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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Feels Pressured To Grow Up Too Fast

DEAR ABBY: I'm 12 years old and I still play with dolls. My older sister keeps telling me to grow up. I am embarrassed to ask my mom about it. Lots of girls at my school are growing up and they wear makeup, and I feel left out sometimes. Sometimes I throw tantrums.

I try to get good grades, but my sister puts me down by saying stuff like I'm stupid. I try to ignore it, but it just gets in my head and stays in there forever.

It's hard growing up to be a young lady. I don't know what to do with my life. I'm trying to grow up, but I can't get out of my childish ways. Please help me, Abby. I would really appreciate it. -- SAMANTHA IN KOKOMO

DEAR SAMANTHA: Growing up isn't easy. I know people decades past the age of 21 who are still trying to do it, some with more success than others.

It might help you to know that people don't mature at the same rate. This may have to do with emotional maturity and hormones. At 12, you are supposed to be mature enough to control your emotions and not have tantrums. Because you aren't, it's important you talk with your mother about your feelings.

As to your dolls -- hang onto them if you wish. People of every age collect and enjoy dolls, and it's not a sign of immaturity. As to wearing makeup, that's a personal choice. If you aren't interested, it's nothing to feel self-conscious about. More important than growing up fast is growing up to be a self-confident person who accepts herself for who she is.

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