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Role Models

  Image: Jo Kennedy in Starstruck d. Gillian Armstrong 1982 Role Models From my early teens, I looked upon my parents with the harshest eye. They were annoying. They were boring. They were dags. This term – which does not travel – was an attitude, but it was also a look. Man-dags wore shorts with long socks and beige button-down shirts; she-dags wore shapeless housedresses, or “slacks” with homemade jumpers that were always pilled. My parents didn’t have to do much to warrant the label – a few rules, a few winces over  Countdown   – but teenagers are tuned to a different frequency. I have never been as merciless or as vulnerable as I was then. Writing in the 1950s, psychoanalyst Anna Freud called adolescence a seismic developmental disturbance. For the teenager, the break from parents was a deep mourning, akin to the loss felt after a broken love affair. This mourning is part of the struggle of the adolescent who has to separate from their parents and start looking for new objects to a

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