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It's important to be friends with them

Alison Rea Davis is mum to three girls – Jessica (18), Emily (15) and Katie (10), pictured left. Alison limits her daughters' access to the computer and to their phones.

"I take their phones from them at 9.30pm and they are charged in my room," she says. "At first, my oldest said, 'you don't trust me', but it's not a trust thing – it takes you away from your sleep, your head is buzzing and you can't sleep. It's addictive."

Biddulph is critical of parents who try to be their teenager's friend and says that it is a parent's job to impose strict limits on them.

Alison feels that parents and teenagers can still be friends. "You can be their friend by letting them know that you're there for them whenever they need but it doesn't mean that you're out drinking with them and you entertain their friends and you're the cool mum."

Alison has found it's invaluable to be able to talk to her daughters and for them to know they can talk to her.

One way in which Alison has managed to do this has been by taking her girls out regularly on their own. "It has kept our relationship open and my oldest now says, 'it would be nice to go out'."

Wise words indeed. In fact, I learned more from these four parents than I did from Biddulph. My advice is to save your money and go and have a good chat with someone who has been through your stage of parenting already. Or visit a local parenting group or online forum. Who needs authors?

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