Practice Comprehension Passages


Read the following passages then answer all the questions set on them.

Gradually, every parent becomes aware that his or her child has adult concerns, wants acres of privacy and no longer trusts the goodwill of parents in the same old way. These are the biggest of all changes in child-parent relations, and are almost always in place by age 13. This shift occurs not because of bad influences and media, but because your child’s brain has matured and is capable of more independent judgement. Please remember, however that the change is not locked in place. A young adolescent can bounce back and forth between ages eight and 13 (and sometimes 15) in a matter of seconds, scorning your values yet, at times, still wanting to sit on your lap.

For girls, the central action is their social lives and the intensity of their feelings. No matter how much a girl and her friends are torturing one another with gossip in school or instant messages from home computers, she is convinced that if you knew what she was saying, you would disapprove or, even worse, try to interfere and make a bad situation uglier.
What is she talking about with her friends? Social power: Who’s popular, who’s feminine, and who’s really weird. Parents: their faults and inability to understand 13 year olds.
Girls are talking about their powerful feelings; they have complex and sometimes overwhelming insights into life. Their joy can be great and is visible, but their despair is hidden in solitary late-night crying, journal entries, weight obsession.

Boys are preoccupied by their power and opinion of other boys, their anxiety about whether they live up to the test of masculinity, a new, deeper range of feelings that they may be unable to put into words. In the kitchen, a boy looks down into his mother’s eyes and thinks, why is this woman giving me orders? I love her but I am bigger than she is. That perplexes him because he still needs her so much. Boys, like girls, are having a lot of dark nights of the soul in which they see how disappointing adults can be and how unjust society is, they may not be able to put their fears into words, or they do not want to because it makes them feel weak.

a) What meaning is conveyed by the word ‘acres’ in line 1?

b) Identify TWO of the ‘biggest of all changes in child-parent relations’, according to the writer.

c) What does the phrase ‘not locked in place’ mean?

d) What, according to the passage, are causes of the shifts in child-parent relations?

e) To whom does the word ‘you’ in paragraph 2 refer?

f) What, according to the passage, is the preoccupation of (i) girls and (ii) boys?

g) Why, according to the writer, are boys perplexed?