Skip to content

Troubled Teens – the Children’s Society

January 17, 2017

ttThis report warns that thousands of teenagers in the UK may be suffering as a result of poor care and attention at home. Parents are neglecting the emotional needs of teenagers on the presumption that they do not require as much support as younger children.

Its scope is fairly new – other report tended to look at specific issued such as material poverty, sexual abuse.

It argues for a “step change” in the quality of advice and support being given to parents bringing up teenage chil­dren. “Neglect can lead to signifi­cant problems,” it says, “including with mental ill health, substance misuse, school (attendance, behaviour and attainment), offending and early sexual activity, and can be the precursor of serious harm,” it said.

The Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter. Hancock, has welcomed the re­search. “The Church of England is committed to any recommendations that would improve the lives of young people, particularly those who are neglected as teenagers. We look forward to responding to the full research and recommendations in due course,” he said.

The report is based on an online survey of 2000 young people aged 12 to 14, across 72 schools in the UK. One in seven 14- and 15-year­olds reported some form of neglect from parents or carers, it says. These included a lack of awareness of their activities outside of the home, in­sufficient healthcare, and a lack of interest in their education.

Nearly half of this age group (46 per cent) who had experienced emo­tional neglect in the past year said that they had turned to alcohol to cope. This group was more than twice as likely to turn to alcohol misuse, smoking, or truanting than those who felt that they had been supported by their parents.

The chief executive of the Children’s Society, Matthew Reed, said: “The Government has a massive role to play in making sure the needs of teenagers.

Then again, the survey asked teens: When you go out on your own or with friends of your age, how often do your parents ask you: Who you are going out with? Where you are going or what you are going to be doing?

Well, I was never asked because I was trusted.

Nor did my mother ‘attend parents’ evenings at school’ – she disliked ‘them’. How much of this report is based on departures from middle class norms?

The indicators below are full of assumptions, As the son of widowed mother who had to earn his own money by a paper round these were beyond us:

Some pocket money each  week to spend on yourself

Some money that you can save each month, either in a bank or at home

A family car for transport when  you need it

At least one family holiday away from home each year

Family trips or days out at least once a month

The right kind of clothes to fit in with other people your age

A pair of designer or brand name trainers

An iPod or other personal music player

Cable or satellite TV at home

A garden at home, or somewhere nearby like a park where you can safely spend time with your friends  (Though, to be fair, the report does say that things are more complicated.)

Then there’s: Do you ever smoke cigarettes at all?’ ‘In the past few months have you ever got drunk?’ I know that today’s teens are less likely than those in my generation to do these things but there’s a social class difference again.

As for helping me my homework, my mum couldn’t as she was less well-educated. Show an interest in my hobbies? Well, she listened a lot but understood little.And we couldn’t afford a car.


8% of young people living in lone parent families were neglected in terms of educational support – compared to 3% in families with both birth parents.

50 (Family structure made no difference for the other forms of neglect).

As a general ‘rule’ more parental input was found to be beneficial – ie high frequency of care and support was associated with lower propensity for risk-taking behaviours and with higher levels of well-being

As the report admits, many teens want independence so don’t want too much parental indulgence.

The report is online here

Return to the home page

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: