Letter: Children need our attention

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Sir: When my children were growing up the school holidays were pure joy. No rushing about first thing in the morning, and then only three or four hours at the end of the day to spend together, but all day long in which to explore and discover the world around us together.

We talked and listened to each other, properly communicated, and learnt a lot from each other and about each other. I watched television programmes with them, took them to the cinema, theatres, museums, parks, and on walks, played tennis, swam, just sat around with them, read, cooked, even cleaned the house with them, and in this way helped shape their ideas and morals, their values, prejudices, likes and dislikes. I gained much by sharing their interests, fads, musical tastes, and so on, and a new world opened up for me.

No wonder the young Appleyards love going to their teacher grandmother, to be stimulated and invigorated ("Honey, I didn't kill the kids today", 7 August). No doubt she shows real interest in them as individuals. Modern parents are sending a very dangerous message to our young people: you are of no interest to me, not important enough to warrant my attention. No wonder our youngsters turn to drugs, anorexia, delinquency and suffer more stress. They are screaming out to be noticed and the adult world is ignoring them.

ARIELLA LISTER

Hatch End

Middlesex

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