Anne Widdecombe, Strictly Come Dancing, Student Protests and Me !

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I was invited onto BBC Breakfast  again today to discuss young people demonstrating and protesting  about the changes that will see maximum tuition fees treble to £9,000 a year for students.

So imagine my surprise when Anne Widdecombe of “Strictly Come Dancing” fame walked into the Green Room!

She was in great humour, doesn’t take herself at all too seriously and was very gracious when I asked to have my photo taken with her!

But here’s what I was on the Beeb about and here are my thoughts on the independence of young people struggling to find their place in the world.

In Chapter 9 of my “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” book I write about the developmental changes that teens are going through and it’s not just about acne, arguments and anger !

Mentally teens are developing the ability to think introspectively and they have a growing need to explore who they are and how they fit into society.

Teenagers need to feel part of the adult world and their growing independence means that they are often challenging and pushing your boundaries as well as challenging your values.

This is the time when they often take up “causes” from animal rights to green issues and many teenagers take up a cause that they believe to be important and they fight for it.

Many parents I coach often feel that their kids are being naive and idealistic but their teenager is finding their own voice and is beginning to take their role in the world and community seriously, and should be applauded  and praised for becoming active, rather than passively sitting back and not engaging in the world.

Today’s teen is tomorrow’s future leader.

Perhaps this the perfect time to talk seriously about all sorts of issues with your teen and a perfect time to LISTEN!

It’s all about respecting their views, even if they are very different to yours, as teens need to explore their values, to test them out, and to become independent of you, so it’s about talking, listening and guiding them.

Despite all the bravado teenagers need your support, respect and understanding.

What struck me about the protests this week was just how peaceful and powerful they were because of how amazingly young many of the kids were.

It wasn’t about rage more a defiant stand for youth and hope and the right to a University Education.

My son’s off to Brunel University next year so it’s a subject close to my heart!

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About the author

Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the  famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.

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Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
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