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....
You know there is a thread about this: you just posted on it.
You can watch what you like, obviously.
With 5 kids she's going to be too busy or knackered to work!
'Her' ?? So isn't there a man involved too? Why are you just angry at her?
And where are the jobs for her, or him, in Scunthorpe?
I don't think you are BU, it made me mad too.
Apologies soulsister I take that back. The pair of them are as bad as each other.
One if them will be in jobseekers and be actively seeking work
I haven't seen the programme but I wouldn't have wanted five kids at 21.
The programme has made me . Do they nt have any pride or integrity. Writing graffiti on the wall, kicking litter in the streets, swearing. Writing on walls in their home, and not taking any resonsibility
I'm watching it now on 4OD. It doesn't make me but quite instead.
We've created a society & system where people know their rights but not their responsibilities. A benefit system which gives a family so much money that they are effectively trapped. How does that young family hope to ever get a job which would pay over £2k per month. (£1600 money & then rent on top). And even if they magically could, who'd be stupid enough to work a full month when you can get it from the government?
I've no idea what the answer is though.
Programmes like this male me very sad. Where is the education for these girls? The 21 year old with 5 kids is the prime example of why people look down on people on benefits. How does she ever expect to be able to give her children the opportunities to better themselves?
However my heart did go out to Jamelia, the 16 year old who had her child removed from her. There was a girl who clearly wanted to better herself, so that she could fight to get her child back. Where was the support and assistance she needed and clearly craved? It appeared to me that she was just expected to get on with it. As a society, would it not have been better in her case to place her in a mother and baby unit? Or even foster care where she could be taught how to take care of the child and encourage to continue her education to give her a better chance of being able to take care of herself and her child? Instead she was living in an appalling "shared" house that looked more like a Doss house with junkies and criminals. Heartbreaking.
NiceGuy - I do not think that the benefits system gives people so much money that they are trapped. I think the real problem is that many jobs do not pay a living wage ( and that's if you can find one in the first place). We then have this absurd situation where people cannot afford to work. The government keeps harping on about "Making work pay" but they think the solution is to cap benefits, when in fact they need to increase the minimum wage to a living wage.
I have not seen the programme but I would imagine that taking care of 5 kids is much harder that going to work. I find it very sad that a 21 year old has no aspirations other than having loads of kids. I would be inclined to pity her rather than feel angry. And living on benefits cannot be easy. I know how much money we spend annually and it's much, much more than we'd get on benefits and we don't exactly feel flush.
The 16 year old Jamilia has had a hard life it looks like. What chance does she have in getting on. She has no family support and no role models to inspire her. Such a sad waste.
I was being a bit judgy pants about the couple with 5 kids but ended up feeling sorry for her, their DCs are already there (no going back) and they didn't have enough money for food, made me sad. However, I reverted to judgy pants when they decided to spend whatever money they
don't have, on getting married.
As for the shouty bloke complaining about the system, why don't you stop moaning and perching at the kitchen sink with a fag, and turn some of your anger into a real desire to find a job.
As for the 16 year old, just felt sad for her, her life looks dire and will probably only get worse
I was, and still am being judgey about the young couple with 5 kids. Sat there crying because they're not going to be getting any payments, watching their 50 inch lcd tv, iphone to the side of her.....
They could sell these, he could set himself up tattooing.....
Felt sorry fo Jamilia though especially when she'd put her best effort into looking good for the courts. The system had failed her in my opinion....Not in taking her daughter away but in giving her the help she needs.
I didn't watch the programme but if the partner with 5 kids went to work on a minimum wage job, wouldn't they be getting the same amount of money via tax credits
Exactly what I said to my DH nothingis! I grew up in poverty but it was proper poverty in the 70s - we had hardly any food & I remember the days of no electricity or water as it was cut off. Luckily I worked hard & as there was a grant system I place I went to uni & got a job that lends me to have a comfortable life. These people say they are "skint" but from what I saw they have more than I did as a child - TV, phone etc. When are people going to learn these items are a luxury & not entitlements? I may have a comfortable life but DH & I never buy things we can't afford. We don't have any form of credit or debt (apart from a mortgage) as I remember my parents arguing constantly over (a lack of) money. We buy second hand whenever we can to also save as well many other money saving methods. Today people think they're "skint" if they haven't got a car or have a holiday. That's not poverty - that's selfishness!
Yep moaning about being skint and cadging off a charity when they had a huge tv,2 mobile phones and at least 1 games console that I could see-but never though for one moment off selling them to buy food did they? But of course its not their fault-the poor wee diddums
Ohh, another benefits bashing thread. Whoop de doo!
How is it benefits bashing,to express dismay,despair at jamelias plight, and also to wonder at the life that the 21 yr old and her5 kids will have...
Looks sad all round and no easy answers. Didn't see it all so can't say much
Jamelia is a case where she really needed help-very sad. I had no sympathy with the other girl whatsoever-she chose to have 5 kids to 3 different dads and then whinged about being on benefits and expected sympathy. I bet that marriage will last
I dont honestly know what the anwer is, but what does make me cross is the sense of entitlement people seem to have.
I obviously would never advocate children going hungry or suffering, but I do think if people knew they weren't just going to be given money for their children without having to do anything to earn it themselves, then some families would be much smaller.
NiceGuy - I do not think that the benefits system gives people so much money that they are trapped. I think the real problem is that many jobs do not pay a living wage
I couldn't disagree more. The 21yr old yesterday had 5 kids and as a direct result of her choice, the state was paying out £1600 per month and also rent plus whatever other benefits they get.
Even without factoring in their rent, it's the equivalent to a £28k salary. Once you add rent etc they'd need an income of around £35k to break even, let alone be much better off. With 5 kids, one of them will have to be a SAHP so...
Are you saying now that the living wage needs to be around £35k so that this couple can live the lifestyle they've chosen to lead?
Of course not. What we need is a benefit system which discourages further children when you are on benefits. It's a temporary hand out, not a way of life.
I don't agreed with benefits-bashing. I grew up in a household where both my parents claimed benefits & I had free dinners etc. I still hold the opinion though if you can't afford it, you shouldn't have it. I grew up in a household with no luxuries as we couldn't afford then (then again it was the early 80s & any mobile phone couldn't actually fit in a house cos of their collosall size ).
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.
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.
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.
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
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 . 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
I do sometimes wish there was a like button on MN
Jakes post is one of those times
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.
Well said, Jake! Brilliant post.
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.
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.
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 .
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?
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.
Most people who receive benefits are in work. The number of families solely reliant on benefits is small. The number of large families solely reliant on benefits is a small fraction of an already small number.
And where are the jobs for her, or him, in Scunthorpe?
thousands of people are economic migrants, they come from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia ... but they can't ever get off their arses oop north to find work a couple of hundred miles south.
judgemental? you bet.
ODFO Holly The jobs are not available and the options to move are not always available, either.
Have you read any of my posts *Hollyberry"? Chucking money at people is no good without the back up support. Trouble is that the Govt is skint so as a society we need to help folk make changes for their future. What are YOU doing to help?
This is not me "having a go", just pointing out that it is no good being judgemental if you don't want to be part of a solution. Mentoring a young person, helping a family with budgeting, supporting with positive parenting techniques, helping a parent with poor literacy access appropriate classes and perhaps helping them overcome the initial fear of walking into a class by going with them the first time.
Five children at 21 is not a choice, it's a bloody disaster...as I said before, no little girl of 7 makes plans to have that many children. They have ambition at 7, why does it change, when does it change, how can we help teenagers maintain that ambition they had at 7. Largely it's by helping the adults in their lives make a success of their OWN lives so these children have something to ape.
Work is very short here, especially for people with no qualifications, experience etc. there are 100's of applicants for each vacancy.
@chaz. But they are breeding big and spreading this culture.
...so we need to get in there and support these parents t effectively support their children. Most women who were teenage parents do not want the same for their own children.
...and wile we are at it we need to be tackling the boys who may become the absent fathers.
Just watching episode 1. I am scared by the couple who see no wrong in shoplifting as a job. Just shocking. This society have no morales.
I'm watching this now and its sad, so so sad.
Even the 21 year old with 4 children, its sad that she's never aspired to be more. It's sad that she sees the way they live as a good way to live. It's sad that no one has ever made her feel she is worth more,or so it seems to me.
Mind you, he's a bit of a peat tbh. He just said people shouldn't say " ah, theyve got loads of kids on the social, coz I'm not like that. It's not like I'm an immigrant"
Agreed that jamelia's story is tragic. With the right support she could have had her baby with her, and could have been a fantastic mum, who knows
Education (til 19) is free, as is contraception for life.
People make life choices whether to use one, both or neither.
No 'these people' are not going to 'dominate the country'. What a ridiculous statement. More money goes on pensions than job seekers, tax credits, child tax credits and housing benefit put together. Most people claiming benefits are actually working. I bet lots of people on here have had children knowing that they will need tax credits and child benefit to get by so is that ok? So why is it right to expect the government to pay for some children and not others.
There were two girls in my class in school who left school not being able to read or write. One is now dead from a drug overdose and the other had four children by the time she was 19. I was lucky enough to have decent GCSES, a supportive family and bags of confidence when I got pregnant at 17 and have worked hard to get where I am now. But not one single one of my friends who had children in their teens has a good job, if at all and they all are still, in their 30s, living week to week trying to make ends meet.
You have no idea how difficult it is to 'just get a job' when you have no qualifications, no confidence and no idea what to do to make your life better.
I really struggle to understand the acceptance by so many, of people like this girl who has chosen to have had 5 children by the age of 21.
That is not someone who is a victim of circumstance, it is someone who has made a lifestyle choice and is being very nicely funded for having done so.
Am just watching and my heart is literally breaking for jamelia you can tell the girl has a good heart and needs support.
What council would think it was a good idea to leave a vulnerable 16 year old child in a crack den- madness.
@chaz. But they are breeding big and spreading this culture.
*Education (til 19) is free, as is contraception for life.
People make life choices whether to use one, both or neither.*
Just because it is free, it may not be necessarily available to all.
I don't accept having 5 children by 21 as a good thing. But it is no a casual lifestyle choice in my view. I suspect it is a symptom of the wider issues this young woman has in her life. Possibly she is seeking to create a family life she didn't have or perhaps being a mother is her only purpose and status in life. As a pp said its not most little girls' ambition to have 5 children at that age.
You seem to be assuming that their children will have no contribution to make, they could be amazing people, especially with some support.
The could. They probably won't. They just won't have the education required, they won't have the financial backing, they don't have the social knowledge. They have been born into a black hole. They could be very intelligent people, but I don't see how they will be able to fulfil their potential given their background.
That's why the family needs support so the children do have a chance.
I found the programme hugely depressing and feel really angry that these young people are judged for making the choices they've made. That is absolutely not the same as me saying I think they are good choices. But you know what, if I hadn't had a background of parents who worked a d valued academic success, I am convinced I would have ended up similar. It doesn't matter that education and contraception are free. There is a poverty of ambition that makes them feel those things aren't for them. And I had a kind of arrogance, or confidence if I'm being kinder, that I had that when a teacher asked me if I wanted to go to university I remember thinking "what do you mean if? Of course I'm going to university" . It was a kind of entitlement if you like, that that kind of education was mine for the taking. Those young people don't have that. And I, at many times of my life have been quite chaotic and not hard working at all. I deserved my success at those times no more than the "skint" youngsters.
Stop the benefits and the amount of people having children will drop dramatically. Contraception is free to all, more would use it if they knew that if they didnt the consequences were down to them to face alone.
Children born into a life on benefits often go on to claim themselves, they see it as the norm. Teachers can only instal so much into children, if the parens dont set a working example then what do the children have to aspire too.
£1600 in benefits plus rent and CT paid is far more than some couples earn between them, not because wages are so low but because benefits are set far higher than bare minimum needs.
And in the interim between the stopping of the benefits and the end of all accidental or multiple pregnancies, what will happen to the children who are already born, I wonder?
Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.
Jamelia had plenty of confidence- always shouting her mouth off
sugarmouse, the fact she was "shouting her mouth off" in fact shows she HASN'T got confidence. All it shows is that she knows no other way, that is NOT confidence.
In life we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. What are YOU doing to show families and girls like this that there is another way?
I volunteer with families like this in order to help them make small and positive changes. I go into meetings with people who "shout their mouth off" but suggest I go as a note taker and get them to think about what they want to say...this gives them the confidence NOT to "shout their mouth off" and means they are then taken much more seriously when they want to make a point.
I repeat, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Judging is just lazy arsed thinking that benefits nobody, action to hep people change is positive.
Jake- there is an element of choice, who says these families want to be helped? They cannot be forced!!! And the 21 year old said she was happy just having kids on benefits, her bf is a lazy arsehole who just declared that there were no jobs without even looking. Besides, there already is loads of help available from the CAB, sure start centers, charities such as gingerbread, Joseph rowntree to name a few. Jamelia seems let down though, wonder why she hasn't got a social worker? I have always been told that being shy and quiet means you have no confidence, which is it?
I agree that young girls don't dream of having five kids at the age of 21 when they are 7. They might want to be a vet or a nurse or something but I think too much emphasis is being placed on 'their dreams being taken away'.
The reality is being a vet or a nurse is bloody hard work and at 16, girls like this see having large families and being paid more to do so than they'd get to work is just the easy option.
I don't think it's about dreams being shattered, it's about people who think the world owes them a living and people who want the highest reward for the least effort.
Fat, stupid, boring, extremely lazy and covered in sick/ elbow deep in shitty nappies! I'm sure you're equally pleasant and judgemental.
As for shy and quiet and lacking in confidence. That's crap. It can be the case, but equally, loud and over compensatory can be the case.
Oh, and there is also the case of judicious editing to titilate the likes of judgemental Daily Fail readers.
I agree sugarmouse, some DON'T want to be helped but unless it's offered we don't know. We have parents barely out of their teens begging for support and people n their 40's who don't want anything and vice versa.
Until it's offered though you don't know...and who is to say that the "can't be bothered to change" folk will always feel that way. It could simply be that "now" is not the right time. The Mum with five young children might have no emotional resources left to do anything about her situation at the moment but once th children are in school might feel very different.
Yes you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. It's a hell of a good choice to have that water there though when it DOES need to be accessed.
Just handing £1600 a month to a family and not offering them the opportunity to make changes is madness. There needs to be a community who will help this Mum make positive changes as and when she needs it,
So sugarmouse, what can YOU offer for those who WANT to make changes? What COULD you offer to show them there is another way?
That's what we ought to be doing...not judging them on an Internet forum and then going back to our cosy loves.
Jakebullet- I have nothing but admiration for people like you who work to try to help these families.
I think it's a complex issue though, because the moment you mention things like supported living for teenage mums, there's a backlash from people crying 'it's a return to the workhouse. These girls need their own flat/ house to retain some dignity'
I think supported living for young mums (and dads) would be an excellent idea for 2 reasons. Mainly because as jakebullet says, it's not all about throwing money at these people to sort them out. It's about providing role models, enotional support and so on. A young pregnant girl who hasn't had that in her own home is far better off being in a supported environment, perhaps with some communal meals, activities, teaching Etc than stuck in her own flat with plenty of material gadgets but no emotional support. Second reason: in the long term it's more cost effective. I would rather money was spent on more support workers but then saved by not paying out ludicrous sums like £1600 a month PLUS rent and council tax paid. Ridiculous.
And of course we need to remember personal responsibility. Not everyone from an unsupported background gets pregnant at a young age or gets a girl pregnant .
Ps- the thing is , it would take a big cultural shift
I think it's entirely reasonable to say to a young pregnant girl- we can offer you a room in a shared house, it will be communal supported living, there are a lot who would feel it was unfair and that they are entitled to their own home
jake puts it so well! I grew up in an area like this and almost lost my brother to crime and drugs.
Jamelia's story broke my heart - where is the support for her? Why is a minor allowed to live in a crack den with no help? I'd happily see tax funds used to support her to get on her feet and get her daughter back.
The girl with 5 kids ... less sympathy there, sorry - no child should go hungry and the state needs to have a way of making sure children don't suffer from their parents' lack of planning/job/money, but at the same time it enrages me that people are being paid £1600 on top of free rent - who is ever going to work if that lifestyle is available for free?
They spent money on tattoos/wedding dresses etc when they had just been crying because they couldn't feed their kids - they need to be taught how to budget and to save some of that £1600 so that they have a cushion if their benefits get stopped again.
I don't yet have a child partly because I don't feel I could support one/afford childcare/mat leave. We need to educate young people about their responsibilities as parents before they start having 5 kids they can't support.
The 21 year old's mother had made an appointment to take her to the gp and get a coil and had wanted her to go to a different school and hairdressing college and she would support her through it.
Th girl just smirked as if to say, I got what I wanted which was NOT to improve her chances through education and learning a skill but by having babies instead.
IMO that was a clear choice made by her when alternatives were available. Very sad.
I always go back to the 7year old child. Ask a 7 year old child what they want to do when they grow up and I can almost guarantee that not ONE will say "I want lots and lots of children". All 7 year olds have some notion to do "something" even if it's "I want to be a pop star". When do they lose that ambition and see no other way than early parenthood.
By the way I am not for one moment saying all young parents are n the wrong. I have seen very mature 16 year olds who have had a baby but who then make plans for their future. I worry more when by 20 they have had another two children and have no future plans.
The saddest case I can remember was visiting a 21 year old on her 21st birthday who said sadly "I'm 21 and I've got four kids" with eyes brimming. She wanted to be a hairdresser and it took considerable work for her to see that her life was NOT over and that she COULD still be a hairdresser if she wanted and that we could help her realise that ambition. That she could do things still.
Five children at 21 is a disaster but the life of this Mum is not over, she just needs to reach a point where she realises there is a better way for her and her family. Helping those parents reach that point is another issue.
Interestingly my cousin who is a self made millionaire, very successful business, worked hard all his life etc says that "no wonder they have big televisions, they have no other life" . He doesn't begrudge the people on benefits with huge TVs etc, he says it is sad they have had no opportunity to see a different life is available to them. And lets not forget they buy them from BrightHouse with massive interest.
Actually I should not say "five children at 21 is a disaster", those children are not "disasters", they are potential valued members of society if we can show them there is hope out there.
Just handing £1600 a month to a family and not offering them the opportunity to make changes is madness.
Totally agree with this one. All too often we hear people moaning that benefits isn't enough then it's too much. But the reality is that money alone doesn't help families in need.
There has to be a system which helps and at the same time discourages the lifestyle that the 21year old leads. Personally I'd like to see child element of benefits frozen at the time you enter the system. So you have two kids when you go on income support/JSA, fine. You get paid for two kids. But pop out a third, fourth or fifth and you still get paid for two kids.
None of these parents are stupid. They'd have used condoms and the pill if they knew an additional child meant no more money. Or they like the rest of us would have to make do with the money we have. I don't get a payrise when having another child.
But alongside the financial it is crucial we give more support to kids like Jamelia who desperately needs a role model, someone in her life who can help her, cajole her and motivate her into doing something positive in her life. Underneath that gobby exterior, i saw a poor child who didn't know any better.
I agree with niceguy the long term solution to situations like this has to be removing the incentive for them to continue having more children.
There is no way this girl would have had 5 children if her income had not increased in direct proportion to the number of children she had.
This myth that people would stop having babies if they were not given payments is, in many cases, just that, a myth. Many of these women come from families where there has been minimal care. They produce children in an attempt to have 'something to love' and to have unconditional love in return. Something not provided for them.
Oh, and if we're talking about stopping benefits, yes I know it's boring, but those on disability allowances, what about them? Disabled people not allowed to have children?
niceguy You do get a payrise when you have another child. Child benefit.
I agree with everything jake has said.
I also felt desperately sad watching this.
The girl trying to make herself look nice for court
but as a society we in some parts broken the link between a child being something you are responsible for and provide for and replaced it with 'something to love'.
DP works in a school where 10% of the children either have a social worker or are at risk of neglect (come to school unwashed and unfed). some of which are currently being taken into care. which does not happen lightly.
10% of children's parents cannot practically care for them in terms of food and back personal care.
we need to get the idea of someone wanting 'something to love' in proportion with children being hungry and dirty in a wealthy part of the UK where unemployment is very low.
back personal care = basic personal care
Neglect happens in middle and upper class families too faster!
I don't doubt it - but if parents have to work, they have to get up in the morning which helps the whole family
Please remember that some of us are in situations whereby we are unable to work. We still get up in the mornings.
Didn't see it so can t comment too much. However, the fact that the 21 yr old with 5 children is getting £1600 in benfits and coucil tax paid etc really annoys me and I think I would have to turn it off.
From what I've read it seems to me that she made that choice and was not forced into these circumstances, if her mum is offering to help her get a job and stop her having any more babies and she's not bothered.
What really gets me cross though is the fact that I would love to have a big family and would love to have 4 children (currently have one ds) but we cannot afford to so we don't! It is simply not fair that working people cannot afford big families if they want them yet these people are getting more than I earn and have as many children as they fancy because it is paid for. IMO it is completely the wrong way around. I feel so many, but not all the system is the problem. When people are paid more than they would ever get if they went and got a job why would they get one and as others have said especially if they have childcare to pay for 5 children.
dawndonna no one is talking about people who are unable to work, unless the reason they are unable is that they have chosen to have 5 children, which is a lifestyle choice, not a reason not to work.
cleo I second your opinion. I currenty have 2 DC but would love 4. We are saving to have 3, but Rhys all we'l ever be able to afford we get nothing. No tax credits etc. We do get child benefit. I work full time and it makes me sick that she is getting everything for free when I spend 11 hours a day working to be able to provide for the children I have and any future children I want.
I really do not blame those who disengage under capitalism.
I think Englishgirl wrote a great post above.
When I was at school hardly any kids in my class had white-collar working parents. But most of them lived in nice (if modest) houses, had 3 meals a day, alright clothes, maybe a caravan holiday once a year, and the family had pride. Their dads worked, were home for tea by 5.30 or 6 at the latest, and their work kept the family (with maybe the odd shift of shop work or bar work by the mothers, sometimes). Boys who mucked around at school might have been (unspokenly) written off academically, but no one really worried about them because there were huge swathes of functional society that didn't give a shit about school.
There was poverty too where people were out of work, but often the dads found jobs again. Some of the kids in my class were in and out of foster homes and children's homes. but these were the exception and we felt sorry for them. (sorry to be patronising)
Anyway I think we are in a world where it is harder and harder to make a life for yourself if you are not exceptional. An average house in London costs half a million. Surely you must be exceptional to afford that. I think it is exceptional nowadays to have a job where you can keep a family in a 3 bedroom house (single handedly), come home and eat at 5.30, not touch a stroke of work all weekend (maybe take the kids to football or do the garden or visit your aged mum and do hers), and I can't think how on god's earth you could do this without a degree.
It's just too hard and I don't blame those who give up.
I have been part of a very small trial where we give young mums vouchers, not cash. So we effectively budget for them. They get NO cash but have enough to feed, clothe & house themselves. After a lot of moaning some of them are starting to thrive - because one of the vouchers is for education with childcare & if you complete this you get another voucher for clothes. The local college has agreed to accept the girls on courses and they are doing hairdressing, mechanics and public services. It has been tough going as the girls know their rights and expected to be able to spend their benefits on what they wanted. We explained that it wasn't their money, but the tax payers, so they would only have the right to spend as they pleased once they were 'earning' the cash.
Not in the UK I hasten to add, but I think it could work here. Has stopped booze and drugs and has, more importantly, raised self esteem and aspirations. Early days yet, but I will keep you posted !!
Interesting question of what difference causes some people to aspire to more than their parents, and others to feel trapped by their parents lifestyle.
I know someone who's parents/grandparents never worked. Middle kid of 3. Other siblings very much followed the parents lifestyle and are now non-working parents of largish families themselves while the middle kid wanted so much more for herself and frankly expresses disgust at her siblings / parents lifestyle. She has worked from 16 to get enough money together to have her kids provided for and is now retraining as a midwife.
How can we give the spark of ambition to those that lost it? Or how can we prevent them losing it in the first place?
mums That sounds really promising!
Just watched on 4od. I felt really sorry for the young mum in crack house. It did say at the end that she had been housed and showed a much better flat ( to herself), so maybe that will help her get her daughter back.
The family with 5 kids and parents under 21 did seem lazy. Ty had their own tattoo equipment etc, so I'm sure if they worked for it they could start own business maybe. 5 young children yet all they did was watch tv, never interacting with the babies.
We both work long Hours to afford our standard 2 children and 2 adult household. To have more children wouldn't be feasible hence we don't have more
Also I know everyone can't, but both myself and dh grew up in shit parts of the uk. Both moved to London for work/ life, knowing no one and leaving family behind ( hadn't met dh yet). It is possible to better yourselves but you have to sacrifice other things. Our parents/ siblings are now benefiting from what we did first.
I agree forever, they seemed be to blaming everyone for their situation, but not taking any responsibility. When the mum said she tookher to the DR for a coil, she acted like a 12 year od school girl not a mature adult. Te seemed to have money fr other things, like smoking, and expensive gadgets but not to feed and clothe their children. It's mre than money, bu a cycle of dependency. If tey have non working parents they are more likely to be not working themselves. There seems to be a lack of work ethic. In my dads age (he would be 88), it would be shameful not to work and tere would be a stigma attached to it
Payraises for additional children - yes, you do get a pay rise for additional children: child benefit and possibly child tax credits. It's not just people who are out of work who can claim benefits - people who earn below certain thresholds are eligible for benefits too.
I truly hate this programme because it adds weight to so many myths it's ridiculous. If I didn't know anything about the benefits system etc and only from what I saw on this programme I'd think that most single mothers have at least 2 children and started having children in their teens....which actually isn't the case.
Sorry about the typos 1 finger typing on the I pad
Why can't there be a kind of half-way house for people like Jamelia or the other young mum? So, if you're pregnant and a teenager, with no educational or vocational prospects, and you want the financial support of the government, you go to some form of specialised accommodation, where you can live with your baby, with access to education, healthcare, help to budget, help to manage your own affairs.
So, for example, Jamelia could have moved into such a place when pregnant and her 'side' of the bargain could have been to stop smoking/doing drugs etc and go regularly to classes, with the knowledge that if she did stay on the straight and narrow and make an effort to improve things, she'd be able to look after her baby, rather than have it taken into care. Then, once the baby was born, she could have been helped to breastfeed, look after it, as well as how to manage on a day to day basis. She'd be given access to contraception and part of the deal would be that she regularly stayed on contraception and didn't have more children until she was in a position to be able to independently support them. Then, as the baby got older, she could have been given some kind of childcare whilst she continued getting qualifications. With the end result, that after maybe a few years, she could have left the halfway house, moved into independent living with her child, with a job and a future. If she didn't comply with the programme, then she would have the baby taken from her.
So, a carrot and stick approach if you will. The idea could work too with the father moving in and learning and abiding by the rules.
I'm sure people will argue that it's patronising and that why should only certain classes of parents be forced to live like that etc, but frankly, it's a win-win in terms of breaking the cycle of poverty and lack of ambition. It would be economical in the long-term too, although labour-and-money intensive in the early stages.
It may be argued that forcing certain young people/families to live a certain way is paternalistic, but it would work. People wouldn't end up with 5 children at 21, no job prospects and living in poverty.
It's an inside job!
None of the external stuff will really make a difference...
Some estates did try the approach freckled suggests, and have been very successful- with healthy eating, exercise, craft initiatives but it does cost millions, and ultimately needs to self sustain after a while...
What I noticed from the programme ( watched 20 mins of first program )
Was that they were full of fear and pride...can't be wrong, admit they need help, have made a mistake, seek or accept help...
I doubt these people want to mess their children up but this is all they know...they have no other 'tools' to draw on.
My concerns re Jamelia is that she gets full tenancy support. The flat was lovely, but if she doesn't budget correctly, doesn't put her rent payments as a priority, and doesn't realise what anti social behaviour is and it's implications (including visitors) she could mess up her housing for the rest of her life. She needs a mentor to work with her. I know Scunthorpe has a 1st tenancy support scheme on how to run a home (or at least it did) - learning about basic skills that if you never had/were taught them at home, you wouldn't understand/realise about them (and we're talking v basic ie ironing and be given an iron at the end of the lesson, not just budgeting). I hope she gets this kind of support to ensure a successful future for her
Did you not read my post?
What about the help ALREADY AVAILABLE from Sure Start centres, Gingerbread, Joseph Rowntree, the CAB and endless other organisations???
There is already loads of help, they clearly don't want it!
Sometimes you have to take people by the hand and show them. Or is that too much like an effort?
I doubt this girl thinks from one moment to the next and certainly doesn't have the wherewithal to access support services. If she DID then one assumes she would not have five children at 21. So it needs pointing out to her if she is in the right frame of mind to accept support (and with five young children I doubt that she is in the right frame of mind at this time) but ONE day she may well want the help...much easier if it's out there and someone can help her access it.
I ask again ...what are YOU doing to support the vulnerable people in your community? How are YOU showing them that there is a different way? Even 30 mins spent helping someone write a CV is positive and takes up very little time. Give someone the benefit of your education (and unless you were sent to a private school you got that free) and HELP the,. We are overrun with referrals from people who WANT help with all sorts of things. I can bet your own area will be the same.
Or are you just up for judging in a "I can't be bothered with them" way? If so then you are part of the problem which is sad.
......and by the way, I answered your post about help this morning. Did YOU read anything I wrote? Answer MY question...what are YOU doing to help people who WANT to make changes achieve their goals?
Sugarmouse I wish lived in your perfect world where help is so easy to come by.
Many sure start centers have been closed/facilities reduced.
Gingerbread. Other than reading a bit on their website I don't know.
Joseph Rowntree, what is this? I've never heard of it.
Cab, practically impossible to get an appointment here!
I'm a single mum, on benefits, who's had ss on the periphery of my family in the past, yet I've still not been offered help from anywhere like this.
Luckily for me, I've got the drive, ambition and family support to have gone to college. I hope to go to uni in the future. The people on the programme don't seem to have that, and I find that so sad.
The problem is they're all lumped as official agencies Sugarmouse - along with Social Services, and as Jamelia put it - 'They're known as the baby snatchers....' Outside agencies are exactly that - outside of a community already suspicious of motives. When I went to the local Surestart group, most of the people that went were outside of the area (which was adjacent to that estate). The mum of 5 believed that it was the registrars that had caused her issues - they'd reported here and was an 'outside' group of government officials. She had never thought to write down the time and date that she'd rung the tax credits agency that she was adamant she'd contacted
It's not even about being in a perfect world, it's about recognising that we ALL have a part to play in helping make changes for those who want to do so.
I recognise that I am very fortunate, I am ON benefits (go choke on yer coffee sugarmouse) but I have benefitted enormously from a good education, support with a disabled child and good family. In return I can spare a morning a week to support another family...who may or may not be on benefits. In fact I have enjoyed this voluntary work so much I will continue with it when I go back to work next month, I will fit it in somehow as I am encouraged by the small successes I have had....and I get a kick from seeing someone who was struggling make positive changes.
We could ALL make a difference. It's too easy and too lazy to just say "they don't want help" because I can tell you for a fact that "they" do want help and "they" do access it. Or the school/nursery accesses it for them.
Sorry, but sometimes people just need to help themselves!
And for those unwilling to, there isn't a lot anyone can do.
As for Hayley being unable/unwilling to access any help, well she found it easy enough to go to the charity food bank and access/accept help! So those of us who donate have 'helped' in some way. She was even happy to be filmed going there and then seemed all smug about everything she had got.
I have just looked on Scunthorpe council's website- and they do still have loads of surestart centres with lots of different activities
I think to say they ALL want help is as unhelpful as slating them all as no hopers.
The reality is- you get people with and people without basic integrity at all levels of society. While I'm sure some of these young parents are really receptive to support and just need the real life hand of someone like jakebullet to guide them, there are others who have no intention of taking responsibility for their life. They milk the system shamelessly. Anyone on £1600 PLUS rent paid, who can buy all manner of gadgets and smokes, but then complains that they can't afford to feed the kids properly is taking the piss and its insulting to everyone who raises a family on far less.
I'm all for supporting those in need who are wanting to improve their life. But it's not helpful to suggest that everyone in this situation wants to change things.
Just read all these posts and I'm with Sugarmouse on this one. Jake, the reality is a lot of us don't have time to volunteer because we're working usually full time. Moreover I can't just walk onto an estate and hunt down people who want their CV written.
LOADS of initiatives target these communities. I've worked on and seen a range of projects from art to education initiatives. And there is always a big problem with take up due to apathy. People aren't interested in participating.
I grew up in a working class town and there were loads of kids who dropped out of school and went down a path of limited work or benefits. It was not always due to their family situation or lack of support. Sometimes ambition is limited and people don't want to take the risks or make the commitment necessary to change their situation. All the hand holding, cajoling, kind whispers and support won't change that.
....and nobody is asking you to do that, but to just assume people don't want help is lazy arsed judgemental thinking. I manage a morning a week despite having a disabled child and will continue to do so when I go back to work next month. I dont believe any family I support is beyond help, some might make more progress than others but plenty of parents are accessing our service. The CV writing is just one thing and is done with a meeting at the library....no estate visiting.
Yes Hayley managed to deal with her immediate problem but it does not deal with any underlying problems. She might NEVER seek help but plenty of people in similar positions DO seek support. All I am saying is that people can play a part in helping rather than judging and saying "they don't want help".
Or we could just continue paying out £1600 a month plus rent and ignore her....or judge her, or suggest she is sent off to beg for a "reality check".
....and I have acknowledged repeatedly that some people don't want to change...or are not at a point in their lives to accept it.
You can take a horse to water and all that.....but at least the water is there when the horse does want it.
I am not going to save the world or the country but I am going to continue helping families like this make small changes which will improve their lives and that of their children.
Sadly, many people have to hit rock bottom before they will seek/accept help.
Ask anyone with experience of addiction- many druggies/alcoholics won't want to change until they are living on the streets/lost family/no money/no anything
What I do think Hayley really needs is a reality check.
Surestart - closed across the area I lived in when I was dependant on benefits.
CAB - almost impossible to get an appointment/get through on the phone
Gingerbread - didn't find them much help apart from general information on their website
I turned to everyone I could find - and all the support I found in the main was help getting into emergency housing (hellishly expensive) and help claiming benefits. Help to get qualifications to help me not be dependant on benefits? Nope. Nothing. At all. Help to help me gain meaningful skills? Nope. Nothing. There was an initiative to train as a teaching assistant and I did it - it helped with my self esteem - but at the end of the day, how does one live on approximately 15,000 a year pro rata (equating to 11kish)? I was still dependant on benefits to top up my earnings.
Don't get me started with childcare when you're on a minimum wage, yes, in certain circumstances you can claim up to 70% of what you're paying, but try finding cheap yet decent childcare in the summer holidays and at weekends etc....when you're depending on benefit top ups to get by 30% childcare bill soon eats away at things like groceries.
Having gone through the process it became clear to me that there is no real framework to help people help themselves...it's merely a game of shuffling people about to make the figures look good. The people at the job centre did their best, but at the end of the day it was all about any job will do and it doesn't' matter if you still have to rely on handouts, at least the government can say that unemployment rates have gone down
I personally think she should have had the twins taken off her if she is unwilling to change/engage
She should be given a time limit to sort out some long-term contraception, take some money-managing classes, make a plan for the future and steps to find a job for when the children are in school
They could also both do some voluntary work, but oh no, they cba.
I don't get why Hayley has been allowed to keep all her kids with no support etc, but Jamelia's has been taken away??
She didn't really seem any worse than them and Hayley must have been Jamelia's age when she had her first!
I think you'll find there are loads of initiatives and support agencies but it sounds like people want something that isn't 'official' as well. Mind boggles at level of hand holding and providing services on platter that seems to be required.
Many wont need that hand holding but some will. ....and as sugarmouse says, sometimes people have to reach rock bottom before they have that "wake up" moment.
Gosh, did I just agree with sugarmouse?
I think we're all in agreement that individuals have differing levels of motivation, integrity etc
Thing is, systems need to be consistent and equitable. It's not right to throw lots of money or resources at one family until they feel 'ready' to respond, while other families are expected to step up and meet the support half way.
The real world doesn't wait for people to be 'ready '... You can't get a job and then just show up when you feel in 'the right place' to do it. Most people have to do things every day which are difficult and which they'd prefer not to do
I also think that while support is vitally important, it's equally true that in many cases setting the expectations higher and not treating people as if they are incapable of helping themselves, can be the spur for them to want to improve their life
The state hand holding is required for those people who don't have family hand holding/shoving/dragging in the right direction.
Ifonly I would love to imagine that magical world where every successful functioning adult has been brought up in a warm supportive family that breeds ambition and provides support for choices. That must be the case otherwise they wouldn't be functioning, correct!
It just isn't like that and the reason people get tired of this kind of black and white assumption about the life of some but not others. Total Social Worker-speak.
Not necessarily warm and functional actually-could quite as easily be hugely judgemental of anyone who is not "successful". I know plenty of those. My family is a combination of intolerance of unemployment and support to get a job. And in amongst all that, plenty of miscellaneous dysfunction.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.