Mum, dad and teenage kicks

Sunday 14 October, 14:0015:30, Frobisher 1-3Modern family

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Being a parent to a teenager has never been so problematic. Whether it’s mental health, education, body image or happiness, we seem to worry more about how to raise our teens than ever before.

The traditional notion of strict parenting seems to be a thing of the past. Many of today’s mums and dads are relaxed about their teens’ partying, drinking and sexual orientation. They argue that no topic of discussion should be off limits, and encourage an open dialogue with their kids.

But while trying to be easy going with authority, many of these parents also spend their time worrying that their children are not having enough fun. Battles with teenagers to get out of the bedroom, and get off social media, are common to many households. And with some reports claiming that today’s generation are more risk-averse and less willing to drink, smoke and have sex, some parents want to encourage their kids to do the things they did when they were young.

Are these parents on to something? Many believe today’s teenagers are missing out on the real-life experiences that older generations enjoyed. But perhaps parents are in danger of being nostalgic, out of touch and guilty of trying to pass on their unhealthy habits to young people. Are these liberal parents unwilling to lay down the law and behave like grown-ups, preferring to be down with the kids?

Being a teenager has always been tough. But today, young people are constantly told to focus on their mental health, to watch what they eat and to worry about who might want to touch them. With this in mind, is it important for parents to encourage their teenagers to socialise, take risks and have fun? How should parents react to the new challenges modern life poses to young people? Will there ever be a cure for the age-old tension between teens and their parents?Adolescents drink less, although levels of alcohol consumption are still dangerously high