I see in my mind’s eye is the gory image of the white teenager’s parents and I have a quick change of heart.

Overtime as Africans, scolding and dishing out some form of punishments to kids when they err have become part of our culture. It is an unwritten law. I think we take this issue of sparing the rod…spoiling the child to the extreme. Kids are punished for misdeeds as flimsy as breaking plates. Slaps would land on their faces sporadically followed by whips of the belt and shoes thrown at them. Ultimately, these kids grow up as angry children well into adolescence. And the abuse doesn’t end there. It continues unchecked. My friend Gerald once posted some relevant questions on a Facebook post of his: How can a kid learn non-violence through a violent act? How can they understand love if they are struck and told to obey?

In all honesty, there is no rebel without a cause. The abuse continues unimpeded and eventually gets to a threshold when they can’t take it anymore. A rebel is born. A demon unleashed from within. This new rebellion could take the form of verbal attacks on the parents or more violent forms. Who is to blame? The devil, I guess. The ancient serpent that feeds evil into the minds of kids. But the devil doesn’t act on his own. He needs vessels and in this case, the kid’s parents are the vessels.

Someday, we young people would all have families…Insha Allah. The way we treat the kids and handle the rebellion of the young ones would go a long way in shaping their future. Giving kids some form of freedom to live their lives is very pertinent in their development. Let them make mistakes on their own free will, while receiving invaluable advice and guidance from us. Shouting at the top of your voice when you see your male child holding a female by the waist wouldn’t make him not to fornicate. Or screaming the name of all the angels when you find pictures of male models in your teenage daughter’s closet wouldn’t stop her from taking a pounding from a guy’s eggplant. We should all thread with caution by applying wisdom and understanding.

Gone are the days when rebellion of teenagers is seen as an evil from the devil; one that would involve inviting the priest to the home for the spirit of the rebellion to be exorcised. Realizing that this form of teenage rebellion is a part of their development would make parents handle this stage better. And they should endeavor to discover the source of this rebellion so as to nip it in the bud.


Now Playing: Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

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