Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Parent Talk

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Parent Talk

Article excerpt

Byline: By Shona Russell

Bringing up babies and children isn't always an easy job. Shona Russell aims to help you with practical guidance and information, based on her experience as a counsellor, a child-care writer and mother-of-three. If you've got an issue you think she can deal with, write to her here at the Evening Chronicle. She'll do her best to share some down-to-earth advice.

Q. My son is aged 13 and seems to have gone off the rails big time. He used to be happy enough going out with the family and enjoying trips away with his younger sisters and us, but he has started to moan and groan and say he'd rather be with his friends when we arrange something.

I know it's natural to want to be independent and to break away from family routines at about this age, and I don't want to cramp his style. But his friends seem aggressive and surly, and their parents seem to allow them to be out of the house until quite late. We insist on him being home at nine o'clock and he tells me we are the only ones who bother about this.

I find his mood is unpleasant, and he can be rude and impatient with anyone who even tries to make pleasant conversation with him. His school work is suffering and several of his teachers told us at the last parents' evening that he has a problem with concentration.

He used to have several interests but now his only hobby, if you can call it that, is going out with his friends with their skateboards.

A. Skating is certainly a hobby, and one that demands a high level of commitment and motivation over quite a long timea.if he becomes skilled at it, this is worth supporting and encouraging. It improves concentration and keeps him fit.

At 13, as you say, many children, boys and girls, are trying to spread their wings a bit. It's the classic difficult age, because you know as an adult they are not ready to go too far away from you, and I think insisting on a sensible home time is perfectly reasonable. …

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