Just chill out mum

Daily Echo, 27th January 2009
By Sian Davies, Senior News Reporter

Supernanny Islay Downey tells Sian Davies why it takes time for children to appreciate their parents. Parents are being urged to take a more laid-back approach to bringing up their children after a study revealed that youngsters do not start appreciating their mums and dads until they are in their early 20s.

A study has found that it is not until children reach their 22nd birthday that they begin to appreciate the importance of their family.

It is about that time that young people start to leave home for university or to bring up their own families.

A poll of 5,000 families by online firm Onepoll found that more than a quarter of children moving out of their home came as a shock and more than half said they missed their parents looking after them.

However, Southampton City Council’s supernanny Islay Downey said a lot could be done to ensure children appreciated their parents before they reached their early 20s.

She said: “It is avoidable if parents took a more laid-back approach to bringing up their children and essentially allowed them to fail.

“It is the only way they will learn their own coping strategies and how to deal with things for themselves.

“If parents do everything for them then children will take it for granted. This study is common sense really, it is only when they are not being looked after in the family home that they start to appreciate what was being done for them.”

A spokesman for Onepoll said: “It was at the age of 22 that on average is a point of reflection and when they start having to make their own decisions about finances, food, relationships and health. It is then that they realise the extent of their mum and dad’s input to date.”

The poll also found that as people become older they are more likely to start listening to the advice of their parents when it comes to bringing up their own children. For women it was around 27 and for men it was nearer 29.

For help and advice about parenting issues contact parentlineplus at parentlineplus.org.uk or 0808 800 2222.