London, Jan 17: More than half of exasperated parents would rather swap the tantrums and tears of their teen kid for the sleepless nights and dirty nappies of newborn babies, a new survey has revealed.
Raging hormones, tantrums, spots and surliness all combine to make life difficult for mums and dads.
One in four said their child's 13th birthday triggered the start of the teenage angst, the Daily Express reported.
But the advice to parents is to persevere. By the time youngsters turn 17, the worst is over and relationships improve, experts claimed.
While 16 used to be the flashpoint age, increasing pressure on youngsters to fit in, look good and be cool means parents now say 13 is the toughest time.
Siobhan Freegard, of parenting website Netmums which commissioned the poll, said: "So much is written about caring for babies that it's easy to overlook that teenagers test their parents even more than a newborn does. It's certainly true that children are growing up faster than ever. While 16 used to be the flashpoint age, increasing pressure on youngsters to fit in, look good and be cool means parents now say 13 is the toughest time."
"But parents are better at understanding the pressures than teenagers realise, with four in five recognising their children are under unprecedented pressure. While teens always say the world is 'not fair', their parents are doing all they can to help them cope with it," Freegard said.
Two-thirds of parents revealed that their teen suffered serious mood swings with one in 25 concerned their child could be depressed.
One in seven said their teen was "very body conscious," while one in eight mothers felt they were passing on their own body anxieties.
Parents were also concerned about anger levels, with a third saying their child slammed doors and shouted at them at least twice a week.
One in seven believe their child is sexually active, with 43 percent claiming their child lost their virginity under the age of consent.
And, worryingly, a quarter of parents with sexually active youngsters think their child lost their virginity at 15 - with 13 percent saying it happened at 13. One in 16 said their child was sleeping with a partner aged 13 or younger.
Refusals to help around the home was the biggest flashpoint for parents, with 55 percent of families rowing over it.
Two in five argued over teenagers' laziness, and a third fought over their lack of interest in their schoolwork.
One in 20 argued over them taking drugs while 10 percent were concerned about them drinking or staying out late at parties. (ANI)