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Read exclusive content from L Platers, the latest parenting guide from bestselling author of Being 14 and Ten-ager. 

Teen girls are passionate and enthusiastic and willing to voice their views on gender and climate change, First Nations justice and Ukraine - but then will turn around and ask their mother to make an appointment with the doctor. Emboldened by Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins they'll argue with anyone, but then not feel confident enough to drive, once they have their licence.

"They've got all this magic inside and they don't know when they walk out the gate how to apply it,'' one expert told me.

Black and white in their views, they rely on funnelled sources of information that colour so many of their views. They want to make a difference - they are just not sure how and believe politicians and often their parents stymie them. But they are shaping democracy in a bigger way than they might ever at the ballot box, through the power of social media.

"I worry about my rights as a woman as they're being taken away,'' one 18-year-old told me.

"We want to be heard and acknowledged,'' says a 16-year-old.

"Climate anxiety is real. We feel hopeless. We can go to rallies but nothing is changing,'' another says.

Ask 100 16, 17 and 18-year-old girls about the causes dear to their hearts and climate change, consent, housing affordability and the future top their concerns. And yet are we really listening to them? And how might their lives be different if we did? That's what I try to answer in L Platers: How to support your daughter on the road to adulthood.

  • L Platers - Madonna King

    To support our girls, we need to understand the pressures this generation is under by listening to what worries them and what they need - and journalist and social commentator Madonna King has done just that.

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