herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Our children are not obsessed with fame and fortune... they worry about the world

Youngsters have the weight of the world on their shoulders, worrying about everything from friendships to the environment, a survey of parents suggests.

Rather than the traditional image of the celebrity-obsessed youngster, pre-teens are more concerned with the world around them and helping others, according to a poll by parenting website Netmums.

The survey questioned more 1,500 parents of eight-to-13-year-olds -- so-called 'tweenagers', who are no longer small children but not yet teenagers either.

The findings show more than four-fifths (81pc) of parents say their 'tween' worries. Fretting about friendships was cited as the top worry (69pc) followed by schoolwork and tests (57pc).

But almost one in four (24pc) of those questioned said their youngster worries about natural disasters, and one in six (15pc) said their child is concerned about the environment.

A total of 44pc said their son or daughter does worry about their looks, while just over a third (38pc) said their youngster was worried about their body.

The poll suggests today's 'tweens' are concerned about the people around them.

Almost two-thirds (62pc) of the parents questioned said their child is aware of people less fortunate, while a further 3pc said their youngster is actively involved in helping others.

More than half (56pc) said their child is aware of global warming, and just under half (47pc) said their 'tween' encourages them to be green.

Some 57pc said their child is more aware of the wider world than they were at the same age, but two in five (42pc) said their youngster seems to have more worries.

Spending time with friends and family (83pc and 74pc respectively) were chosen as the activities that make their child the happiest.

But more than a third (38pc) said their child is happy when they are helping others, and 43pc said their youngster is content when the people around them are happy.

Asked to describe their 'tween', the most common words chosen were happy, sensible, responsible and knowledgeable.



Wrong

Netmums co-founder Siobhan Freegard said: "Tweens are often represented as self-absorbed and only concerned with trivial matters but our research shows just how wrong this perception is.

"Growing up in a world where war, terrorism and financial meltdown are top of the news agenda, today's generation is philanthropic, caring towards others and they take on the worries of adult life.

"Talking to our children and understanding the issues they face on their tumultuous journey into their teenage years enables parents to offer the right sort of support and guidance so they can be happy, confident and responsible tweens."

hnews@herald.ie

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