Girls of Tender Age

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Kathy Stanhope

As I get older, I see so much in life in a different perspective. Looking back I wonder whether I could have made some better decisions as a person. In the novel I feel that the children of “Girls of Tender Age” definitely had a rough time growing up. Mickey and Tyler were not treated the way children from loving parents should be treated. Their treatment greatly affected their lives and the way they became functioning adults. However, they did have at least one parent who was a good parent, their father Yutch. While the mother, Florence, is always absent and avoiding her responsibilities. The story demonstrates what good or bad parenting can impact children.

In this book , Mickey (Mary-Ann Tirone Smith) was not able to show emotion or have a normal childhood. She was not able to play music nor was she able to have friends over to play. The author describes what it was like growing up in her home .”This is a chronic response to crisis in my family”(p.7). There could be no crying because of Tyler , Mickey’s brother , who is five year’s older than her and has autism. At that time autism was thought to be a form of mental retardation. He cannot stand any noise. If he hears noise he will begin to bite his wrist. Mickey felt very trapped and could not understand and just had to deal with it. In a normal, healthy family you are able to go to your room and cry to express how you feel. Mickey had her father, who loved both children very much, but he had no idea really how to handle Tyler. Instead Tyler got his way no matter what because it was so much easier.

Mickey also experienced neglect. The mother was always at work or going to her activities. The mother seemed to be avoiding the demands of Tyler’s behaviors. Mickey was often left for a few hours to watch her brother until her father got home from work. The mother also showed signs of being abusive. Mickey’s mother once said “Mickey, get in here and...
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