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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 00:31 GMT 01:31 UK
Parents not listening, say children
parent walking with children
Do parents have no time to talk?
Many children say their parents are bad listeners and they can't talk to them about their problems, according to a survey.

The things they most want to discuss are bullying, other school problems and sex.

Only 47% of the children questioned for a survey by BT and Childline said adults listened to what they said and acted on it.

The things they most wanted to talk about were bullying (65%), sex and relationships (58%), and problems with school (53%).


The other subjects they wanted to discuss were coping with family bereavement (44%), abuse (43%) and drugs (39%).

Adults were also questioned in the survey.

Most (83%) agreed it was important to listen to children, but only 57% of adults said this actually happened.

ChildLine chairman Esther Rantzen said: "This research has highlighted the range of issues that children and young people want to be involved in and heard on.

"We know that children don't just need help with problems such as abuse and bullying - they also want to talk to us about loneliness, worries about other people and things that happen in the world around them."

Nearly nine in ten children (87%) said the biggest barrier to talking to an adult about a difficult subject was embarrassment.

The other things holding them back were fear of being punished (66%) and of getting someone into trouble (58%).

Social problems

As well as needing someone to pour out their troubles to, children also said they wanted more say on things that happened in their home lives.

Six out of 10 said they wanted to be more involved in decisions about family leisure activities.

A similar number wanted to be asked their opinions on the relationship between the police and young people and on the way councils could improve local services.

BT's head of social policy Adrian Hosford said: "We agree with ChildLine, and with the children and adults who took part in the research, that listening more to young people could help to provide solutions to social problems, as well as changing individual lives."

For the poll, RBA Research questioned 2,600 children and 1,500 adults in the UK.

Founder and chair of Childline, Esther Ranzten
"These aren't just trivial issues that we want people to listen to children about"
See also:

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