Publication - Research and analysis

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12

Published: 4 Jul 2019
Directorate:
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Children and families
ISBN:
9781787818576

Some initial findings about the lives of 12-year-old children living in Scotland, using data collected from the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS).

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12
Relationships

Relationships

Children were asked about their relationships with their peers and with their parents.

Peer relationships

At the time of data collection, children had recently moved from primary school to secondary school. When asked about their experience of making new friends at secondary school, 85% of children said they had found it quite or very easy. Boys were more likely than girls to have found making new friends easy (88% compared with 82%).

Boys were more likely than girls to have found making new friends at secondary school easy

Boys were more likely than girls to have found making new friends at secondary school easy

On the other hand, girls were more likely than boys to say they could always count on their friends when they have a problem (62% compared with 45%). Overall, 53% of children felt they could always count on their friends and 29% felt they often could.

“I can count on my friends to help me when I have a problem”

I can count on my friends to help me when i have a problem

Four questions on children’s experience of getting picked on or bullied were asked:

  • How often do children pick on you by calling you names or making fun of you in a way that you don’t like?
  • How often do children pick on you by leaving you out of games and chats?
  • How often do children pick on you by shoving, pushing, hitting or picking a fight with you?
  • How often do children pick on you by sending messages or posting things online?

For each question, children were asked to indicate whether they had experienced the behaviour described most days, at least once a week, about once a month, every few months or never.

Bullying was a relatively common experience with a significant minority of children experiencing it in some form on a regular basis. The most common behaviour children experienced was being called names. Forty-three percent said they had ever experienced this, including 10% who said they were being called names or made fun of most days. There was no notable difference between boys’ and girls’ experience of being called names or made fun of.

Girls were more likely than boys to be picked on by being left out of games and chats (30% compared with 24%) whilst boys were more likely than girls to get picked on by shoving, pushing or fighting (17% compared with 24%). The vast majority of children (86%) had never been picked on via messages or online posts, though 14% had experienced this to some degree. This form of bullying was more common for girls than boys (17% compared with 12%).

Experiences of bullying

Experiences of bullying

Relationship with parents

Children were asked about their relationships with both resident and non-resident parents[2]. Results for resident mothers (including mother figures) and resident fathers (including father figures) are reported separately, whereas results for non- resident parents are combined (as the very small number of non-resident mothers does not allow their results to be separated out).

Most children reported a strong relationship with their resident mother and resident father, though mother-child relationships were a little stronger. Seventy nine percent felt they could always count on their resident mother to help them if they had a problem and 65% felt they could always count on their resident father. However, 21% of children did not feel they could always count on their resident mother if they had a problem and 35% did not feel they could always count on their resident father. There were no statistically significant differences between boys and girls on either measure.

Children reported that they could always depend on their...

Children reported that they could always depend on their...

Relationships between children and their non-resident parent were weaker than those with resident parents. Half of the children (50%) who had a non-resident biological parent felt they could always count on them if they had a problem. Although similar proportions of boys and girls said this was always true, boys were more likely than girls to say it was often true (25% compared with 16%) whilst girls were more likely than boys to say that this was sometimes true (19% compared with 14%). This very tentatively suggests that boys with a non-resident parent tend to have a better relationship with that parent than girls do.

Most children with a non-resident parent had some kind of contact with that parent. Eighty-four percent saw them in person, including around 29% who did so several times a week. In addition, 82% had contact via telephone, text or email, or via apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp, including 28% who did so daily.

Face to Face contact with non-resident parent[3]

Face to Face contact with non-resident parent


Contact

Email: GUS@gov.scot