Twice in my life I've gotten involved in astronomy and each time gave up after a while. When I was young I bought a cheap department store telescope, and when I was older, bought a 4" refractor with equatorial mount. My fancy scope wasn't that conducive to just going out and looking at the sky. It was a pain to set up an align Generally I waited to use it when I was willing to drive an hour out of town to the astronomy club's site, and even then I was always hassling with the setup. If I tried astronomy again I'd be tempted to get a small dobsonian or small refractor with a good alt-az mount, or even some good binoculars. I'd want something that I could keep near the door and would be easy to drag outside and use.
I was always disappointed with what I saw in a telescope. It's exciting to see Jupiter and the Moon, but it was always terrible frustrating and a disappointment to me to find the faint fuzzies. In the end I just loved being out in dark sky sites learning the constellations and just learning to find things in the sky. There's nothing with more sense of wonder than seeing the Milky Way at a good dark site without any equipment. I would recommend any parent with a kid interested in astronomy first start by joining a local club and going to their dark sky site. You'll be able to look through many kinds of scopes and get lots of advice. Don't buy a scope until you've gone sky gazing a few times without one.
I think getting a telescope for a young person involves a number of compromises. You want to get something good enough and easy to use for the kid with a casual interest, but also good enough for the kid that truly has the astronomy bug to grow with. I tend to think a well made small dobsonian is the best starter scope. But a quality 80-90mm refractor that's small with a solid alt-az mount might be equally good.
End in the end, the scope that's easy to grab and use often is the better one to buy first.