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Sweet 16's too expensive for their parents!

A survey has revealed that kids cost their parents the most when they reach the age of 16.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 11:56 IST

A survey has found that kids cost their parents the most when they reach the age of 16. The average 16-year-old has a running cost of 64 pounds a week in food, clothing, tuition and other expenses. Babies cost their parents an average of 40 pounds a week before they reach their first birthday, the survey found.

Raising a child from birth to adulthood costs parents an average of 43,056 pounds, according to the study by the debit card company Maestro UK and Family Circle magazine - and that does not include an 18th birthday present. More than half of parents - 54 per cent - admitted that the expense of bringing up their children had proved far higher than they imagined.

"It is clear that raising children is a costly business, but we feel that many parents may not be aware of just how costly it is. The total cost of raising a child is almost twice the national average household's take- home pay, meaning workers in the average family will spend two years working to cover the cost of each child,"Nigel Turner, the marketing director at Maestro UK, was quoted by the Telegraph, as saying.

The bills begin to add up, with childcare expenses for pre-school children costing up to 100 pounds a week for one in 20 parents. Soaring nursery bills and a shortage of good childcare places mean 80 per cent of parents try to save money by taking extended maternity leave and employing relatives on babysitting duties.

The poll of more than 1,000 parents found that the biggest single expense of parenthood was food, with the average child having munched his or her way through more than 20,000 pounds worth of meals by the time they reach 18.

An annual survey of pocket money by the market research company Mintel has found that 12- to 16-year-olds receive an average of #9.37 a week. But compared with feeding and entertaining a child, educating one is a relative bargain.

Seven out of 10 believe they will help their child to buy their first car; 80 per cent expect to contribute to university costs; and almost half are resigned to providing money for their children's first step on to the property ladder.

But despite the financial pain, only 4 per cent of parents said they had any regrets about having children.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 11:56 IST