Caught between early childhood and adulthood, today’s tweenagers (7-15 year olds) experience a cocktail of emotional and physical ‘growing pains’ during this special life stage, according to a new OnePoll survey supported by pain experts, Nurofen.
For today’s younger tweens (7-11 years), almost every day can bring a whirlwind of firsts, from new friendships to balancing new school pressures and after school activities, which may be why half (50%) say they sometimes find growing up exciting, while 48% find it scary at times.
For those entering adolescence (12-15 years), over half (52%) feel under pressure at school due to the work, nearly half (48%) feel more aware and concerned about wider world issues such as climate change, political issues, or pressures caused by social media since getting older and more than a third (38%) worry about their future.
Clinical Psychologist Dr Kate Mason, who specialises in the wellbeing of young people, commented: “The pre-teen years are undoubtedly a distinct and special time in our children’s lives. This is when they are psychologically and emotionally developing their unique identities and perspectives, comprehending their place in the world, strengthening their relationships with peers and family, and undergoing many physical and neurological changes. However, these changes understandably bring a cocktail of emotions for children and their parents, as well as tricky practical challenges to overcome as they let go of the comforts of childhood, and face the uncertainty of the coming adolescent years.”
Adolescents (12-15 years) also experience certain types of everyday pains, including headache (66%), body pains (53%), braces pains (22%), post-sport aches (39%), and period pains (39%).
For nearly one in five (18%), experiencing pain was cited as a worry. This, combined with the fact that more than a third (36%) are away from their parents more than they have ever been before,1 means that special consideration may need to be placed on their pain relief options.
As their children navigate a period of change and start forging their own unique identities, a significant yet often overlooked effect is the emotional impact on their parents, and the practical challenges they face.
To better understand these, the survey also assessed the parent’s perspectives. It found that while many (54%) view their child’s increasing self-reliance as positive and enjoy their own newfound freedom, 42% struggle with letting go, hoping to hold onto the innocence of their childhood, and 46% worry they may not go to them first for advice.
A third of parents (33%) struggle if their older tweens show out of character behaviour, while a third (33%) say they find humour when they act a bit irrationally and 40% share funny stories among their friends and other parents.1
To support parents addressing these ‘growing pains, Clinical Psychologist Dr Kate Mason shares her expert top tips to help parents talk to their children about the things they find painful or worry about:
- “Be open and honest – Take your lead from your child, answer their questions and only go into the level of detail they ask for, but don’t be afraid to be honest or try to sugarcoat issues
- Choose opportune times to talk – A relaxed setting can help them open up, whether this be on the way home from school, sitting down to dinner, or even when watching TV or playing together. Doing a fun activity together can be a good time to have an open chat – whether this be while shopping, bike riding, or cooking together
- Problem solve together – Remember your child is going through a lot of changes – some good and some more challenging. To help manage these, I suggest taking time to talk through their concerns and the various options open to them, whether that be facing a difficult test at school, or a new type of pain. This will reassure them, build their understanding, empower them and help them develop problem-solving abilities
- Remember you’re not on your own – It’s ok to ask for help – no parent knows the answer to everything! For example, if you child is experiencing an ache or pain, speak to your pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure how best to address it.”
When it comes to managing their children’s physical pains, finding the a suitable pain relief option can be a real challenge for parents, with nearly a quarter (24%) saying their children find syrups too childish, while 40% of parents say their children struggle to swallow pain relief tablets.
Furthermore, more than a third of parents (35%) say they have resorted to disguising their child’s pain medicine to get them to take it, such as hiding it in peanut butter (53%) or dissolving it in orange juice (67%). Finding a suitable product is a priority for parents, with over half (51%) saying they want to feel assured their child has the correct dose of pain relief to last throughout the day.
Marcella Christophersen, Nurofen Senior Brand Manager at RB commented: “These survey findings are important to highlight the challenging times this age group and their parents can go through as their children transition to adulthood – their so-called ‘growing pains’. It’s clear that finding a suitable product for pain relief is a priority for parents, so they can feel assured their child has the correct dose of medicine to last throughout the day; yet they can often struggle with formulations available for this ‘in-between age group’. Recognising the pain relief needs of this age group, we have recently launched 2 products to help overcome some of these practical challenges.”
Nurofen, as leaders in pain management, have launched two products formulated for their pain relief needs.
- Nurofen for Children 200mg/5ml oral suspension is specifically designed for children aged 7 to 12 years. With a convenient double strength suspension suited to their body mass, it provides pain and fever relief in a familiar syrup format. SmPC. EMC. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/10458/smpc (Accessed: October 2019).
- Nurofen Meltlets 200mg Orodispersible Tablets are specifically designed for children 12+ years for headache and migraine relief. The convenient on-the-go format can be taken without water as soon as pain strikes. SmPC. EMC. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/10261 (Accessed: October 2019).
- Find out more about the new products in the Nurofen range here: www.nurofenforchildren.co.uk and www.nurofen.co.uk