Ambode’s wife, others unveil ‘My Daughter, My Friend’

Wife of Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode

“If as a mother,” according to the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, represented by Mrs. Ashimi Oyinade, “your teenage daughter is not your friend, then, who should be?”

She spoke at an event organised by YinkaKenny Girls Care Foundation in partnership with WFM 91.7. According to the organisers, the family-oriented programme was aimed at cementing the bond between mothers and their teenage daughters, who certainly will become tomorrow’s mothers. This, no doubt, will bring about a new approach in the way we relate with our daughters especially the teenage ones.

In her speech, the founder of the foundation, Olaoluwayinka Kehinde (Yinkakenny) said: “My Daughter, My Friend” is one of its educative and empowerment programmes. A lot of things have been done to give solution to help the overall development of the teenage girl

“This is the time that they are exposed to numerous dangers such as child molestation, sexual abuses, lesbianism, occultism, teenage pregnancy to mention but a few. These evil practices are fast destroying the family. As we know that family is the fabric of our society. This programme seems to close the gaps that usually emerge between the mother and a teen girl resulting to the lack of closeness first and self- confidence on the part of the girl. The aim of the programme is not to turn off any parent, but to create awareness and the nitch to bridge the gap between the mothers and the teenage daughters.
“Researchers have shown that at this age, most mothers see the girls as less dependent and sometimes secretive when in actual fact the teenage daughter is trying to understand and come to terms with changes in different areas of her life, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, logically.

She said in dealing with teenage girls over the years, she has discovered that most of the time they have so many issues they are dealing with and because they are no longer close to their mothers, they tend to look outside their home for someone they can talk to and most times, they end up talking to the wrong persons.

Oladoyin Idowu, the founder of One World Africa, spoke on behalf of the teenage daughters. She spoke on what she wished her mother had told her or what she ought to have known from her mother. She also did a practical survey by asking teenagers what they wish their mothers knew.    In a nutshell, she actually came to advocate for her fellow teenagers.  She said she did a thorough research about fractured parentage in which communication seems to be a huge barrier.

She put a question to the audience: “If you see your teenage daughter watching pornographic pictures, what will be your reaction?” From the audience, densely populated with teenagers and their mothers, the Managing Director of WFM 91.7, Mrs. Okewale Sonaya said she “would scream.” Another question came up: “ How would you correct her?” She said she would call her apart and tell her the danger of watching pornographic material.

Oladoyin advised parents that they need to know that the world that their parents grew up in is much more different from the world in which they live right now. Teenagers are exposed to a lot of things: both the good and the bad ones. She said the university is a place where you can buy hard drugs at a cheap price, including the private institutions where they said that they are very strict. It is also a place where there is a misconception that hard drugs help you to study very well. Having chosen hard drugs as a sub-topic, she said that most parents treat their children on how they see the situation.  She proffers the best solution that, ‘ love and care’ can only solve the problem: “parents must befriend their children. “ On the other hand, she asked why do some mothers complain about their daughters.

Mrs. Toun Okewale Sonaya, did not beg the question, but she was precise by saying: “naturally, women complain because it is an instinct in us. You just have to complain. She said when she was a teenager, she could remember vividly that her own mother used to complain.” Right then, she really hated her own mother. In fact, at a point in time she said that she thought her mother was not because she was a very troublesome child.  “As a mother, according to her, you will think I will never complain, but no, it is an inmate thing for women to complain.”

Mr. Michael West, a seasoned journalist, stated that it was compulsory for women to complain because “they are perfectionists; they see their daughters as their mates.”

Mrs. Ambode stated that some girls have the tendency to be close to their fathers rather than their mothers, but “I believe that a natural bond exists between a mother and daughter, which would normally aid the mother-daughter relationship.  However, it, sometimes works naturally or we have to make it work ourselves.  What is important is the end result that makes the teenage daughter a best friend to her mother. Only when she is a friend she can have enough trust to confide in her mother about things especially those that matter most to her life. Do not forget that she is growing up and her mind still tender. She needs to be guided and assisted to take decisions on many things that carry consequences in her future. When we are friends enough with her, all these will be possible.  Being friends with her, however, does not mean her wholesome endorsement.  She still needs our moral obligation to lead her on certain things. We should let her know when she’s wrong and correct appropriately. The bottom line is that we must make it our priority to bond with our daughters, and indeed, the entire family and for the social improvement of our society.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Chief Mrs. Lola Akande, represented by Mrs. Olayinka Quadri, the Director of Public Affairs, said that globally, issuesconcerning the girl child are very important and that is why the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2011 adopted resolution 62/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child in recognition of the right of the girl child and the challenges faced by them across the globe.

“In 2017, a resolution came up with the theme: ‘The Power of Adolescent Girl Child, the Vision for 2030.’ It is worthy of note that nearly six million girls aged 10-19 are in the world today; each with unique individual potentials. However, they are almost insignificant from public awareness and International Development Agenda due to inequality in secondary school education and potential issue.

“Adolescent girls are uniquely impactful and parents need to engage them in programmes that can meet their needs. These can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030. There is therefore need for mothers to cultivate the habit of gisting and having regular girl’s talk with their daughters in order to win their confidence. By so doing, the mother gets to know some of the challenges the girl child is facing and will be able to give her the right counsel. It is petinent to know that most of the challenges faced by the girls-child sometimes are due to the communication breakdown between the girl child and the mother.

“I must state here that the Lagos State Government is very interested in issues concerning the wellbeing of all the citizens of Lagos State irrespective of age, sex, and so on. That is why in fulfillment of promise, we make Lagos work for all. Government is working round the clock to put in place various policies and programmes to improve the standard of living of the citizens. It is heart warming to know that Lagos State Ministry of Poverty Alleviation was established primarily for the total development of the women in the state. It is of note also that the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports is for the betterment of the child.

The Managing Director of WFM 91.7, Mrs. Toun Okewale Sonaya, narrated her tough childhood experience, but she has overgrown it due to life experience to adulthood. She said she grew up under a disciplinarian mother. At that time, according to her, “ I thought my mother was wicked, and my daughter also thinks so today. But the only way I was able to catch her attention is to be my daughter’s girlfriend.”

She, then, advised all and sundry to kindly follow suit and back it up with prayers because no one can ignore the efficacy of prayer if at all you want your daughter to succeed to adulthood. She added that mothers should be open to their daughters.

Evangelist Elishama Ideh, founder, Christ the Ever Present Ministry, advised mothers to show good examples by being role models to their daughters especially the teenage ones. According to her, “we ourselves must lay some solid foundations in our relationship with our daughters. We must be good friends to them and pray earnestly for them. Teach them about the issues of life such as drugs and sex. And pray for them.”

The convener of ‘ My Daughter, My Friend,’ said the programme would be an annual event because “Olaoluwayimika Kehinde (Yinkakenny) is very passionate about issues pertaining to the teenage girls.”

The event was brought to a close by the unveiling of the Yinkakenny Girls Care Foundation Logowhich was done by Mrs. Ambode’s representative.

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