'Parenting books don't know everything'
Published 10/10/2011 | 05:00
Eileen Gormley is the writer of young adult science fiction and a mother of three girls aged between 10 and 14.
"Everything seems to happen to teenagers sooner now than it did in our day -- they hit puberty earlier, they're exposed to a lot more, and you're depending on their common sense and their moral sense to carry them through.
"My parents could dictate what I read but with so much access to TV channels and the internet it's much harder to lay down the law to your teenager.
"There appears to be a lot more pressure -- there are cliques and a sort of grading system on, for example, a girl's appearance, how many friends she has, what clothes and make-up she wears, while for boys it's about how many girls they can go out with, how fit they are and how good they are at sports.
"It is a totally different world -- I'm glad I'm not a teenager now.
"There are easy times in parenting and there are difficult times. When they start school, for example, it gets a bit easier because they're more independent. Then they go into puberty and tend to get louder and more argumentative."
Eileen's tip: "Try to work with your child's needs. Don't assume the parenting books know everything about your child. Trust your own instincts. Talk to your children.
"Sometimes it's nice to go out to McDonald's or somewhere just for a chat with them which is not about tidying rooms or doing homework; just casual chit-chat."
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