Advanced search

To agree that 'The UK had been labelled the worst country in the west for a child to grow up in.'

(60 Posts)
Buddhagirl Wed 10-Apr-13 13:17:08

"The UK had been labelled the worst country in the west for a child to grow up in. Politicians, church leaders and charities complained that a generation was being failed.

The evidence for this gloomy prognosis was a Unicef report on child well-being in rich countries.

The UK emerged an ignominious 21st out of 21 developed nations and Time magazine ran a front cover suggesting British children were "unhappy, unloved and out of control".

Now we have the much anticipated update and similar voices are out in force to make the same point.

Education Minister David Laws says the report "lays bare Labour's failures on education and child well-being".

I work in mental health and see this so much. "My mother never showed me love", "My parents never taught me how to cope" Obviously I will see people from a select section of society who suffer so not a good sample to base an opinion on and obviously there are a lot of good parents out there.

Do you agree with this article? If so why do you think the UK has been ranked 21 out of 21?

DorcasDelIcatessen Wed 10-Apr-13 13:20:14


FlowersBlown Wed 10-Apr-13 13:23:14

We are such a divided country. Children from well off backgrounds do just fine. But we have so many children being raised in poverty, with all the stress and tension that go with that - unsecured and poor quality housing, moving frequently both home and school, living in areas with many social problems. Not enough is done to help people and it becomes a vicious circle.

iwantavuvezela Wed 10-Apr-13 13:23:26

I thought that was the previous study, and the new one show UK overall around number 11. Interestingly in the new study uSA in bottom four. However the new study does not reflect the impact of cuts.

LessMissAbs Wed 10-Apr-13 13:23:54

Has it really? Not surprising, I guess. Its about time this was recognised so that something can be done about it, instead of political rhetoric telling us all is wonderful.

WorriedMummy73 Wed 10-Apr-13 13:24:30

Waits for all the 'there is no poverty, only neglect' bashers to jump on board...

HollyBerryBush Wed 10-Apr-13 13:25:39

Todays article

The charity ranks the UK 16th out of 29 developed countries, up from 21st - and last - place in a 2007 table.

manicinsomniac Wed 10-Apr-13 13:26:29

first world problems really though, aren't they. 'My parents never taught me how to cope?!' Wow.

I know we're talking about rich countries here but I can't see how we could bottom, even so.

Children have it pretty good in the UK, imo. Not all, obviously. But most.

ChunkyPickle Wed 10-Apr-13 13:28:39


I don't have time right now to read the whole report, but I just looked at the summary chart, and compared the only 2 countries I have significant experience of (and one I know a little about) UK, Spain, and a bit of Ireland and I find the Spanish results mystifyingly good compared to my experience.

I think that it's very hard to compare children in two areas of one country (think of my rural upbringing vs. my cousins city one), so to come up with one number for the health and happiness of children in a country seems almost meaningless to me.

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 10-Apr-13 13:31:20

Well thats alright then. Aslong as some kids have it good the rest should just get over it. hmm

The point is that we are a developed country. A democracy. A civilised society. And yet a substantial number of kids here are growing up in terrible situations.

WestieMamma Wed 10-Apr-13 13:32:51

Having grown up in the UK, which always comes out near the bottom of these type of rankings, and now living in Sweden, which always comes out near the top, I'd say it's because the UK as whole (not on an individual level) doesn't value it's children enough.

Parents are worked to the bone just to keep a roof over their heads and can't give their children the time they'd like to because they're knackered. They're also stressed, trying to juggle childcare, school, holidays, work, and god help them if their child is poorly. I've been there, sending my daughter off to grandparents when she's sick because I have to work.

In Sweden a parent would never be expected to put work before their child. Parents get statutory sick pay to look after a sick child. Good quality, heavily subsided childcare is available to everyone and well within their means. All children get free school meals. All children get a free education (including university).

It also feels here that children are still allowed to be children. Small communities where everyone knows their neighbours and watches out for each other and children still get to play outside and ride their bikes and be part of something.

ChunkyPickle Wed 10-Apr-13 13:41:43

wannabe - that's not what I said, what I mean is that this doesn't really tell you anything, it's like the myth that people only lived to an average age of 35 in the middle ages - not true, it's just that lots of children died young which makes the average a meaningless number that tells you nothing useful.

We a are a democracy, a civilised country, where children have access to medical and dental care, and education for free. Yes, some children have trouble accessing it and we need to work on that, but there are countries on that list that can't even meet those standards.

Brits are very into bashing themselves up about how awful we are but so many people haven't lived in countries where they can't afford to take their kids to the dentist, or where going to school means spending a fortune in supplies, or where even if the doctor is free, perhaps you can't afford the medicine, or you family has to provide all your care whilst you're in hospital.

hairtearing Wed 10-Apr-13 14:06:27

I actually struggle to see how the Uk comes bottom when compared to countries with abject poverty,open child prostitution, child marriage, war torn countries, child labour.

dreamingbohemian Wed 10-Apr-13 14:14:31

That's very true Chunky, it's important to be grateful for what you have. But sometimes I think people in the UK can be a bit too complacent about things as well, almost fatalistic about things that aren't going well, as if there's not much to be done about it. And in that sense, I think it's good to look at other countries that have similar resources/issues but manage to do a lot better.

I think Westie makes a great point that it's also about the overall stress level of the parents, not just the things that directly affect children. We left London 2 years ago and where we live now in France it's actually possible to have a family and a good quality of life on one modest salary only (cheap rent, heavily subsidised childcare). Tenants rights are very strong so even as renters we have a lot of stability. It makes such a huge difference.

Making life easier for parents is probably the biggest way to help children, I think.

MsBella Wed 10-Apr-13 14:22:45

Well there is child poverty in the UK, I'm pretty surprised this is considered the worst developed country for a child... I just can't help thinking it should maybe be America what with all the stuff that goes on there, their welfare system is a load of shit, there are guns, not really an nhs type system, I could go on...

expatinscotland Wed 10-Apr-13 14:23:48

Interesting post, wannabedomestic.

hairtearing Wed 10-Apr-13 14:25:58

Good point bella, I forgot about america their health system is disgraceful.

expatinscotland Wed 10-Apr-13 14:26:10

Sorry, Westie.

Backtobedlam Wed 10-Apr-13 15:23:55

I've skim read some of the report as on my phone and not easy to read for too long. However, in the context of developed countries, I would agree that the UK children don't have it as good as some of their peers in Europe. The starting school age, for example, is higher in the UK and I think our children miss out on a lot of the family experiences because if this. They don't get to run around, play games or freely socialise with other children for very long at all before they are pushed into full time education.

For those in very deprived areas early education and preschool places is certainly beneficial, but our education system has changed the way all children's upbringing is viewed in society. We live in a fairly affluent area, but from the age of 2 I have been frequently asked when dc's will be in nursery, and made to feel that they are somehow missing out if they are not in some sort of formal establishment. At the same age, and older their European counterparts are playing, going to the park, learning to run, hit a ball and other skills that set them up physically and socially for a happier life.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 10-Apr-13 15:25:35

Too many people failing to recognise that they wouldn't be good parents and having children...

HumphreyCobbler Wed 10-Apr-13 15:28:15

That was the last study, as someone above said. The new one puts us at number 11 and we have moved up more than any other country.

So things are improving - childhood obesity levels was one example I remembered. We are still the worst for NEETS though.

mummytime Wed 10-Apr-13 15:58:09

YABU because as people have said you are quoting the last study, which was widely debated at the time. We have improved a lot in the latest one.

kim147 Wed 10-Apr-13 16:14:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 10-Apr-13 16:16:47

It is interesting kim147. We were at the bottom of the table when Labour were in power with all the associated spending. I am deeply suspicious of these kinds of surveys tbh, although I don't exactly speak with any knowledge base here blush

kim147 Wed 10-Apr-13 16:18:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

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

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: