BANGALORE: For many girls, the teenage phase sometimes referred to as the ‘terrible thirteens’ is an exciting and turbulent phase, but for some, it has been traumatic and terrible too. Sudeshna Ghosh’s What Would I Tell Her @ 13 is a book that aims to guide the growing Indian teenage girl and also provide guidance to her parents who are trying to see her through this phase.
Guiding youngsters through the experiences of people from different walks of life, the author has also included the viewpoints of child psychologists and various parents who have experienced this turbulent phase that their offspring have gone through.
What Would I Tell Her @ 13 is an in-depth compilation of emotional and positive stories. The book gives the reader valuable advice and equips them to deal with their own, or their daughter's teenage years. It explains the key to good parenting in this extremely sensitive phase wherein a parent has to walk the tightrope at all times. Each chapter deals with a specific issue and how to tackle a situation in the event of a problem faced by a girl of 13, for example how to stay safe online or offline.
The book also has a section which contains several essays by various successful Indian women who are lawyers, journalists, sports stars, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and designers. In these short pieces, these women have explained their journey through the difficult teenage years. These women talk about everything, their teen problems, their parents, their boyfriends, their career, sex and their peers. This book helps in preparing one for the onslaught and the unknown problems that the teenage years bring. In fact, it is a combination of a manual, novel and a textbook.
This book is dedicated to the new Indian teenage girl, her parents and anybody else trying to survive this difficult phase. The author writes and says, “Child psychologists and parents who have passed the milestone don’t lie. The terrible teens start with an overwhelming bang at thirteen. It is going to be rough. It’s going to be tough. But you will be well prepared. Learn about the dangers that thirteen-year-old girls faced decades ago in an Internet free world and be relieved that things are safer today. There are new dangers but don’t fear when a legal expert and a mother is ready to share her advice with you.”
On the issue of sexual abuse of children, the author has given many tips to survivors as well as parents. She specifically advises parents to make their child feel safe, comfortable and give them enough space and time and listen to them, their personal thoughts, empathise with them and further seek professional advice.
The author’s love for human behaviour and emotions clearly comes out through her simple style of writing. The book is interesting and readable as it features essays by successful women from diverse walks of life, who through their experiences sketch an insight into their terrible teens.