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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
Parents a moody lot say teens
Teenagers say they dislike the way they are portrayed
Teenagers say moody parents are their biggest headache.

And more than half of those responding to a BBC survey agreed they get "a bad press" - with only 13% agreeing that society values teenagers.

Almost one in five felt that this stereotyping was the hardest thing - above exam pressures, mood swings and boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

The findings are from responses of more than 16,000 teenagers and 6,000 parents to an online survey done this summer.

One teenager said: "When we get together as mates the media and police say there is a problem."

'Fed up'

The negative "Kevin the teenager" image clearly caused offence, said director of BBC Nations and Regions, Pat Loughrey.

"One of the clearest things the survey shows us is that teens are fed up with being stereotyped by the rest of society.

"I believe teenagers already have a lot to say."

The BBC is running a week of events on a Talking Teenagers theme, which includes a challenge to parents on how they would talk to their children about different issues.

The survey suggests there is a communication gap.

Only 8% of teens felt able to talk to their parents, as opposed to their friends, about depression - even though a third of parents expressed concerns over teenage depression.

Teenagers worried more or less equally about their appearance, school work and exams (49% and 48%).

Nearly a third felt death was one of their biggest worries.

A fifth felt happy talking to their parents about sex, but again the majority preferred talking to friends.

Yet 37% of parents thought that their teenage child would talk to them about sex.

Better advice

But half of teenagers agreed the best things about their parents were the way they showed their love for them, and their sense of humour.

And the old 'rents can be cool, it seems: 43% of teens said the way their parents behaved with their friends was another good thing about them, apart from being a source of money of course.

Parents seemed aware of their moodiness because they predicted teenagers would cite this as their worse quality.

A quarter of parents felt easier access to teachers (26%) and a parent adviser in schools and colleges (22%) would be helpful, along with better information on drugs, alcohol and sexual health (22%) and family doctors specialising in teenage health problems (24%).

The BBC's James Westhead
"One of the biggest snapshots of how parents and teenagers get on, or don't"

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18 Apr 02  |  Education


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