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Back-to-school is a tough time for kids: back to homework, peer pressure, getting nagged by mum and dad… But help is at hand! We put some young Londoners’ problems to 13-year-old Jenk Oz, who – as the country’s youngest CEO – seems to know his stuff.
I don’t mind going to school mostly, but I hate maths. Does it ever get less boring? Sophia, 10, Balham
Jenk says: ‘Maths is like Marmite – you love it or you hate it! However, it’s a really important subject because, unlike a lot of school subjects, you’ll actually end up using maths every single day for the rest for your life – whether shopping, playing music, watching sports or checking the numbers on your first ever payslip! I think the best way to cope with it, if it’s not your favourite thing to study, is to make it as fun as possible. There are so many new maths-focused apps that are created in gaming style, making learning a lot more fun. Also, websites such as BBC Bitesize can help you break down complicated sums and equations to make them easier to understand. The easier they become, the more you will learn to love it, and the less boring it will be!’
I want to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ but my mum won’t let me – she says I’m not old enough. How can I change her mind? Josh, 12, Dalston
Jenk says: ‘My mum won’t let me watch it either! It’s rated age 15 and I’ve heard it’s pretty gory, with some pretty grown-up content. If I ever want to watch something that’s got an older rating, I usually ask my mum or dad if they can watch all of it first then decide if it’s okay for me. Sometimes they say yes and other times it’s a no. In those cases, I guess we just have to respect that our parents are acting in our best interests and wait until we are old enough.’
My best friend is acting weird around me. She’s made friends with a girl I don’t like and now she’s being mean. Can we still be friends? Lola, 11, Ealing
Jenk says: ‘In my opinion, the best thing to do is speak to your best friend alone and in person, and express how you are feeling about the situation. Tell her that you think she has been acting differently towards you. See if you can work things through together and help each other understand how both of you are feeling. Everyone is different, so people see the exact same things in very different ways. You never know, it may just be a misunderstanding that can be sorted out pretty quickly. It all starts with an honest conversation.’
My mum and dad keep saying they’ll take me for a day out in London, but all they take me to are museums. I want to do something fun! What should I tell them? Scarlett, 9, Wimbledon Park
Jenk says: ‘Museums can be fun, but you’re right, there are so many other cool things to do in London, from sightseeing to rollerblading to ziplining to DJ and graffiti lessons. Why don’t you try putting together a list of the top activities you want to try and show it to your parents? Then you can decide together which activities you all want to do. Of course, you could also check out the iCoolKid website for ideas!’
Some boys from where I live are pressuring me to hang out with them all the time. My sister says I shouldn’t, but they say she’s just jealous. Who should I listen to? Isaach, 13, Walthamstow
Jenk says: ‘If you truly like and trust these boys and want to hang around with them, and your parents have said it’s okay, I would ask your sister why she thinks it’s a bad idea. She may have information about them that you’re not aware of. It’s always good to get lots of opinions, especially ones that are different from our own.’
My dad is being super-grumpy these days. He sits on the sofa the whole time and never talks to me. What should I do? Sumaiya, 8, West Kensington
Jenk says: ‘Why don’t you try thinking of some cool things to do together that your dad will enjoy as much as you do – maybe going to the cinema or watching a game of football? He’ll be so happy if you show him that you want to spend time with him. Also, take the time to understand why your dad is a little grumpy. Maybe he had a bad day at work. It never hurts to ask and show you care.’
What’s the point of homework? And how can I get it to stop? Noah, 10, Crouch End
Jenk says: ‘Homework is just one of those things we all have to do to keep up in school! It’s a way to practise what we learned earlier in the day so that it sticks in our brains. And honestly, it’s worth it in the long run. Why not split it up into bite-size chunks, or try doing it as soon as you get home from school to get it out of the way quicker? You could also start your own study club with your friends where you support each other with your work then get time to play afterwards.’