13 is the most difficult age for parents

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
17 January 2013

If you thought teething, the terrible twos, potty training and starting school were challenges, just wait until your children hit their teens.

According to a poll of UK parents, age 13 beats all the other challenges faced by families and is the age children prove their most problematic.

More than half of the 1, 145 mums surveyed by Netmums rated bringing up a teen more challenging than caring for a newborn baby, with family arguments and mood swings cited as concerns for most families.

A quarter of the parents polled ranked 13 as the hardest age, followed by 11 (19 per cent), 14 (18 per cent) and 12 (16 per cent).

[Related: Happy teens earn more in later life]

But as the hormones settle down, parents’ relationship with their teens dramatically improve with only one in 50 parents of 17 year olds still having trouble.

Parents also revealed some of the concerns their teens have. Almost half of parents thought their child suffered from anxiety caused by the need to ‘be cool and fit in’, with 47 per cent worrying about how popular they were on social networks.

[Related: Even light exercise can help overweight teens]

Two thirds of parents regularly deal with mood swings and more than half have spoken to their teen’s school about issues.

Other bones of contention for families with teenagers include underage sex, refusal to help around the home and the use of gadgets. Perhaps surprisingly, only one in 20 parents had ever argued with their teen about the use of drugs.

One in seven admitted their child worried about weight and body image, and four out of five felt there was ‘far more pressure’ on teenagers now than when they were growing up.

What’s been your trickiest age so far? Let us know on Twitter.

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