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To think if you're skint, it affects your children's outcomes in life

(135 Posts)
racetogether Thu 22-Aug-19 15:17:24

We have always been skint. We don't particularly have a good quality of life- very small house, needs alot of work, no Garden, . My kids have never been away on a holiday, they don't have bikes- we can't afford it. We can't afford trips out even it it's free as we need take into account cost of petrol so they are few and far between. Things like going to zoos etc is out of the question. They've been wanting to join a football club for several years but at £40/m there's no chance.

I feel sad for my kids. They don't have the same opportunities as I would have liked to have given them. I have mental health issues and suffer from depression on and off and this also I find affects the way I parent.

I feel I'm really letting my kids down.

Ok the other hand, their friends holiday regular ansn

juggler82 Sat 28-Sep-19 20:57:15

We were skint growing up - bankruptcy, lost childhood home, sold our toys at car boots level skint. However, the four of us (yes four, how dare my parents..) are successful and mostly happy. Our childhoods have certainly had an effect on us, but because my parents valued education we’ve done ok despite it. I still hate car boot sales though!

HeyThereDelilah1 Sat 28-Sep-19 20:45:42

@0pheIiaBaIIs your daughter sounds amazing, congrats to you all.

0pheIiaBaIIs Sat 24-Aug-19 12:23:43

Despite DH working full time we didn't have much money when DD was younger. I can't work due to disability.

We've never been on a 'proper' family holiday but we used to save and spend a few days away a year on a UK city break - we stayed in Travelodges and had 'bed picnics' some nights which was far cheaper than eating out, and DD loved the novelty value. Lots of visits to museums, beaches, galleries, country walks etc.

We couldn't afford a computer, much less the internet, at home when DD was younger. It was awful because all her homework was set online and she had to walk to the library in all weathers after school to do it. Sometimes there were no computers available and she would get into trouble for not doing her homework. We have no friends or family so she was unable to go to anyone's house to do it - she had no friends herself and was bullied, in part for being one of the 'poor' kids. A girl once asked her if she was an 'illegal immigrant' because she was poor.

She worked very hard at school despite all of that and won a place at a Russell Group university. Because we live in one of the 10% most deprived postcodes in the UK, she was awarded grants and bursaries to help. She's now planning her master's and after that, a PhD.

Being poor can affect childhood, but it can be overcome. That said, all children should have the same opportunities. Many do get left behind and it's a disgrace.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Fri 23-Aug-19 12:30:21

I don’t buy into the “happy mum happy children” mantra. Parents can be happy and the children miserable.

I also agree Jax in that children are a choice so having them knowing finances aren’t there (or wouldn’t be in future in the event of a relationship going pear shaped etc) is on the adults.

Isthebigwoman, I’ve never been back either. You realise as an adult everything that went on and can make decisions based on that. As a child you’re stuck and have no choice but to get through it until you can change your own life.

PoppyFleur Fri 23-Aug-19 12:24:13

My parents were immigrants to this country, English was not their first language and therefore job choices were limited and they were readily taken advantage of by landlords and employers. Money was very tight, we were always well fed but my older sibling has memories of my parents purposefully going without to ensure we had enough food. However, my parents were determined to build a better life and worked hard to achieve this, by the time I reached my teens, my parents through hard graft had up skilled and our family finances were better.

My DH grew up in a poor Northern town, his family were financially better off than mine, his parents are English, so no language barrier to overcome, and FIL was a skilled managerial worker. But although PIL are lovely, they never spoke to DH and his siblings about achievement and success. They hadn't been to further or higher education and gave the children the impression that education wasn't for the likes of them. Ambition has a language and children need to hear it. As someone further up the thread mentioned, the statistics are depressing but your children are people not statistics.

My parents truly believed in education and how it was the way out of any situation. They encouraged my sibling and I, believed in us and told us each day that we were loved, they were proud of us and we could achieve anything we set our mind too. We both are now in professional roles. It hasn't always been easy, I have a life limiting disability (this was an added financial pressure on my parents growing up) and even in this day and age it can be hard overcoming the prejudice and perception some people hold. However, I am grateful for my life. I was a latch key kid from age 6 but I only look back on my childhood with happiness and pride in my parents. My dad is no longer with us and I miss him every day.

Be interested in your children, taken them to the library, read with them, tell them each day that you love them and are proud of them. They will blossom because they have you in their life, a wonderful and interested mum who cares.

Henrysnoopy Fri 23-Aug-19 11:37:46

Could you retrain? I did some courses and I'm now earning £15 an hour. I work in the evenings and weekends around dh but it has made a difference working back to back so saving on childcare.

stayathomer Fri 23-Aug-19 11:34:57

OP two things. First I know people are giving out about pp suggesting this, but can you move at all? We have lived with no garden before and it does seriously affect your mood that you can't just push them out to play or get fresh air. Also where we live mo you can walk yo a few places so that helps. Number two: if you are even worrying about your kids you've answered your own question: in the very very end the most important thing is that your kids have a happy mum and or dad who cares. You do. Big hug OP flowerscakebrew

stayathomer Fri 23-Aug-19 11:30:17

Why is it unfair forJaxhogto askI have to wonder why you kept on having kids when you were skint?when the OP has stated they have always been skint?

Because she HAS her children. This isn't a thread considering whether to have children. They are here, so talking about choosing not to have kids is not what anyone needs to hear

Isthebigwomanhere Fri 23-Aug-19 11:29:38

I grew up in horrendous poverty.
No holidays
No days out
No play dates
No san pro
No new clothes

I don't have many fond memories of my childhood and was bullied at school because of being poor.
I don't blame anyone struggling to get by on minimum wage and the cost of living for their financial situation.
I do however blame my mother for not doing anything about out situation
She could of worked more hours
Could of taken me the park
Could of done so much more than she did but she just could not be arsed.

I left at 16 and I've never been back.
I made sure that my children never had the childhood I did.
I always took them out even if just to a free museum.
I knew we couldn't afford a car and to do things so I never had a car till I was 45.
You do what needs to be done and you just do your best.

NoodlesMcGee Fri 23-Aug-19 11:26:23

@ShatnersWig and @Jaxhog - agree with you both 100%. It's not the done thing to say on MN (and not especially helpful on this thread) but having a child is always a choice. They don't ask to be born.

Ginnymweasley Fri 23-Aug-19 11:05:10

My dh grew up with very little. He never went on holiday, never went for days out. They just didn't have the money. This made him determined to do better. He always wants to make sure our children don't go without etc. He wants them to experience all the things he never got the chance to.
Now I'm not gonna say that he looks back at his childhood fondly cause he doesn't but it hasn't harmed him. Although the money hoarding does get a bit old quite fast. And sometimes he views somethings as luxuries when most people wouldn't even question buying them.

DarlingNikita Fri 23-Aug-19 10:46:56

Ps mh I am talking severe mh, depression not so much

Yeah, cos depression isn't serious or severe ever. hmm

Sugarformyhoney Fri 23-Aug-19 10:23:31

Op I grew up in a home where finances were rarely an issue but I had alcohol dependant and totally disengaged parents. Now and again they’d throw money at me to go out with my friends, so therefore I didn’t miss out on the things you describe.
I actually spent much of my childhood with my very poor friend and her family. They lived in a dirty, shabby flat with several animals and it was freezing as they could rarely afford to heat it. They rarely could afford to go out so we’d go to the woods or look around the market. We hsd the BEST time just being in the family home.. cooking, family quizzes, watching game shows etc etc. Life isn’t black and white, don’t give yourself a hard time xx

Crustytoenail Fri 23-Aug-19 10:14:47


I am exactly the same as you describe with money/hoarding. The things I'm worst with are the things that have had the biggest impact to go without. I currently have about £50 on the gas meter, because I've been topping it up even while not needed in summer (a good practice though, gives a buffer) and about £30 electric, topping up the same amount as winter time. I've also always got a cupboard full of sanitary products. Three or four times as many as we actually need, but I went without them and it's degrading, nasty, dirty and smelly and I'm determined DD doesn't have to do that too. No way. I buy 4 packs a month still (2 each, which we don't quite use) religiously and if I know my wages will be shorter than usual (no overtime that week or I've dared to be ill, or need hospital/doctor treatment) then I buy more - because I'm terrified of running out, even though I know logically we've enough to sink a ship.
I'm trying not to worry about DD being affected by her growing up if not in poverty, then poorer. We're much better now she's older and like you I'm doing the equivalent of 1.5 full time jobs (same job but long shifts and a lot of hours) because she doesn't need the care she did. I'm determined that even if I need to return back to live with my mother, to pay for it, DD will get to university (she wants to) and do better than I did.
I was written off by my parents (2 birth and 2 step) and school as a teen due to mental health issues. I missed out on so much because I was ill. My life would be completely different (I have Dsis for comparison) had I not been ill. I've had to do some awful jobs, sometimes I still cry at the thought of this one, but it's better paid and I'm treated better than others I've had, and it may well end up being my DDs ticket out of this cycle that's always looming.
I think unless you've actually been in it, it's very hard to understand and therefore empathise. Not that people shouldn't try though.

PeculiarBerries Fri 23-Aug-19 09:44:06

I find it interesting that some people on this thread seem to think that you can't turn out generous, empathetic and kind because you were brought up comfortably... odd POV

More often than not that is the case. A great deal of people who were brought up comfortably are merely virtual signalling / putting on a veneer of humility when being generous and empathetic to those less fortunate and the unfortunate circumstances they find themselves in.

"When helping the poor, keep the camera at home".

Frequency Fri 23-Aug-19 09:13:13

Thanks Lemon. It doesn't upset me, per se, I just wish I was better at managing money. I think part of it is I grew up with nothing, then I got a job had the nice things and then I met ex-H who was controlling and had nothing again, including clothes. When I left him I had one pair jeans and two tops that fit me because when I gained weight and/or my clothes became worn he refused to replace them. I frequently panic that I'll go back to having nothing. The more I have, the longer it will last if the money stops, iyswim?

I hoard food, make-up, skin care and hair care products, clothes and jobs (of which I have two regular jobs, one fulltime and one part-time, one small income from self-employment and one as and when needed job because I kept in touch with my old boss instead of just leaving completely). I keep us well stocked of all the things I missed the most when I had nothing. I realise having a small cushion savings would benefit us better but if we run out of baked beans or silver eyeshadow I panic and buy eight tins of beans and an entire eyeshadow palette instead of just one single silver eyeshadow before engaging my brain.

But I do pay the bills and rent on pay day without fail and I do have a small amount of savings, so I'm doing better than when I left home and school at 16. My money mostly lasts until payday but that's partly because my pt job pays weekly and my full-time job pays monthly.

ShatnersWig Fri 23-Aug-19 08:18:53

Why is it unfair for Jaxhog to ask I have to wonder why you kept on having kids when you were skint? when the OP has stated they have always been skint?

I get there is nothing the OP can do about that now, but my parents were very poor in the 1970s and early 80s. The only reason things improved in the late 80s was because our very, very run down house (my bedroom in the attic I reached by ladder between the ages of 10 and 14) sat in a very large garden and someone made my dad an incredible offer to buy house and garden for building. But even so my parents are far from well off and both still works manual jobs in their mid-60s. They were able to buy a decent 3-bed house, a new car (ours were usually rust buckets) and we went on our first ever holiday in 1989 when I was 15 to a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight.

Because my parents were poor, they worked out they could JUST about to have one child. They didn't have any more because they couldn't afford it. All our clothes were jumble sales (remember them?). All of my toys were second hand. They'd make a castle out of a giant cardboard box that I'd play in. I spent most of my time in the large garden on a climbing frame with friends. One day my dad brought home a large oil drum and cleaned it out. Great fun standing on top of it rolling it around; or going inside it while a friend rolled me round the garden; if it was hot, filling it with water and standing in it.

I had a great childhood. But my parents still say to this day while they would have liked more children, they couldn't have afforded a second and didn't think it right to selfishly have what they wanted without thinking how it might affect the second child.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Fri 23-Aug-19 07:55:50

I was wandering through Eventbrite last night and saw a load of free events near to me. All sorts - for adults and kids. I signed up for a walk, architecture lecture and a running club (all free). I’ve also seen a ‘cooking with leftovers’ class running - very cheap.

Look around and see what’s happening. We didn’t have lots of money as kids - but we were always doing ‘things’ and even a family high tea (home made cake and sandwiches and tea) and watching a video was something we loved.

And this was in Scotland where the weather isn’t brilliant.

LemonPrism Fri 23-Aug-19 07:51:01

@Frequency don't feel too bad, we were taught budgeting and saving from very young - even had to great a presentation for when we wanted a 'raise' in pocket money. My sister still haemorrhages money. I just think some people are wired that way.

LemonPrism Fri 23-Aug-19 07:48:07

I find it interesting that some people on this thread seem to think that you can't turn out generous, empathetic and kind because you were brought up comfortably... odd POV

Lemonchorizo Fri 23-Aug-19 02:13:16

Being poor is rubbish.

I grew up this way, Dad couldn't manage money always in debt. He also had mental health issues.

He gave me a love of books, we read alot which is free with libraries and now free cycling etc.

My Mum did everything practical cooking, diy, and indulged my imagination. We built dens and cooked together etc.

Life was hard but there are some good memories. I found escape from being poor later by studying my Mum a single Mum then saved and bought me a PC. I think she made hard choices about what was important.

Could you read with them, indulge in indoor dens, use free cycling. My Mum found grants etc to train when we were older which helped earn her more money.

JockTamsonsBairns Fri 23-Aug-19 01:37:48

This is controversial, but assuming the OP is in England, having a child is always a choice

I've got a million points that I could add to this thread, but I'm just going to start with saying a massive FUCK OFF to this pp. How dare you, and how narrow must your life experience be to even think this?

RainMinusBow Fri 23-Aug-19 00:41:42

I was pretty much made homeless when I left my abusive ex as he changed the locks to the jointly owned marital home. My kids were just 3 and 6 at the time and I was working 3 hrs pw.

We stayed with my parents for 6 weeks and I managed to increase my hours to 16 pw. Then privately rented a tiny, damp and mouldy two-bed for five years. I went without things like heating (and sometimes food) on the days the kids were with their dad. It was a massive financial struggle for me doing it all independently.

I was determined not to allow my financial situation get in the way of my boys' achieving - in fact it made me even more determined they would do well.

Last year my eldest sat entrance exams for a very hard to get into secondary school (not private but hugely oversubscribed) and he acheived the top 10% of the applicants in all three exams entered.

Since starting at the school he has been selected for the Honours Programme as one of the highest achievers in his year group.

So no, I don't believe that being skint (define skint, however) automatically means poor outcomes for children.

Ohthatsfabulousdarling Fri 23-Aug-19 00:23:30

Looking back when I was a child, the most well adjusted kids parents spent time with them. Cared about them, spent time baking fairy cakes and cheap crafts at home, writing stories together and drawing together. Please don't beat yourself up because of money. I always envied those children as a child and as a mum wish I could emulate them more.

Ohthatsfabulousdarling Fri 23-Aug-19 00:19:02

It does affect the outcome of children to a certain extent, however the nicest families aren't necessarily well off.
Sometimes it's down to doing free things, cheap arty stuff in the house, baking dinner/cakes together.
We grew up in a very poor household, and we started life being really quite hard up.

I started dog walking aboug 4 years ago, I only took dogs that were child friendly. We spent the entire summer in parks and travelling from one place to the next. It gave us some of our fondest memories. We were "exploring" and it helped us financially. Is that an option for you?

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