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In their own words: what nine-year-olds think about . . .

"I get on great with mummy 'cause she is really nice to me and she does everything for me . . . and she helps me sometimes with my homework." (Girl)

"I always practise rugby with him (father) outside. And he cooks my favourite food. . . spaghetti bolognese." (Boy)

"We don't see him (father) as much because he travels five days a week. . . and the rest of the times he is travelling, and on the weekend he can be a bit grumpy." (Boy)

"My dad and mum split up and I only get to see him once a month . . . I would love to see him every day. Most of the time I feel upset because he is not here." (Girl)

health and well-being

Interviewer: "And how healthy would you say you are?"

Child: "Not very."

Interviewer: "And why do you say that?"

Child: "Because I eat a lot of not good food like chips and pizza, sausages and junk food." (Girl)

"My mum does that (smoking). I think that it's not a really good thing to do, and on nearly every cigarette packet it says that 'smokers die young' so it's a bit scary." (Girl)

"If someone had one beer it would be okay for a treat, like me having one Coke." (Boy)


Interviewer: "So tell me about your wishes?"

Child: "Good friends, good life, be rich."

Interviewer: "So tell me about being rich. Why would you like to be rich?"

Child: "Because then I will have less difficulties."

Interviewer: "You will have less difficulties? So what do you think needs to happen for you to become rich? How does somebody become rich?"

Child: "They use their brains, strengths and abilities." (Boy)

Child: "To get a scholarship to college, to have a good job, to have babies, to have a husband and to have a nice house."

Interviewer: "So that is your dreams, and what would things you might fear be?"

Child: "To live on the street, to have no friends, to have no money, to have no family and to be unwanted."

"My fears are drugs, smoking and death of anybody. Dreams -- hairdresser, model and marriage."

Irish Independent