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Sweet Sixteen

Von Nadine Theiler

  • Englisch-Klausur (11. Jahrgang)
  • 2-stündig
  • Inhalt 14 Punkte (vor Korrektur)
  • Sprache 15 Punkte

Text: „Sweet Sixteen“

1. Briefly sum up the gist of the text in a few sentences only.

2. Analyse the daughter’s relationship with her mother. Give evidence from the text!

a) What issues are usually the topics of discussions during puberty?

b) How do mother and daughter handle these issues?

3. Comment on the author’s statement that she is something of a coward in certain respects. [ll. 16-17: “It takes a lot of courage to bring them (=the problems) up. I’m afraid I usually try to avoid them.”]



Sweet Sixteen

They say that the two hardest times in a woman's life are when she's 16, and when her daughter is 16. As a mother of a 16-year-old girl I couldn't agree more. And I think I am a very average mother, and my daughter a very aver-age 16-year-old.

One of the first signs that the mother-little girl relationship was changing was when I heard my daughter talking about me in the third person: "She says I can't go!" or "I can't talk now, she's in the room."

Soon there were all sorts of problems, and they haven't gone away yet. Usually, the most unimportant ones cause the longest-lasting hostility. For example, does playing a Stereo full blast ruin the Stereo, the family's hearing, the foundation of the house, or just mum's and dad's nerves? Or why can't you lend your best friend some of mum's expensive eye shadow (and forget to get it back)?

Big problems like sex, drugs and the value of an education usually lead to misunderstandings, accusations and a funeral-like atmosphere around the house. It takes a lot of courage to bring them up. I'm afraid I usually try to avoid them.

A small sign that the relationship is growing worse is when the daughter requires "privacy". At one time, I was welcome to enter every room in the house,-but when my daughter was 14, her room became sacred, and she wouldn't permit me to enter. "Keep out, this means you" signs appeared on the door, and the room was often locked. I sighed uneasily but accepted the fact.

If these years of bad complexions and changing moods are hard for the daughter, think of how much harder they are for someone who is middle-aged! If a house is parent-free, teenagers are drawn there as if by magnets. And if I try to discuss her school subjects, the phone bill or the State of her room, she will just snap back at me with shouts and tears. "Why can't you leave me alone," she pleads.

What makes me feel really worried is her choice of friends. Friends who phone at odd hours, and have the deep voices of 37-year-old bachelors. Friends who leave cigarette ends on the book shelves and empty beer cans on the front lawn. Friends who always come over when mum and dad aren't at home — but never when they are. Friends who — when you finally meet them - just don't look like the kind of people you would like your little girl to be friends with.

But then I take a look at my own daughter's appearance and realize that other parents are probably just as worried when they see her.

And then, of course, there is the current boyfriend. Even if we can agree about everything else in the world, I doubt if we will ever agree about boy friends. And I imagine other parents have noticed the same thing. But how do you deal with it?

Why is the boyfriend in the house — our house — when no parents are at home? Well, I know why, and try to recruit brothers, sisters and neighbours ; as spies. But daughters have a way of taking every opportunity of turning things around. "We were just talking. What do you think we were doing?" In the end, feel guilty for just asking.

Was it really like that when I was 16? And will she grow out of it in a year or two?

3 average ['sevnd3] (adj) G: durchschnittlich, Durchschnitts- 9 hostility [ho'stlhtl] (n) feelings of ill will and aggression 10 füll blast at the highest volume 11 foundation [-'—] (n) the base of a building, on which it is built 15 accusation [.sekju'zeijn] (n) the act of saying that some­one has done wrong, broken the law etc. 15 funeral-like (adj) like the burial of a dead per­son, gloomy 16 bring' up begin to talk about 17 avoid (v) G: vermeiden 19 require [n'kwaia] (v) need 19 privacy ['pnvasl] or ['prai—] (n) the State of being away from others, alone and undisturbed 21 permit [-'-] (v) allow

3J{complexion [-'—] (n) the natural colour and appearance of the skin (especially of the face) Jf tnood [musd] (n) State of mind or spirits 28 snap back (v) speak back sharply and ang-rily ISplead [pli:d] (v) ask earnestly 3"f odd stränge, unusual-3-f bachelor ['bst/ab] (n) man who has never married 33-beer can G: Bierdose 33 lawn [b:n] (n) area of grass in a private garden 33current fkArent] (adj) of the present time Ht-deal with (v) cope with, man­age kH recruit [ri'kru:t] (v) get someone to join (a team, an Organisation) US'spy (n) G: Spi­on k Jhfeel guilty ['gilti] feel as if you've done something wrong



In the text “Sweet Sixteen” a mother is describing the problems she has with her 16-year-old daughter.

Stating that the time of her daughter’s puberty is one of the most difficult periods a woman can experience she tells the reader about the relationship with her daughter: There is a vast amount of problems which came up during the previous years. Beginning with quite unimportant difficulties, the mother leads to topics that seem more serious and important to her. She concludes with the question, whether all these arguments will come to an end in some years.


Nobody will deny that the mother-daughter relationship is something you would call a peaceful and problem-free co-existence. Rather there are quite many difficulties concerning both unimportant (ll.9-13) and more serious (ll.14, 30ff, 39ff) topics. But even if playing loud music (l.10) or an untidy room (ll.27-28) may seem quite trivial at first glance, it is problems of exactly this sort which cause the biggest arguments.

Since the mother tries to respect certain facts – such as the demand for more privacy (ll.23f) – she probably avoids a number of family rows. But if she does dare to start a discussion about “school subjects, the phone bill or the state of [her daughter’s] room” (ll. 27f), the adolescent will always react in a tremendously sensitive and intemperate way (ll. 27f).

In addition, there are also topics the mother is even afraid to talk about because they would surely be followed by a big argument (ll. 16f). And instead of continuing desperate discussions about her daughter’s “current boyfriend” (l. 39), she makes other people spy on the girl when she can’t be at home herself (ll. 44f).


To my mind it is understandable that her daughter’s aggressive reaction to topics like sex, drugs or school cause the mother to hide back and avoid these problems. Since I guess that nobody especially likes to fight an argument, I would probably act in the same way. And most likely this “cowardly” behaviour is just what an adolescent wants. I myself am not too eager for arguing with my parents either, and there are also some subjects I don’t want to talk about with them at all.

But there is also one aspect of the mother’s behaviour I can’t quite agree with: By having her daughter spied on, the mother behaves a lot too suspicious. I think she should simply trust her daughter because to me it seems highly probable that the girl will be sensible enough to do the right thing in the end.

Kategorie: Englisch | Kommentare (439)