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Mobiles, sex and a bad mother

I have just had one of those "parent" moments that sends a shiver down the spine. I was transporting my daughter and three of her friends to the cinema as a treat for her 10th birthday. During the 40-minute journey not one word was spoken.

All three girls sat in the back of the car, hands glued to their mobile phones, texting like seasoned professionals. Who were they writing to? All of their friends were sat inside the car. My daughter sat in the front seat and sulked.

This is because I am officially a bad mother. I will not allow her to own a mobile phone. It is not so much the threat of it melting her brain but the dread of the bills she would run up.

However, as she tells me at least 10 times a day, I have ruined her life as she is the only child in her class not to own one. Everyone Else's Mum lets them have their own mobile.

I am getting really fed up of Everyone Else's Mum. She allows her daughter to wear make-up and dress in skimpy jail-bait clothes, she buys pirate copies of DVDs and keeps her children up late to watch Little Britain.

Everyone Else's Mum does not insist on homework being done on time, nor does she force her children to make their own beds.

Second only to Everyone Else's Mum on my hate list is the horrible little brat who is also trying to rob me of my little girl by making her grow up too soon. It is his fault that my daughter giggles at the word sex and thinks lesbian is a term of abuse.

I am apparently not the liberal-minded religious education teacher I thought I was. While I am relaxed about teaching sex education to my Year 9s, I am finding it more difficult to manage closer to home.

While in work I can discuss sexually-transmitted diseases casually and put a condom on a wooden penis without blushing, with my daughter I am lost for words.

I really do not want to be the type of parent who leaves it all for the school to explain, but it is much more difficult than I thought it would be. Maybe there is some continuing professional development course that I could go on?

Dawn Jones is head of religious studies at Prestatyn high school, Denbighshire

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