More than half of parents believe coping with teenagers is far more testing than caring for a newborn baby, according to the study
New parents may think they have it bad with an endless stream of dirty nappies and sleepless nights to contend with.
But little to do they know, the worst is yet to come.
The hardest part of parenting is when a child first hits the age of 13, a new study has revealed.
More than half of parents believe coping with teenagers is far more testing than caring for a newborn baby.
They said that problems caused by surging hormones, indifferent attitudes and growing sexual awareness makes this period the hardest time of parenthood.
The study, by parenting website Netmums, looked into the difficulties of bringing up children and the various issues parents have to face.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of Netmums, said: ‘It’s easy to overlook that being a parent to a teenager is perhaps more testing than with a newborn.
‘It was quite comforting for me to learn other parents think 13 is the hardest age as it is almost like a re-birth of your children when puberty kicks in.
‘The change can seem it has occurred almost overnight, and the child you thought you knew has suddenly turned into somebody you don’t recognise.
‘I often liken the change to the sulky teenager Kevin Enfield in the comedy sketch by Harry Enfield - a young man becoming a werewolf once they reach 13.
‘But I think mums and dads are better at understanding the pressures of being a teenager more than their adolescent children realise.’
Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the 1,000 mothers and fathers questioned said that their children were most troublesome at 13.
And the biggest cause of arguments was found to be teenagers’ laziness.
More than half of parents - 55 per cent - say teenage children not pulling their weight with household chores was a common cause for a row.
While there are many happy aspects to bringing up children, almost a quarter of the 1,000 parents questioned said their children were most troublesome at 13
Mrs Freegard, 44, added: ‘The difference between caring for a teenage child and a newborn is that parents have to be in charge in a completely different way.
‘Teens will try to push the boundaries and push buttons you didn’t think you even had.
‘Parents have to give their adolescent children room to find their feet given their new state of independence.
‘But it is all about compromise, parents still have to let the child know there is a line they can’t cross.
‘I often liken the change to the sulky teenager Kevin Enfield in the comedy sketch by Harry Enfield - a young man becoming a werewolf once they reach 13'
- Siobhan Freegard, founder of Netmums
‘I think 13 might be the 15 of previous generations as puberty is hitting a little bit earlier these days.’
The study found that other tough issues which rear their heads at this age included children becoming concerned about their body image and depression.
A worried 14 per cent admit that their teens are very ‘body conscious’ and are keen to change their body shape.
Further, a third of parents admit their child slams doors and shouts at them at least twice a week, while four per cent worry their child suffers depression.
Another major cause of concern is their children becoming sexually active.
The research found that one in seven parents of 11 to 18-year-olds - 14 per cent - suspect their child has lost their virginity with 43 per cent believing their child had sex for the first time while under the age of consent.
While new parents may find it hard to imagine, raising a teenager was found to be the hardest part of parenting
New technology plays a part in modern parenting as gadgets cause rows with 39 per cent of families.
Also, due to the influence of social media, nearly half of parents think their children are worried about their popularity on sites such as Facebook.
This may explain why 49 per cent of mums and dads believe their kids fret about ‘being cool’ and ‘fitting in’.
The poll of parents in the UK found more important priorities like education and career paths were not high on the agenda for teens.
In addition, after 13 the next toughest stages of parenting mother and fathers complained of, were all when children are in their adolescence - the ages of 11, 12 and 14.
The research did however reveal that by the time children are 17 the relationship they have with parents improves considerably.
Mother-of-three Jane Green, who has two children in their late teens, agrees that 13 was a tough age to deal with.
The 53-year-old receptionist from Southampton, Hampshire, said: ‘They seem to undergo a change around that time in attitude and mood and other things enter their lives which weren’t previously an issue.
‘Their constant mood swings and laziness would often lead to arguments and them shutting themselves in their room for hours on end.
‘All of a sudden you find yourself worrying about things that had never been an issue before - such as sex and their social lives.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263759/Coping-adolescents-harder-caring-new-born-babies.html#ixzz2IFjBTiYu
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