Life and Times: How Does It Feel to Be 14 ?; We've All Read the Headlines about Teenage Pregnancy, Drug Use and Prostitution, but Is This a True Reflection of Young People's Lives Today? Here, Six 14-Year-Olds Tell Us the Secrets They Wouldn't Tell Their Parents - and Their Hopes and Fears for the Future

The Mirror (London, England), March 28, 2000 | Go to article overview

Life and Times: How Does It Feel to Be 14 ?; We've All Read the Headlines about Teenage Pregnancy, Drug Use and Prostitution, but Is This a True Reflection of Young People's Lives Today? Here, Six 14-Year-Olds Tell Us the Secrets They Wouldn't Tell Their Parents - and Their Hopes and Fears for the Future


The Roedean girl

Lulu Wentworth is a pupil at the pounds 3,420-a-term Roedean School. She lives in Brighton with her dad, Rick, 48, a composer, mum, Karen, 47, a beautician, and older sister.

`We've started our GCSE courses at school, so lessons go on til 5 or 6pm twice a week. I go to swimming training three times a week, so that means a 6.30am start. I'm exhausted by the end of the day.

`I've been at Roedean for three years. I went to a private school before, when we lived in Buckinghamshire, but it's tougher here. Mum and dad gave me the choice of going to a state school, but I thought Roedean would help me find a better job in the future. I do feel privileged, but also guilty that they're spending all that money. They say they're proud that I'm at Roedean, so I want to repay them by working hard. I don't think it would be as strict at a state school and if the classes are mixed sex there's probably less work gets done.

`Clothes are my obsession. I want to be a fashion designer. I read Elle and Vogue, but mainly for the pictures. I don't really like teenage magazines. They're just full of stupid problems.

`One of mum's friends is a director at Vogue and I hope to take a year off after school to do some work experience there, before going to university. I already do sketches for clothes and do research on my iMac computer in my bedroom. We also have a flat in London and when we stay there I love going shopping. Gucci and Prada are my favourite labels.

`I only get pounds 15 a month allowance and pounds 10 from my granny, so I can't afford designer clothes. I do have a Prada handbag, which was a present, and a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch trousers. Those are my only designer items. Some of the girls at school have huge collections of clothes. I like a lot of the same labels as my friends, so we swap to make the most of what we've got. Designer clothes are much classier than those from the high street. They're better cut. I'd love more if I had the money. I look forward to getting a good career, then I'll be able to buy all the designer gear I like.'

The townie

Sam Griffiths lives with her aunt and foster mum, Pat, 57, her foster dad, Andy, 40, younger sister, and three cousins, in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

`I have a new boyfriend and he treats me like a queen. He walks me home and his mum has invited me for tea. I knew he'd fancied me for ages but we only got together after I split up with my ex. He was a year older than me and started seeing someone else because he knew she'd have sex with him. Some of the girls at school bullied me, saying I was frigid because I wouldn't go to bed with him.

`Loads of the girls at school have had sex, some as young as 11. Some of my friends have, too. Most of them do it so they can boast.

`I know girls my age who take drugs, draw, and crack. Some of my friends have tried it but I don't want to. One of my cousins had a heroin habit that lasted four years, until he was 21. He told me about the dangers, and even makes sure my boyfriends don't do drugs.

`I want a mobile phone but mum won't let me because she says druggies use them. I just want one to gossip. At the moment, we all sit in each other's bedrooms and talk about boys. Sometimes we have a drink, like vodka. Most people I know drink a bit. I got really drunk on millennium night and had to go to bed. Mum let me drink at home that night.

`I also like to share clothes with friends. We all wear labels like Nike and Reebok and sometimes we swap because they're so expensive. Some people at school call you names like "charity case" if you don't have the right gear. I only like designer labels, they look much better. Mum moans they're a rip-off but I save money from Christmas and birthdays to buy them.'

The country girl

Sarah Wall lives with her mum, Sue, 45, a teacher, dad, John, 54, a farmer, and two sisters, in Framlingham, Suffolk. …

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Life and Times: How Does It Feel to Be 14 ?; We've All Read the Headlines about Teenage Pregnancy, Drug Use and Prostitution, but Is This a True Reflection of Young People's Lives Today? Here, Six 14-Year-Olds Tell Us the Secrets They Wouldn't Tell Their Parents - and Their Hopes and Fears for the Future
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