Emily Maguire has written an article in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald arguing that we should give our teenage girls more credit than we are and challenge them to challenge society and stand up to any undesirable situations they may find themselves in.
Shielding them, she argues, does them no favours and patronises a group of young people that are (in the overwhelming majority) sensible and well informed.
I tend to agree.
I do think knowledge is power. Sidestepping life’s realities, or worse, pretending they don’t exist at all, could find an impressionable teenager in a dangerous situation.
To be frank, I am Captain Naivety, and there were a couple of times in my 20’s where I very quickly found myself in a rather unanticipated circumstance.
Thankfully my parents had instilled a sense of self that allowed me quite happily and confidently to tell the man in question to ‘sod off’ and thankfully he did, but it is something I’m already aware of for Little Miss Q’s future.
At 8 months old, we’re obviously dealing with more pertinent issues such as
· Is it too early to start foreign language lessons?
· When should I expect her to walk?
· Should she start a musical instrument now or when she’s one?
(Although I’ve met mothers who would think those questions entirely appropriate, so I don’t hang out with them anymore).
I think the responsibility of educating, informing and instilling self-confidence and respect for others in our younger generations falls to us all.
The parents of sons, the parents of daughters, teachers, medicos, the local grocer.
Everyone can play a part in making a younger person a well-rounded citizen of our world.
The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child has never been truer than in today’s society, which can be so fractured and impersonal with all its technology and social media.
Emily is right. ‘Teen girls are not a separate species’ and neither are teen boys. Or twenty-somethings. Or the retirees. Or the baby-boomers. Generation X, Y or ABC.
We all belong to the same world. (And more specifically, to the same city or culture or community). We’ve all had different influences, grown up in different times with different current affairs, but we should all still be working towards the same common goal.
Our teenagers aren’t facebooking so frequently they’re completely oblivious to their surrounds.
But are we?