Thursday, February 15, 2007
UK Worst Place for Kids....
This story has distressed me for several reasons. It serves to remind me of why I have strong doubts about bringing children into this world for one thing. Living in a non child friendly country like Britain does not help.
Like most people I can only speculate on the reasons for it. The individualism of the 1980s with it's economic restructuring went a long way towards breaking down community ties and led to a greater degree of social atomisation, for one thing. The Scandinavian countries with their strong Welfare States seem not to have so much of a problem with their youth, and neither do countries where family ties remain strong.
Alongside this goes the long work hours culture of Britain. Most two parent families these days have little choice but for both parents to work, often full time, and this results in them not being able to spend as much time with their children as is ideally needed for their growth. The State is still trying to grasp an idea of flexible working hours and a family friendly workplace but much of it remains hot air. A rush to make profits now appears not to make for good investment in the future - children of course being the future.
It is little wonder that the birth rate is declining as the incentives for having children are highly neglible in the UK. But something will have to be done to reverse this trend if the government do not want to struggle with an ageing population with not enough people of working age to support them.
Aside from the obvious things which spring to mind such as flexible working, better welfare for poor families and children, accessible child care etc we could also do with treating our children as human beings in their own right, not as mere extensions of ourselves. A child friendly society recognises children's needs and accepts them as part of that society. We have a long way to go. The constant demonisation youth receive in the media is a big part of this problem.