Daughters aged 14 are the most difficult for parents to handle, new research has found.
Demands for more freedom coupled with puberty and problems growing up amid immense peer pressure puts millions of teenage girls on a collision course with mum and dad.
The age of 15 was pinpointed by parents as toughest point in bringing up boys, thanks to struggles with studies, skin worries and communication issues.
The stats emerged from an extensive report carried out by www.TheBabyWebsite.com, which surveyed 2,000 mums and dad of children aged 18 and over across the country.
Kathryn Crawford, spokeswoman for www.TheBabyWebsite.com, said: ”New parents live in dread of the ‘Terrible Twos’.
”But parents of teenagers will tell them that the worst is yet to come.
”Ironically, many toddler traits surface again when children become teenagers, but often become even more difficult to deal with.
”The survey results show two distinct ‘difficult’ phases in a child’s life. The general consensus is that teenage years are beyond doubt the worst.”
Parents of young girls said they found it hard coping with their daughter trying to grow up too quickly, dabbling with alcohol, battling with their changing bodies and complaining about pocket money rates.
The study also showed 78 per cent of parents who had boys found them particularly moody, sullen and sulky at age 15.
The same percentage found sons incredibly hard to communicate with, and while their child didn’t throw tantrums of any sort, they did find it difficult to express themselves.
Seven out of ten parents said sons became cross when they felt they weren’t being understood, while 67 per cent said boys would lock themselves in their room to avoid talking to anyone.
But while 56 per cent of parents admitted their sons were badly behaved as they went through puberty and the teenage years – 66 per cent acknowledged much of this was down to hormones.
By contrast, parents of girls said the main problem when they were 14 years old was that their little girl ‘turned into a woman overnight’.
Nine out of ten parents believed girls mature a lot more quickly than boys, while 56 per cent said they found it hard to cope with her growing up.
Communications between parents and daughters are also strained at the age of 14, as girls struggle to be happy with their appearance and fit in with friends.
While boys are more concerned at this age with doing well at school, girls are more preoccupied with after-school activities such as going into town, buying make up and even trying alcohol with older boyfriends or mates.
Kathryn Crawford added: ”We have to remember that as well as being the worst age for the parents, the teenage years are also the most difficult for the children themselves.
”Teenagers genuinely can’t help being surly and moody. They are often confused and scared by their hormone-driven mood swings.
”Add peer-pressure to the raging hormones and it’s hardly surprising that teenagers throw the odd ‘strop’.
”As a parent, all you can do is count to ten as often as it takes and just be there for them.”
Overall, 65 per cent of those polled who are parents to both boys AND girls said daughters were the hardest to raise.
Boys were voted the most difficult to bring up during the early years, and for over two thirds of parents, girls suffered the most through puberty and the teenage years.
FLASHPOINTS FOR BOYS
2. Wanting to be independent
3. Peer pressure
4. Wanting to grow up too quickly
5. Raging hormones
6. Being bored
8. Communicating with adults
9. Bad skin and spots
10. Fitting in with friends
FLASHPOINTS FOR GIRLS
1. Wanting to be independent
2. Wanting to grow up too quickly
3. Peer pressure
4. Raging hormones
5. Not having a sufficient allowance / pocket money
6. Thinking she is ‘too fat’
8. Fitting in with friends
10. Dabbling with alcohol