PARENTS

Too Much Too Soon For Today's Teens, Says New Survey

20/07/2011 13:59 | Updated 22 May 2015
Too much too soon for today's teens says new survey PA

A new survey has revealed that mums and dads think their kids are experiencing teenage issues before they are even out of their tweens.

A massive 87 were of the opinion that kids today face far more serious issues than they had to deal with at the same age.

The research - which was undertaken by the parenting charity Family Lives along with alcohol education charity Drinkaware - was conducted on 800 parents and 600 children.

The influence the internet and mobile phones have on children's behaviour worries many mums and dads, with 86) say they have received sexually explicit text messages.

The survey showed other concerning technology based trends, including:

More than a quarter (28) of 13-15 year olds see photos of their friends drunk on social networking sites

12 of 13-15 year olds say they have seen sexually explicit images on the internet.

To empower parents, Family Lives and Drinkaware have produced a Top Tips list. The advice includes:

Technology

Familiarise yourself with how computer and mobile technology works. Don't worry if your child knows more about technology than you – be honest and spend time together looking at online security and privacy functions.

Keep the computer in a room used by all the family, monitor how much time your child spends on the computer and encourage them to openly talk about what they're looking at online.

Alcohol

As a parent, the worst thing you can say about drinking is nothing at all. And offering a listening ear is just as important as telling your child the facts. Reassure them they can ask you anything and you will listen and won't judge them if they have tried alcohol.

If an opportunity to talk doesn't present itself, try using triggers to prompt discussion. These could include:

At dinner time, if you're having a drink with your meal.

After special occasions where people have been drinking, like a wedding or birthday party.

Alcohol-related news stories, soap opera storylines, documentaries or anecdotal school stories.

Practice what you preach – as your child's role model, they will pick up on your behaviour. By sticking to the daily unit guidelines*** you can show your own responsible attitude to drinking and demonstrate alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation.

Parenting

Having a plan will make your life easier. Rather than waiting for something bad to happen, think about when and how you are going to start and keep the conversation going about topics like alcohol and sexting.

Pick a time when neither of you feel rushed or under pressure. Avoid starting a conversation just as your child is going to bed or walking out the door.

Get to know their friends' parents. They'll probably share your concerns, so you could agree on rules around technology and supervision. You can also share anecdotes about the questions your children have asked, which might help you prepare for your own conversations.

What do you think? Are kids growing up too quickly these days? How can you put the brakes on?

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