I was shocked at the way the media reported the death of a “little girl” from complications of a heart and lung transplant. I was shocked mostly because of the way press coverage handled it, referring to the 17 year old as a ‘little girl’. “Girl”, yes! “Little girl”, hardly! I prefer even less hearing a fourteen year old being called a young adult. Sadly, media often uses terminology to create ‘shock reports’.
Liberals at a school board meeting were trying to justify giving out condoms, and much to my fury, children younger than seventeen were being falsely referred to as ‘young men and young women’. To me, at that age, they are still boys and girls, definitely older children, but certainly not young adults.
What ever happened to the stage of adolescence? Adolescents are grown children, not yet adults. As much as we may wish to skip right over it, ignoring this difficult period in
life will not make it go away.
Since then, I have been observant as to how society refers to the different age groups. I find it routinely inconsistent; society, it seems, cannot make up its mind about its
own. Total confusion reigns – and yet it should not.
Is a fourteen to seventeen year old, a little girl, a young adult, or an older child? Many are not yet physically fully grown at these ages. The law refers to those under eighteen who are not yet of legal age, as ‘infants’. The reason has to do with mental capacity and the inability
to make decisions which carry long term effects.
Let’s get something straight: a fourteen year old is not a young adult. A seventeen year old is not a little girl, as the media so readily identified her. But if so, then what is a fourteen year old? Certainly not a young adult. The subjects themselves may not like the term older child but they are not ready to accept the responsibilities of an adult either!
Will the media continue to avoid using the descriptive “adolescent” for fear of misspelling
it? Come on, this is the computer age!
Adolescence means having the ‘essence’ of an adult, before becoming even a young one. At this age of transition they need our emotional and mental protection as much as, when at
the transition from baby to child, they needed our physical protection. Let’s establish some ground rules here.
My annoyance with incorrect terms escalates when I hear a lawyer refer to a criminal as a ‘gentleman’. Being neither gentle, nor in my estimation a real man; he is a male, a guy; perhaps they could get away with calling him a man, or a person; but not a gentleman. Terminology has been lost. I was infuriated that a lawyer who should know the importance of words and their meanings was so misconstruing them. I thought he only served to
emasculate himself. I’ve heard men say of some adult women, ‘She’s no lady’. It
means something. Therefore it is contradictory to call a criminal a gentleman.
I wish people would get their terms straight; especially those who make a living on words, such as lawyers and reporters.
More important, let us not disregard that stage of growth called: adolescence –being an adult neither emotionally nor mentally, only having the essence thereof. – end