Healthy de­bate may seem like cor­rec­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - JANET EL­LIS

LONDON: It’s of­ten said we feel the same in­side all our lives, no mat­ter how old we are. And while it’s true there’s never a mo­ment when you sud­denly feel adult, it’s also the case that we do grow, de­velop and learn along the way.

You are un­doubt­edly more con­fi­dent than when you were when you were in your teens.

The 14-year-old you might well have been ca­pa­ble of hold­ing her own and speak­ing her mind, but I bet she felt in­se­cure, too, and prone to self-doubt. It’s a rare teenager who isn’t un­sure of her­self and her views from time to time. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, teenage girls are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to crit­i­cism.

Your grand­daugh­ter hasn’t been on the planet long (it’s only com­par­a­tively re­cently she stopped play­ing with her dolls, isn’t it?) and the out­side world is con­stantly ask­ing her to make de­ci­sions.

Some of them seem triv­ial – such as what to wear for the school disco, for in­stance – but she has to cope with her friends’ views on ev­ery sub­ject, which are prob­a­bly voiced loudly, fre­quently and some­times un­kindly.

The teenage girl dis­cov­ers the power of what she says very early and the old adage about sticks and stones be­ing more painful than speech is use­less when hurt­ful words are ex­changed.

Not only does your grand­daugh­ter have to cope with that, but she has to face that chal­leng­ing peer group ev­ery day. No won­der she of­ten ap­pears to back down as she tries to fit in.

You ob­vi­ously en­joy a good ar­gu­ment, but if you chal­lenge what she says, then she won’t hear what you’re say­ing, just that you don’t agree with her.

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