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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 11 June 2007

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WE’RE A NATION OF MUMMY’S BOYS (AND GIRLS)

THEY may be settled and self-sufficient, but many 20 and 30 somethings are still firmly attached to mum’s apron strings when it comes to seeking health advice, according to new research by Panadol. Half of 18 to 34 year olds turn to mum first for help with health dilemmas (50%), above doctors (28%), pharmacists (41%), partners (28%) and the internet (35%).

The research was commissioned by Panadol to provide insight into the nation’s health habits. It also reveals that nearly 1 in 4 in 35-44 year olds still seek health advice from their mum; as do more than one in ten 45-54 year olds.

The Marketing Director for Panadol, said:- “Panadol has discovered a trend for “Dr Mums” who are being called on by time-poor, grown-up children who want quick access to health advice from someone they trust. And mums fulfil that role better than anyone.”

Mums’ hand-me-down health advice is so popular that they could be helping to ease the burden on the NHS, handling an estimated 53.4 million of their children’s health dilemmas a year. That’s almost twice as many as the 30 million enquiries handled by NHS Direct, through their phone, online and interactive services.

Mums on speed dial for health

So why is mum such a popular choice for health advice? Put simply, Dr Mumis trustworthy and available on demand – the top two factors for Brits looking for health advice.  Her wide range of advice, the fact she knows your medical history and you can ask her embarrassing questions, all seem to help make mum a hit in the health stakes.

However, even Mums could benefit from more guidance on recommending the right treatments for their children, according to the research. The Marketing Director for Panadol said:- “Our research shows nearly 1 in 3 women are confused about even the most commonly used medicines – pain relievers. Many don’t understand the difference between paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen, or which are most suitable for whom."

Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and award winning writer, said:- “Mums are playing a really positive role in keeping their families healthy, even tending to their grown-up children who’ve flown the nest. However, while it’s great they’re playing the role of doctor, it’s important that they make sure they’re armed with the right information before tackling any health problems. Even Dr Mums can’t be expected to have all the answers.”

Given mums’ important role as the family’s health expert, we’re keen to encourage them to find out more about pain relief so we’ve created ‘Ask About Pain Relief’, a simple guide to different forms of pain relief, which is available to download free at www.mypainrelief.com.

Zero advice is better than dad’s advice

While trustworthy mum is a health advice guru, dad is a diagnosis disaster– we’re 3 times more likely to suffer in silence than seek his advice. 16% of us Brits would seek no advice or consult our neighbour about our problem, compared to just 5% who’d speak to their dad.

When it comes to being nursed better, we’re more than 4 times more likely to turn to mum for TLC than dad. And, while nearly a quarter of UK mums and dads would leave their poorly children in the care of their own mum, just 1 in 10 would trust the task to granddad.

CHILDHOOD FRIENDSHIPS AT RISK REVEALS NEW SURVEY

CHILDREN'S freedom to play out with their friends without adult supervision is being curtailed by adult anxiety about the modern world, a survey published by The Children's Society. 

The survey shows that anxiety about playing out unsupervised means that adults are denying today's children the freedom to spend time with friends that they once enjoyed themselves.

80% of respondents in the North thought that children should be allowed to play out with friends unsupervised from 11 years old.

Across the UK, however, 53% opted for children to be to be allowed out unsupervised by adults under the age of 14, despite the fact that 66% of the adults had been allowed out without an adult under the age of 14.

Interestingly, the survey also revealed that early friendships last a lifetime with 64% of respondents in the North saying they are still in touch with at least 1 childhood friend. 

The survey, conducted by GfK NOP, is the first in a series called reflections on childhood being commissioned by The Children's Society as part of its Good Childhood Inquiry.  Its findings come in the wake of a recent report from UNICEF which revealed that the UK ranks at the bottom for peer relationships in international tables. There is also research to suggest friendship in the UK is changing, and that since 1986 the number of teenagers with no best friends has increased from around 1 in 8 to almost 1 in 5. And yet children contributing to The Good Childhood Inquiry have said friends are the most important things in their lives.

"Children have told us loud and clear that friendship matters and yet this is an area in which we appear to be failing them.

As a society we are in a real quandary; on the one hand we want freedom for our children but on the other we are becoming increasingly frightened to let them out.

All the research shows that spending time with friends is fundamental to children's wellbeing and development which means it is crucial that we resolve this contradiction.

The Good Childhood Inquiry allows us the opportunity to do so by rethinking the kind of lives that we want to create for our children." said Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society.

The topic of friends is the 1st of 6 key themes to be considered by The Children's Society's Good Childhood Inquiry.

A summary of the evidence about friendship submitted to the inquiry by the public, adults and professionals can be downloaded from www.goodchildhood.org.uk.

'If we are to ensure that all children enjoy the good childhood they deserve we must consider how society can support and encourage friendships,' said Professor Judith Dunn, chair of The Good Childhood Inquiry and a leading expert on childhood relationships.

Over the next 12 months the inquiry will hold meetings on the remaining themes of family, health, learning, lifestyle and values before reporting its final conclusions in late 2008.

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