Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Arming our teenagers with real advice:

Because Dilvin Yasa had dated dodgy men and made fashion faux pas in her past, she realised this was the type of information she needed to arm her own daughter with when she steps into her teenage years.
Date: June 30 2012
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Yasa says her own mother had given her advice when she was young, but admits a strong guiding hand would have better prepared her for adult life and saved her from a world of heartache in her twenties.

It's what pushed Sydney-based Yasa to write her book Things My Daughter Needs to Know: The Truth about Drugs, Drink, Sex, Tattoos, Babies, Strange Men and High Heels.

"It's hard for teenage girls. I hit 14 and my hormones went crazy. I hated my parents - and I came out the other side and I was okay.

"But it's a hard time because you're too old to be a child but too young to be an adult - you're stuck in this weird place," Yasa says.

Yasa's book is a series of letters written to her daughter, Cella, who is now three-and-a-half, but in 12 years' time, she will have her mother's practical advice to help her guide her through the next decade.

From wearing the right colour lip liner and not wearing a black bra under a white shirt to taking drugs, using condoms, thinking long and hard about getting a tattoo, toxic friends, and dating and sleeping with men, Yasa's book is honest, moving and witty.

Yasa admits she has actually heavily censored herself in the book.

"It's tough because there's the person you used to be before you had children - and that's the one who may have snorted up half of Peru or slept with half of the West Coast Eagles (football team) - and then there's the person you want your child to believe you've always been - which generally is a saint.

"When you have a child you need to work out how you're going to parent them without becoming a hypocrite," Yasa says.

She wants to help mothers provide the appropriate information for their children so they will come to you - whether it's an issue of drugs, pregnancy or even just dating.

"You don't ever want to create a situation where your child won't come to you when she's in need of help, out of fear that you'll disapprove - you've got to provide the right information and love, support.

"And you don't want to have that `do as I say, not as I did back when I was your age' mentality, because I think that can really alienate your kids - and that's a frightening situation."

Yasa, who grew up in Sydney's Turkish community, says her parents were very liberal, for which she is grateful.

"Both my parents came from devout Muslim families themselves but what they saw when they moved to Australia was, the kids in the Turkish community really acting out because the parents were so strict, and they were expected to marry other Turks - so my parents went `no, we're going to raise our daughter as an Australian'.

"We celebrated Christmas and Easter - we became the black sheep of the Turkish community, but because they gave me such a long leash, I really didn't have anything to rebel against. And I've turned out okay."

But Yasa admits that the issues that face today's teenagers are different and more worrying than when she was younger.

"I really worry about the sexualisation of children today - we had Kylie Minogue and that was okay - today's music clips have women gyrating and it's completely different."

Social media is another big worry that Yasa has for her daughter.

"If we did something stupid a few people at the party would have known. Now if you do something stupid and someone takes a picture, it can go viral and it's with you for life.

"Our parents didn't have to worry about these things, now we have to educate them about how to conduct themselves 24/7 - it's horrendous. I'm glad I'm not growing up in today's society."

Although the book is aimed at girls over 15, Yasa hopes mothers will read it, too.

"I really want mums to use it and write their own tips in the blank pages. It's a way to encourage an open dialogue with their kids.

"I saw a lot of women that have gone off rails - and I remember thinking `god I hope my kids don't grow up like that'.

"I have a responsibility to tell my daughter this is way things are - even if she doesn't listen, I've told her.

"There going to make mistakes but as long as it's not something too damaging that's going to right their whole life off, that's fine."

* Things My Daughter Needs to Know: The Truth about Drugs, Drink, Sex, Tattoos, Babies, Strange Men and High Heels is published by Pan Macmillan Australia. RRP $19.99.

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3 Total Comments
Jane B says: 2012 07 02

My kids aren’t teenagers yet. But what worries me about when they do get to that age is social media and how their mistakes can be broadcast to the world instantly. In my day (god I sound old), I made mistakes but luckily not many knew about it. Now days a simple error of judgement can really do some damage.

Ellis Hardy says: 2019 11 25

This is an interesting article despite the errors in grammar. I think sex offenders should lose the right to the internet based on the likelihood of re-offending. Offenders who are likely to become repeat offenders should be monitored in every way, especially on the internet. power pressure washing

Georgina Dennis says: 2019 11 26

I was checking frequently this blog site and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part I take care of such information a whole lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thanks as well as best of luck. cosmetic dentist california

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