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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?

BumbleBee2011 Wed 10-Apr-13 16:28:44

YANBU, I think bullying and media pressure is robbing a lot of kids of their childhoods nowadays - and that affects kids from all backgrounds.

5madthings Wed 10-Apr-13 16:33:05

Yabu as that study is the old one, the new one puts us 16th? Out if 29 countries.

Yanbu yo think we need to improve things.

hairtearing Wed 10-Apr-13 19:00:05

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

That argument doesn't work, back in day more people had more children so its just maths that there were more bad parents back then than now.

lljkk Wed 10-Apr-13 19:04:00

So like the British to take this to heart & get filled with angst.

TidyDancer Wed 10-Apr-13 19:05:31

Having lived in both Germany and the US for periods, I can say I'd rather raise my children in the UK than either of those.

I am surprised at any study that ranks the UK last and would question the validity of it.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 10-Apr-13 19:08:45

That report's from 2007. We get a mid table result this time.

Toadinthehole Thu 11-Apr-13 07:01:50

I grew up in the UK but now live in NZ (which doesn't tend to come out terribly well in these surveys, but tends to do better than the UK) and the main differences I notice are these:

1. Adults in NZ are less likely to treat younger children as breakable objects and older children as caged beasts.

2. Children in NZ are less likely to treat adults as prison warders. They are less likely to assume that the world is out to get them.

3. In short, children and adults are less likely to treat each other as aliens from another planet.

4. Services relating to children (be they provided by government of private business) aren't so heavily regulated and tend to involve more common-sense. Schools particularly operate with far more autonomy than in the UK.

cory Thu 11-Apr-13 07:59:02

These surveys are pretty depressing to read but difficult to interpret. I am not immediately convinced that my dc have a worse quality of life than their Swedish cousins.

MaryRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 08:30:24

I think British children do have it really hard. I've lived in Ireland and in a top three country and it is definitely harder for kids in the UK.
Even when I read Mumsnet, the prevalence and depth of problems even in average family seems very tough to me. I can imagine children so grow up feeling unloved and Not Good Enough because of the emphasis on always doing well/ having good friends/having perfect table manners/always being polite .... Not much time to just be

cory Thu 11-Apr-13 08:55:05

Do you really think the children of most mumsnetters are unloved, Mary? And do you think you could get an accurate idea of this from a forum where people come to vent their frustrations?

I am somebody who comes on here a lot to vent because dd has emotional health problems- inherited from her Swedish grandmother who inherited them from my equally Swedish grandfather.

I remember my childhood in Sweden well enough to realise that dd would have been no different if we had lived there: it didn't cure my mother. The only difference was, we were never allowed to speak openly of mum's problems because the prevalent discourse was of Happy Families (and I shouldn't be surprised if that doesn't account for some difference in the filling in of surveys).

Then again, dd is getting treatment, whilst mum was left to struggle on without help. I remember how difficult her bad years were for her. But if she had filled in a survey it would have been about the wonderful quality of her life, because that was the way she had been taught to think. I am sure my life is much easier in reality because I can come on here and scream when things are crap.

littlemslazybones Thu 11-Apr-13 09:24:15

I find it odd how those places where people believe children have charmed lives are those same places where the rate of teen suicide is very high, in particular New Zealand and Sweden. Although I'm not sure what that means, if it means anything, just that I find it odd.

2rebecca Thu 11-Apr-13 09:35:35

My kids are loved, well fed and housed and educated and have a wide range of interests. Their friends usually seem cheerful. A German exchange student thought the kids he met were friendly and had more freedom than many in Germany.
I'm not sure these lists of which country does best really tell you anything unless they are looking at objective measures like GDP. We still turn out more creative thinkers than most other countries.
My kids will be deprived in their relationships by the statistics in this report though because they class any child in a step family of living with just 1 parent as having poor relationships.

KobayashiMaru Thu 11-Apr-13 09:43:28

I think its more that people in the UK are miserable moaners that can't see how good most of them have it. I don't know any other country that complains so much about everything.

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 09:46:03

I find this very hard to accept. I appreciate that sweden for example has many better things, sick days for parents to crae for sick children.

But that the UK is so low down. No. Sorry. TRIPE.
My parenting leaves alot to be desired sometimes, but my kids are loved and well cared for. This morning I had both of them in our bed for a cuddle and now they are sat downstairs watching tv.

ATJabberwocky Thu 11-Apr-13 09:46:46

Completely agree with manicinsomniac, It's first world problems.

MaryRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 11:33:10

I think there is a massive difference between "I love my child" and "I feel loved by my Parents". They aren't the same thing at all, and I think that was the point OP made.

MaryRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 11:34:24

Sorry, meant to add that I do find the comments about rates of teen suicide and national Happy-think interesting.

EuroShaggleton Thu 11-Apr-13 11:38:35

Of course it's first world problems - by definition. The survey is focussed on developed countries.

Chockyeggpants Thu 11-Apr-13 13:23:01

1. Yes there is poverty in the UK.
2. There is a lot of neglect going on, not just in the stereotypical poor or working class household, but in more affluent households too. How many well off parents like to give the child designer goods, gadgets etc instead of spending time together doing things and listening to their child?

Chockyeggpants Thu 11-Apr-13 13:25:25

Also many UK children are under a lot of stress, I'm thinking of children caring for their sick or disabled parents for example.
Also children with drug addict or alcoholic parents.

Koyangwuti Thu 11-Apr-13 13:33:28

I've lived in a few countries in this world and while the UK is not what I believe to be the best place to grow up, I do believe it is a great place to grow up.

I think these kind of studies tend to come from people with an agenda and they are going to display the results the people commissioning the study want or the study would not be done in the first place. My children are very happy children who feel real gratitude for where they live and what they have. I think we as parents have far more control over whether our children grow up well or not than the country in which they happen to live. Wherever life may take me, I'm going to help my children be happy, have fun, and have a positive outlook.

givemeaclue Thu 11-Apr-13 13:40:52

Yabu, they are previous figures

FreudiansSlipper Thu 11-Apr-13 13:59:31

a few years ago I was thinking of moving to the states. my family live in California. in some ways it is a lovely life but if you fall on hard times it is not at all the difference in the education and health care you get is staggering and the quality of life you can have very much depends on where you live. my nieces have in some ways things better than ds but less freedom to go anywhere alone until they are adults and can drive that really is a downside

I would imagine parents of young adults living in spain and Greece are vey worried about their childrens future too

we have to improve and wish would look to countries like Sweden regarding childcare and the need for community. the poor areas around paris and marseille are really depressing places to bring up children

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 14:08:38

"the UK has moved up from 16th to 11th place, one of the biggest increases among rich countries, with more than 85% of British children saying they have a high level of overall life satisfaction."
So, 85% of those surveyed, said they were happy.
So thats good.
And who are these kids that have took part in the survey?

TumbleWeeds Thu 11-Apr-13 14:14:37

hmm at people thinking that these stats means that their * personal* parenting isn't good enough...

What they mean is that the whole society is failing children. It's the way we parent children, the way all adults relate to children, school, expectations etc... All that impact on the well-being of children and therefore on the level of teenage pregnancy, the age teenagers have sex first time, levels of depression amongst children etc etc
These are what these stats are based on and clearly the Uk isn't doing well.

We can't just look at what we personally do or what is happening in poor areas (such as Marseille or London etc... Inner cities are always depressing)

When I listen to my 10yo, he tells me that other children are judging each other based on how many electronic toys they have, whether they do 'unusual' things (which is BAD). If you don't have a Wii then you, as a person, isn't good enough (Nothing to do with your parents not having the money or being very strict...). If you like unusual stuff (like mushromms) you stand out and you are a freak.
There is such a pressure on young people to have all the right STUFF (all material things) and very little aspiration for the future (what do you want to do? A footballer... And what about being a doctor, a plumber, visit the world, change the world and make it a better place, become a nurse or an artist???).

I am guessing that we were evaluating the UK on the level of happiness, we would also do quite badly actually.

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