Following the vulnerability of teenagers to peer pressure, parents have again been charged to play their role effectively in grooming a total child for a better society as against the norm of parents having to leave their children and wards at the mercies of their school teachers.
Speaking at the event which has in attendance students from public and private secondary schools in the state, A consultant psychiatrist with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital- Dr. Ayotunde Omotoso who applauded the organizer of the event which was tagged “ the impact of peer pressure among teenagers ( the right circle ; the right influence )” maintained that young people are easily influenced by what their peers do which could have adverse effects on the mental health of the child.
Dr. Omotoso made the disclosure at the maiden edition of Miss Adejolaoluwa Osunbade’s Town Hall Meeting, organised in partnership with the Kwara State Ministry of Basic Education, in Ilorin the Kwara State capital.
“This event is a very important one as organized by Adejola Osunbade and she called her peers together to talk about the right cycle. I believe this had a very tremendous benefits because we had to look at mental health effect of peer pressure and how to relate to young people today.”
He added, that “Research has shown that people are heavily influenced by what their peers does and say and they can be positive or negative aspect to that, but it would be quite important to emphasized on deleterious effects of peer pressure. When there is peer pressure, it can affect mental health in a number of ways because young people can be influenced in terms of their perspective, choices and the support that is available to them.”
“He advised parents to build support systems that will encourage the child to confide and boost the self-esteem of their children and wards.”, he concluded
On her part, a Chief Counselor with the University of Ilorin- Mrs. Annor Patricia advised parents to create time for their kids irrespective of the demands of the economy and the society
“To see a student of 14 gather people together to talk about what young people do and how we are facing peer pressure and as a councilor what we do is to intervene like this, and it’s wonderful experience, and I am very happy to be here.”
According to a 14 year old who is an SS2 Student – Ms. Adejolaoluwa Osunbade, the programme was conceived with the sole purpose of sensitizing teenagers on the impact of peer pressure and a call for the right circle and influence with the aim of making society a better place.
“The reason behind it is that we notice a lot of teenagers are not being dependent on their decisions. They want to do a lot of things because their friends do it, and our society want leaders or people that will be easily influenced by other people’s decision. That is the reason for this program.”
Expert reports say young people in Nigeria are facing a mental health challenge, with 1 in 6 young Nigerians aged 15 -24 saying they “often feel depressed, have little interest in doing things, or are worried, nervous or anxious” but we can do more intentionally for a better society.