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Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 23:43 GMT 00:43 UK
Teenagers are not 'monsters'
Teenagers
Teenagers are not 'stereotypical monsters'
A study of the relationship between teenagers and their parents has suggested a picture of happy families across the UK.

The survey of 2,500 adolescents goes some way to dispelling the myth that they are constantly at loggerheads with their parents.

A report into teenagers' attitudes towards their parents, reveals that the vast majority feel 'loved and cared for'.

Three-out-of-four young people say their parents are always there when they need them and almost 60 per cent say they 'get on well' with their parents.

Just one-in-five say they argue with their parents.

Sharp differences

But the survey also shows sharp differences between both groups.

Most teenagers believe it is important that both parents get on well if they are to raise happy children. But just a third of parents share that view.

Two out of three adolescents say parents should be clear about the difference between right and wrong, compared to 40% of adults.

The groups are similarly divided on whether listening to children is important. Almost three quarters of teenagers say it is, but just 41 per cent of parents agree.

The study suggests that conflicts emerge as children get older and, in particular, after the age of 13.


These findings show how easy it is to stereotype teenagers.

Mary McLeod, NFPI

The MORI poll was carried out for the National Family and Parenting Institute.

Its chief executive Mary MacLeod said the results dismiss stereotypical perceptions of teenagers.

"These findings show how easy it is to stereotype teenagers. Contrary to the Harry Enfield picture of the monster in family life, the majority of teenagers get on well with their parents."

Dorit Braun, chief executive of Parentline Plus - a helpline for parents - said many conflicts between parents and teenagers are due to poor communication.

"We know that parents and teenagers can find it difficult to communicate. Parents' love is being communicated but teenagers' desire for independence leaves parents feeling confused and rejected."

A spokeswoman for Childline said calls concerning family disputes ranked as the second biggest reason for children calling the helpline last year.

She said it was important that children were listened to. "Many of the calls we receive are from children who say they cannot talk to their parents.

"What we try to do is help them to identify someone they can talk to and to advise them and how they should go about talking to that person."

The survey has been published to coincide with the launch of a new advice leaflet Parenting Teenagers - published by Parentline Plus - which aims to give advice to parents on raising adolescents.

See also:

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