Belfast Telegraph

Nine-year-olds reveal views of life

Children feel less close to parents who work long hours, a survey has found.

Nine-year-olds also revealed they expect to feel peer pressure to smoke or take illegal drugs as they grow up.

A total of 120 youngsters and their parents were interviewed for Growing Up in Ireland, which is part of a larger study tracking the lives of 20,000 children.

Professor Sheila Greene, co-director of the study, said it offered youngsters the opportunity to give, in their own words, information on a range of areas in their lives.

"The design of this part of the study gives us a unique insight into the world in which nine-year-olds live and allows us to capture the diversity of children's experiences and circumstances," she said.

Researchers said key findings included that relationships between children and their parents were broadly positive, but youngsters felt less close to parents who worked long hours and were less available.

The study also found that parental separation had a considerable impact on children's routines.

The youngsters predicted that growing up would offer more independence and responsibility, but understood they might experience peer pressure to do things such as smoking and taking illegal drugs.

The study is being conducted by a team of researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who launched its latest report, added: "The Growing Up in Ireland study is of critical importance as it provides a comprehensive and highly valuable evidence base which can be used to inform and guide our development and delivery of targeted and effective programmes for children and young people."

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