Skint - part 2

(132 Posts)

AIBU to have switched it off as it gave me such rage to hear that a 21 yr old who has never worked a day in her life had 5 kids, free rent and £1600 on top of her free rent! Knew I shouldn't have started watching it....

I've been thinking about jamelia a lot today after last nights episode. I don't know how to express what I want to say without sounding like a dick but here goes..

I live in a working class former mining town that used to have a lot of factories and the traditional path for someone leaving school without many qualifications was pit or factory. I grew up thinking this was a bad thing. I was wrong. Entry level jobs now are often shops and call centres and there is an expectation that you need to be able to communicate well, look presentable, be able to use technology to some degree. Someone like Jamelia doesn't have many employment options now. Adding to the problem thousands of graduates applying for the same jobs and it leaves some people with extremely limited opportunities.

I'm not looking down on Jamelia and others like her when I say this, I think its a disaster for the UK that work is so hard to come by for people who aren't academic and who don't get through school easily. Its so easy to sit here and say 'why don't they get a job?' but really, what kind of job are they going to get?

Apologies if that came across as condescending, its not how its meant. Many of my non academic friends left school to do yts schemes or go to factories and have had steady incomes and normal family lives. I feel like that option has gone now for lots of people.

EnglishGirl
I know where you are coming from. Jamelia's situation made me feel sad rather than anything else. It was hard to see how she was ever going to make her way in the world and the price she had paid in losing her daughter was huge.

I was ready to hoik up my MC judgy pants but actually it just worried me that there were people who seemed to really lack support and direction and consequently were making bad choices at a young age with consequences for the rest of their lives.

I rarely get bothered by tv programmes but her story really touched me. She obviously wasn't stupid and dude understand what she needed to do to make her life better but I don't know how she'll ever get the chance. I can't help thinking that in a different time her story would have been more positive. I knew kids like Jamelia at school who could easily have ended up like that if they hadn't been able to walk into a job at 16.

lowercase Tue 21-May-13 17:40:49

Did see some of Skint...I really believe that Love is the answer.
Turning away from material things and paying attention to each other.
Community, support, encouragement.

niceguy2 Tue 21-May-13 17:45:35

Englishgirl, I don't think you sound like a dick at all. I totally agree with you about her job opportunities being limited.

I also know that had she have been my daughter, I'd have given her every chance I could. I think in Jamelia's case she came across more like a victim of circumstance. Ie. being kicked out and made homeless at 16.

Of course we don't know what she did to drive her parents to that sort of action but I hope I never have that same dilemma with my DD who is the same age.

I'm glad my post came across as intended, you know what this place is like smile

Remotecontrolduck Tue 21-May-13 17:56:49

I found it all very sad, and honestly don't know what the answers are.

What can we do to ensure people leave school wanting more than to have kids or go on benefits? How can we make sure there are jobs for people to go to that pay enough to actually live on?

It's so easy to say 'get a job', and I have to admit seeing the girl with 5 kids complaining of having no money, sat there clutching her s3 and watching the huge plasma did make me a bit hmm. But really what jibs are these young people going to do? No qualifications, criminal record? Would any of the people telling them they're scum employ them? Doubt it.

Then again, at what point do we say people need to take personal responsibility? School is free, college is available free, you don't have to hang around with smack heads and thieves, you can stay out of trouble. You can use contraception so you don't end up with 5 kids and no way of funding them.

Like I said, I honestly don't know what the answer is. It just seems like we're failing a lot of people in society.

hamdangle Tue 21-May-13 18:04:22

I really thought mumsnet was quite a non judgy place especially when it came to benefits claimants so I'm surprised to see the comments on here. I thought that many of the people on the programme came across as very articulate but were stuck in a difficult way of life and I certainly didn't look at anyone and think 'that's the life!'

The family with seven kids had a tiny tv and a mobile phone is not a luxury, it's a necessity. I was a single mum at seventeen and had a small tv on a chair in my living room. I didn't have any central heating for fifteen years and it took me five years to afford carpet in every room. I always had a phone (landline at the time) though because I wouldn't have been able to get a job without a phone number! All TVs are flat screen these days and you can buy anything on a rip off finance deal.

So what if the couple spent some of their money on a wedding? Should poor people not get married? Should only rich people be allowed children?

Yeah its easy to look at the flatscreen etc. and judge but the chances are they'll very paying bloody Brighthouse for it for the next 20 years so I can't find it in myself to be in any way envious of the lifestyle.

Remotecontrolduck Tue 21-May-13 18:13:34

hamdangle I don't begrudge anyone a TV or getting married. I do however think that the 21 year old with 5 kids who did have a top of the range phone, and a huge plasma, is irresponsible and needs to sort her priorities out. She had no money to feed her kids, and resorted to going to a charity to get food.

While I know people are desperate, some people are REALLY desperate. She could have sold the s3 or the massive TV, downgraded to a smaller one and fed her kids, without taking food from the charity whiere the food could go to people who literally, have nothing.

If the TV was on hp / credit then selling it really isn't a solution.

Sometimes the answers aren't so simple.

catgirl1976 Tue 21-May-13 18:21:16

5 kids at 21? She deserves twice as much. When is she meant to work? Imagine the cost of full time nursery for 5 children....... I reckon we are getting a bargain

Remotecontrolduck Tue 21-May-13 18:22:00

ChazBrilliantAttitude No, the answers aren't simple, it's all very depressing and I don't envy any of them.

You do have to question the ethics of companies like Brighthouse though, god knows how much interest and how long they'll be paying that stuff off for

ClartyCarol Tue 21-May-13 18:25:47

Ok, so the old 'apprenticeship for virtually every secondary modern pupil' days have gone, but there are still avenues of employment for non academic teenagers who are willing to work hard - shop work advancing to supervisor/dept manager; hairdressing leading to senior stylist; beauty therapist who goes on to set up own business, and so on.

Also a phone may be a necessity but must it be the latest smartphone? Does the tv have to be the largest one available. There seems to be poverty of ambition but not of aspiration.

I really don't think those avenues are there in many places though. I was a shop manager until recently and I advised a part time vacancy in the shopping centre reception, not even in the job centre or online. I got over 200 applicants, many graduates, many experienced shop workers. How is the cv of a non academic teen going to fare among the other applicants?

hamdangle Tue 21-May-13 18:34:55

Its easy to say things like that because you have no concept of living week to week or even day to day. The government just stopped her payments. If you live right up to your means each week and have no friends or family with spare money then where would you get money from, right there and then, to buy food? Who would you sell a tv or phone to? There's so much stuff on eBay now going cheap you wouldn't get £100 (ehich eould go nowhere with five children) for a TV and you couldn't sell it if it was on credit or rented anyway.

JakeBullet Tue 21-May-13 18:35:49

Hello sleepingbunnies we spoke n the other tread briefly. You said in there it was "madness" to be giving her all this money, and to an extent I agree with you. It IS madness if we are just giving her £1600 a month and doing nothing to help her make changes and plans for her future. Those five children are not going to be children forever and NOW is the time when we need to go in and support her. Doing nothing changes nothing but supporting her with her needs (be they literacy, numeracy or other social issues) benefits her and the rest of society...not to mention her children.

I think the world would be a better place if we could look at families like this and ask "what can I do to help this Mum have some hope for the future"? Trust me when I say that having five children at 21 is rare and I have never seen a case in 20 years as a midwife and health visitor. The most I saw at 21 was four children and believe me the self esteem and confidence issues the Mum had were horrific....as was the childhood she experienced.

I volunteer as a parent supporter to help families like this tackle their own issues. I will also help them identify what their own development needs are and help with stuff like CV writing etc. some of the families I work with would not be out of place on this programme, many many more though are just struggling. I refuse to believe any are beyond help. I have gone with one Mum to a literacy course and she is learning to read (many Mums who live like this have numeracy and literacy issues but not all), she didn't even have the confidence to go to the course, all she needed was for me to go to ONE class with her and she now goes alone.

You are right, just paying a family £1600 a month is madness, they need much more than financial help. And £1600 a month is nothing when you have five children to feed and clothe and keep warm. It would be worth looking to see what projects exist in your area, could YOU offer mentoring or support to a family like this so they can make their own positive changes?

We can moan about giving them all this money until we are blue in the face but unless we are proactively helping families make positive changes then nothing will change for anyone.

catgirl1976 Tue 21-May-13 18:39:54

I do sometimes wish there was a like button on MN

Jakes post is one of those times

sweetestcup Tue 21-May-13 18:43:28

The TV was most likely from Brighthouse as it was a Baird which is the brand they sell, I shudder to think of the interest.

Dawndonna Tue 21-May-13 18:55:47

Well said, Jake! Brilliant post.

FasterStronger Tue 21-May-13 19:52:06

jake i agree with you about confidence. DP is from near where the program is filmed. he got out years ago & has done very well for himself. his brother lives a life of benefits, weed, beer and various scams. the brother's real issue is confidence - but he would never admit it. he does not lack brains but he does not want or need anything in his life to change. he lives within his means and is comfortable enough.

if there is a problem like literacy, clearly resolving it could change someone's life. but DP and I have spent years trying to work out how to help his brother change something.

but DP's brother really does not want any help because he does not want to change - he doesn't really have to deal with anything hard or challenging. and he has had years of chilling so why change now? why change ever?

he is a victim of the system but he also plays it. like the woman with 5 children - she is a victim but her actions have increased her income beyond far what she could earn. would she have wanted to have fewer so she could work in a low paid job? unlikely. she is a victim of the system but plays it as well.

so how can DP & i help his bro? I will take any suggestions to DP. we used to try but nothing worked so we gave up but maybe someone can suggest something new. all comments appreciated.

DrCoconut Tue 21-May-13 20:02:49

The "doss house" where Jamelia lived was literally down the road from my childhood home. If you'd stood outside our old front door you could see those houses. It's a terrible area now due to utterly unscrupulous landlords buying up all the bottom end of the market and letting them to anyone with no monitoring or controls. You have people piled into houses and transient residents everywhere. The families have been driven out largely. My parents left as it got too rough there. Very sad as they were great houses, really big and sturdy, perfect for first time buyers or low paid people. We live in one very similar but in a different area.

JakeBullet Tue 21-May-13 20:19:29

I agree that people have to want to be helped and have to want to change. Getting to the point where they realise they want to change is the issue. We have young parents barely out of their teens begging for help and people in their forties who don't want help and don't want to change.

The Mum in this programme might not have any energy after childcare to change ANYTHING at the moment. It's about being there in a non-judgemental way so that she knows support IS available when the children are older. The Mum I referred to further down with four children at 21 ....I visited (for work reasons) on her 21st birthday and she said "I'm 21 and I've got four kids" and her eyes filled up. Broke my heart that did sad.

No little girl at 7 says "I plan to have lots and lots of children", they want to be nurse, doctors, hairdressers etc. they have ambition do 7 year olds. I wonder when they lose that ambition and see no other future than parenthood?

Skinnywhippet Tue 21-May-13 20:32:45

The family with 5 kids at 21 are silly. They are. She made an uneducated choice. Most people have some sort of life plan and consider some of the practicalities. However, can we really blame her? She probably endured a similar childhood herself. She is surrounded by the culture she now embeds in her children. Most medical students are the children of doctors- fact. It is likely, that many families who rely on benefits and are committed to this lifestyle come from these families also. They cost the state dearly. It concerns me that middle class families probably have 2-3 children on average ( I haven't checked the stats) but socially disadvantaged families have larger families and are going to dominate our population. I know I am going to get flamed. Sorry. It's just my current opinion. I don't blame these families, but I do blame their history and culture.

Didn't anyone see the bit where the 21 year old's mum said she'd made an appointment for her to get the coil fitted & the 21 year old grinned idiotically at her?

And the bit where she said why should she stop having children just because they don't have jobs?

She seemed to have made the choice to have that many children.

Jamelia's story was heartbreaking though.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now