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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?

flaminghoopsaloohlah Thu 11-Apr-13 14:21:24

I'd much rather my kids grow up here than the USA - at the rate the government is going the whole country is going to be ruled by religious dictatorship. Things may seem bad here...but there are a lot of plusses too.

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 15:55:37

Tumble, I wasn't takign it to be a personal attack on my parenting.
And what you are talkign about, being normal, having the latest things, they were the same in the 80's as they are now. And thta doesn't happen in sweden and the like. Bet it does.
But I do believe children are listened to and cherished. Teenage pregnancies. well we've always had alot of those.
And I wonder what exactly they want the UK to do to catch up with the rest. Has it been spelled out to us?

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 15:58:59

"I am guessing that we were evaluating the UK on the level of happiness, we would also do quite badly actually."
Yet many of us on MN have roofs over our heads and not THAT much to worry about. We are well, well fed, children go to school, have presents bought for them. Want for not that much. yet we do nothing but complain ( I am THE worst at this wink) Comparitively. Like in the UK is THAT dredful is it?
Apparently not to 85% of the children they interviewed. I think that's pretty good.

Mitchy1nge Thu 11-Apr-13 16:08:49

hm very interesting

yesterday my youngest daughter (13) asked me 'why don't english people like children much?' (we are on holiday where about three out of every ten passers by makes a huge fuss of my grandson) she's noticed especially the difference in restaurants, shops, public transport etc. I think the 'seen and not heard' thing is still making itself felt today but I didn't know what else to tell her.

MyDarlingClementine Thu 11-Apr-13 19:26:29

westiemama Sweden sounds idyllic must be downsides somewhere.

MyDarlingClementine Thu 11-Apr-13 19:29:33

Personally I don't feel much warmth towards DC here. I notice the difference as soon as I go abroad, so much sheer warmth directed at my DC, Italy/Spain/Morocco....

A DC cries here and you can feel people stiffen and give side looks - a Dc is long will it last.

A Dc cries abroad and someone will smile, try to distract, tuck under the chin, have a chat about it!

Toadinthehole Thu 11-Apr-13 19:32:58


I've noticed that too when I've been back visiting the UK from NZ. People down here don't make a huge fuss of children, but they are normally nicer to them, treating them like young adults in a phlegmatic, slightly avuncular sort of way.

NZ doesn't do well on these surveys - it has a dreadful problem with domestic abuse, children are more likely to be injured and killed in accidents, and (as someone noted above) a high teen suicide rate, but it does tend to finish above the UK on average. My observation is that NZers are quite robust in their parenting and in the way they handle children generally, they back themselve to know what is right for their child, and don't worry too much about whether they might get something wrong.

Another thing which I learned with some embarassment is that it is true that people in the UK (and I mean the whole of the UK, not just England) tend to moan a bit, and assume the odds are against them. This is true for children too, and I'm sure negatively affects their sense of wellbeing.

Toadinthehole Thu 11-Apr-13 19:35:14

Oh, and in NZ it is quite acceptable for a girl to be tomboy. On the other hand, I think studious boys don't have a great time, either in access to culture or the way they are percieved.

SqueakyCleanNameChange Thu 11-Apr-13 19:42:23

So, OP. when we were bottom of the table, you thought that said something very important and true about how dreadful life was for children in the UK, that we should all take very seriously.

Now we're comfortably in the top half of the table for Western nations, (without even considering the countries where death, disease, malnutrition, illiteracy and war are widespread risks) and by far the most improved, do you think that says something important about how great life is for our children?

Toadinthehole Thu 11-Apr-13 19:58:41

The point of these surveys, as I understand them, is to identify ares where countries might make some improvements. It is rather asinine to shrug and say "it's all so great compared to Somalia, so let's do nothing".

My recollection is that the UK remains closer to the bottom than the top of most of these child-wellbeing lists, even if it has moved up them a bit (probably because comparable countries have been affected by the GFC).

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