The sad state of being a child in the United Kingdom

Chavs aren't born they're grown.

One thing I often notice about British expats to the US is the sort of ’shock’ at how US parents are involved in the lives of their children. Of course they love to ridicule the ‘helicopter parent’ (as do Americans) but once that formality is out of the way there is a second realization that comes as quite a punch. When they realize that their neighbor in the nicer house with the better job is actually taking three hours to help with the local school’s academic calendar, or a social function, or an extracurricular activity (instead of say going to the pub with their mates) they have a sort of ‘are we doing something wrong’ moment?

Of course with any expat there is the question of is this ‘better or worse’ which in reality usually equals just ‘different’ but today I read an article (inflammatory though it is) that points out some of the ‘differences’ with being a child in the UK and other countries. Suffice it to say the article is not at all pleased with either British parents basically leaving their kids ‘in the garden to grow on their own’ nor the social welfare state that has accepted nearly anything a UK parent can dish out without regard to the long-term impact on the children.

One interesting statistic and observation in an article full of them was this on ‘in the home’ in the UK:

Eighty percent of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, more than have their biological fathers at home. Fifty-eight percent of British children eat their evening meal in front of the television (a British child spends more than five hours per day watching a screen); 36 percent never eat any meals together with other family members; and 34 percent of households do not even own dining tables. In the prison where I once worked, I discovered that many inmates had never eaten at a table together with someone else.

Let me speculate briefly on the implications of these startling facts. They mean that children never learn, from a sense of social obligation, to eat when not hungry, or not to eat when they are. Appetite is all they need consult in deciding whether to eat—a purely egotistical outlook. Hence anything that interferes with the satisfaction of appetite will seem oppressive. They do not learn such elementary social practices as sharing or letting others go first. Since mealtimes are usually when families get to converse, the children do not learn the art of conversation, either; listening to what others say becomes a challenge.

Unfortunately, statistics in the US are still pretty poor for many a thing, from pregnancy to teen alcoholics so it’s not simply a matter of saying do this and all will be better. Materialism here is as great if not greater than back in the UK.

Anyway, worth a read.

UPDATE: Or you can just get the user’s guide to being a Chav now out on Amazon. ]]>

36 thoughts on “The sad state of being a child in the United Kingdom”

  1. Interesting points but deserving of some skepticism as they come from the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. Considering the world economic crisis and the hand greedy, unregulated conservative policies had in it. I think I would be more moved if the article came from a moderate perspective and offered some solutions instead of just rhetoric.

  2. Interesting points but deserving of some skepticism as they come from the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. Considering the world economic crisis and the hand greedy, unregulated conservative policies had in it. I think I would be more moved if the article came from a moderate perspective and offered some solutions instead of just rhetoric.

  3. I know a lot of good parents with awful kids. It’s a problem with state discipline. The police have no power, they spend too much time doing paperwork, leaving citizens to fend for themselves, at which point they get penalised for acting outside of the law. Hence young offenders can get away with ANYTHING.
    Don’t get me wrong, as the vast majority of humanity is rather worthless I appreciate that there are millions of awful parents around, but I think this post was rather skewed to a middle-class American view of working-class Britons.
    In general, any parent with compassion or intelligence would bring up their kids to follow suit. Sadly the majority lies not in compassionate and intelligent adults…
    Which is why kids brought up properly often stray for the sake of conformity (especially in more densely populated areas).
    As an inhabitant of a calm, pleasant area with (generally) calm and pleasant young people around, I’m aware that I’m blessed. Especially growing up in an environment surrounded by people from the other side of the coin.

  4. I know a lot of good parents with awful kids. It’s a problem with state discipline. The police have no power, they spend too much time doing paperwork, leaving citizens to fend for themselves, at which point they get penalised for acting outside of the law. Hence young offenders can get away with ANYTHING.
    Don’t get me wrong, as the vast majority of humanity is rather worthless I appreciate that there are millions of awful parents around, but I think this post was rather skewed to a middle-class American view of working-class Britons.
    In general, any parent with compassion or intelligence would bring up their kids to follow suit. Sadly the majority lies not in compassionate and intelligent adults…
    Which is why kids brought up properly often stray for the sake of conformity (especially in more densely populated areas).
    As an inhabitant of a calm, pleasant area with (generally) calm and pleasant young people around, I’m aware that I’m blessed. Especially growing up in an environment surrounded by people from the other side of the coin.

  5. This is something for many of us to think about. People are increasing the number of hours that they spend in the front of the TV. I don't see that as a good thing because this way you promote an unhealthy life style that your kids will probably imitate.

  6. This is something for many of us to think about. People are increasing the number of hours that they spend in the front of the TV. I don't see that as a good thing because this way you promote an unhealthy life style that your kids will probably imitate.

  7. um sorry u can’t say that there just anumber of british people out there as u.s.a’s so u can’t talk realy send that to the u.s.a realy ban the xbox ps2 ps3 realy and fast food honistly not saying but you can’t jug us from 1 photo and things u see.

  8. um sorry u can’t say that there just anumber of british people out there as u.s.a’s so u can’t talk realy send that to the u.s.a realy ban the xbox ps2 ps3 realy and fast food honistly not saying but you can’t jug us from 1 photo and things u see.

  9. i hate it when people say the way a certain person lives there life is wrong, no offence but you can stop your kids from watching tv, and you can take away there fast food or what ever you see the problem as, but at the end of the day you SHOULD NOT try to sway the way others live.

    yu say it effects there education, i say that yes i agree education is important, but its not the only important thing in life… personaly, i think that children can learn just as much as home, not neccesarily the same things, but they can deffinatley learn of things such as the tv and the internet… its just your generation does not grasp the concept that kids are what kids are, times change, people are different, so how can you make britain as a whole look bad?
    It isnt wrong if you let your kids watch tv, because… well they are kids,
    nowadays people try and control kids, the way they live.
    personaly, i think you see more obese people in america, and you say to much tv and etc… maybe because you think it influences the kids in the wrong ways in the uk? yers it does in someways but not always bad…
    and besides the point there is plenty more incidents such as gun crime in america, and alot of the time, bad influences are “the cause”, wich in my eyes is tosh, as i belive every ones mind is there own and you only do what you want to do, no one or nothing is to blame how we are… , and also wat does it matter if we al live different lifes and dont all eat on the table or do or dont watch tv,…
    i find it interesting how you have chose a picture down tp purely how they dress…. dont deny because there is no other reason, and wat i mean by that is how you have chosen a picture of lads wearing tracksuits and caps, stereotyping, every child in the uk whom is in a “state” to dress like that, i find it really funny…
    when in actual fact, you are wrong for doing that and shouldnt even be able to publish on the internet, as you obviously do not no about how kids are, wich i can see just from your choice of picture and what your article is about…
    people cannot comment on the kids of u.k when they no absolutkey jack shit about them, the youths of today are so misheard and misunderstood… actualy, i would say they arent even heard, more people need to stand up for the youth and speak as they do not get a say in how this country is run, but seem to get all the criticism for things such as crime and guns,
    so instead of posting about how bad kids are basicaly, why dont you write an artyicle on how we can solve these problems instead of just pointing them out, because thats all this country does, points the finger at children and blame… wich does not ever solve anything in my eyes,
    in my eyes this atricle is stereo typing kids to be all bad
    basicaly saying the way we bring our kids up in the uk is bad, every thing is bad…
    no wonder the kids are what you think, they dont ever get spoken about positivley.
    its always bad things
    NOT ALL of the people in tracksuits and caps sit infront of the tv and eat there dinner, ;you are trying to say, if they do there are wrong, LOL… pft
    you cant say our country is wrong, when for one, personaly, your country is in a shape if you ask me, our government isnt perfect but they look it compared,,,
    two, plenty more gun crime in america, plenty more kids joining gangs , etc etc
    three, plenty more obese familys (not just singles)
    i have found your article very interesting though, and hope you do not see this as being negative, all in all i feel as though you would find it of an intrest to read up on how we actualy live in the u.k
    as i have found alot of what you have said to be the same as every one else who thinks kids are to blame for… everything ? crime drugs gangs (i no you havent mentioned)
    just another stereotype who doesnt actualy no about uk kids, thats what i think
    and feel as though you are just repeating wat every one else is, the kids do this the kids are bad for that, being negative… like most people…
    when in actual fact, by you saying that, you are being like every one else who looks at us bad… and if the youth stood up for what they belive, people wouldnt accept it, and no one would listen,
    so please please please people, stop telling the same stories, stop stereotyping, AND pleaseeeeeeee stop being so negative towards us, because this country does fuck all for us youth anyway, thats why were all mad, and dont care, because you dont care about us,
    im pretty sure that when the government puts OUR own tax money to a good purpose such as rebuilding economy in bad places such as london, manc, brum, etc… people will value were they live and there surroundings, if the government rebuild the ghost towns and put such things as shops and establishments were people can actualy get jobs, then we will see a fall in drug crime and theft, as people will not need to steal for money. . .
    maybe the government, should stop giving people free money on entrance to the country, and ,mte i add OUR money that WE work for.
    tax is to much and peolpe cant afford to pay when they do work so stop giving people monety and a free life, free health care and such, just because they have come here…. HOW about the government dont give any one money? and dont take so much of us, as i find it highly annoying that people get money for sitting on there fat fucking asses all day, when theres single parents holding down more than 1 job trying to feed there family from pennies i a jar evey week. absolutley disgusting…
    dont blame youth as a whole, because theres far worse things about like living in the u.k . . .
    such as money and economy being backwards…. is that youth to blame?
    no its brown and his big fat fucking rich head…
    and were did blair fuck off to….? left us….
    the youth are constantl under attack from every one, but still do not live up t how bad YOU PEOPL?E whom stereotype make them out to be,
    when in actual fact… in someways its a wonder why they dont act like all the things you say they do… because they have an excuse…. oh thats why…. because were all different… LOL
    whipe the steam from your glasses old man and support the kids because oneday they will be running our coubtries, trying to make it better, we arent kids for ever and there fore will definatley see things different but also will be able to use our experiences of being a uk child to our great to help evolve our country…
    we are the future at the end of the day, and everything you do our say has a particular out come, you just have to let things come into play, i belive, so if things change in the uk, then things chabge, if they dont they dont, thats life, but the future is the kids and were the ones who will have to deal with it, so your generation can belive what they whant towards us, but whats different? and what will change? you will always look at kids the same so this country wont change, we need to be united not against each other….

  10. i hate it when people say the way a certain person lives there life is wrong, no offence but you can stop your kids from watching tv, and you can take away there fast food or what ever you see the problem as, but at the end of the day you SHOULD NOT try to sway the way others live.

    yu say it effects there education, i say that yes i agree education is important, but its not the only important thing in life… personaly, i think that children can learn just as much as home, not neccesarily the same things, but they can deffinatley learn of things such as the tv and the internet… its just your generation does not grasp the concept that kids are what kids are, times change, people are different, so how can you make britain as a whole look bad?
    It isnt wrong if you let your kids watch tv, because… well they are kids,
    nowadays people try and control kids, the way they live.
    personaly, i think you see more obese people in america, and you say to much tv and etc… maybe because you think it influences the kids in the wrong ways in the uk? yers it does in someways but not always bad…
    and besides the point there is plenty more incidents such as gun crime in america, and alot of the time, bad influences are “the cause”, wich in my eyes is tosh, as i belive every ones mind is there own and you only do what you want to do, no one or nothing is to blame how we are… , and also wat does it matter if we al live different lifes and dont all eat on the table or do or dont watch tv,…
    i find it interesting how you have chose a picture down tp purely how they dress…. dont deny because there is no other reason, and wat i mean by that is how you have chosen a picture of lads wearing tracksuits and caps, stereotyping, every child in the uk whom is in a “state” to dress like that, i find it really funny…
    when in actual fact, you are wrong for doing that and shouldnt even be able to publish on the internet, as you obviously do not no about how kids are, wich i can see just from your choice of picture and what your article is about…
    people cannot comment on the kids of u.k when they no absolutkey jack shit about them, the youths of today are so misheard and misunderstood… actualy, i would say they arent even heard, more people need to stand up for the youth and speak as they do not get a say in how this country is run, but seem to get all the criticism for things such as crime and guns,
    so instead of posting about how bad kids are basicaly, why dont you write an artyicle on how we can solve these problems instead of just pointing them out, because thats all this country does, points the finger at children and blame… wich does not ever solve anything in my eyes,
    in my eyes this atricle is stereo typing kids to be all bad
    basicaly saying the way we bring our kids up in the uk is bad, every thing is bad…
    no wonder the kids are what you think, they dont ever get spoken about positivley.
    its always bad things
    NOT ALL of the people in tracksuits and caps sit infront of the tv and eat there dinner, ;you are trying to say, if they do there are wrong, LOL… pft
    you cant say our country is wrong, when for one, personaly, your country is in a shape if you ask me, our government isnt perfect but they look it compared,,,
    two, plenty more gun crime in america, plenty more kids joining gangs , etc etc
    three, plenty more obese familys (not just singles)
    i have found your article very interesting though, and hope you do not see this as being negative, all in all i feel as though you would find it of an intrest to read up on how we actualy live in the u.k
    as i have found alot of what you have said to be the same as every one else who thinks kids are to blame for… everything ? crime drugs gangs (i no you havent mentioned)
    just another stereotype who doesnt actualy no about uk kids, thats what i think
    and feel as though you are just repeating wat every one else is, the kids do this the kids are bad for that, being negative… like most people…
    when in actual fact, by you saying that, you are being like every one else who looks at us bad… and if the youth stood up for what they belive, people wouldnt accept it, and no one would listen,
    so please please please people, stop telling the same stories, stop stereotyping, AND pleaseeeeeeee stop being so negative towards us, because this country does fuck all for us youth anyway, thats why were all mad, and dont care, because you dont care about us,
    im pretty sure that when the government puts OUR own tax money to a good purpose such as rebuilding economy in bad places such as london, manc, brum, etc… people will value were they live and there surroundings, if the government rebuild the ghost towns and put such things as shops and establishments were people can actualy get jobs, then we will see a fall in drug crime and theft, as people will not need to steal for money. . .
    maybe the government, should stop giving people free money on entrance to the country, and ,mte i add OUR money that WE work for.
    tax is to much and peolpe cant afford to pay when they do work so stop giving people monety and a free life, free health care and such, just because they have come here…. HOW about the government dont give any one money? and dont take so much of us, as i find it highly annoying that people get money for sitting on there fat fucking asses all day, when theres single parents holding down more than 1 job trying to feed there family from pennies i a jar evey week. absolutley disgusting…
    dont blame youth as a whole, because theres far worse things about like living in the u.k . . .
    such as money and economy being backwards…. is that youth to blame?
    no its brown and his big fat fucking rich head…
    and were did blair fuck off to….? left us….
    the youth are constantl under attack from every one, but still do not live up t how bad YOU PEOPL?E whom stereotype make them out to be,
    when in actual fact… in someways its a wonder why they dont act like all the things you say they do… because they have an excuse…. oh thats why…. because were all different… LOL
    whipe the steam from your glasses old man and support the kids because oneday they will be running our coubtries, trying to make it better, we arent kids for ever and there fore will definatley see things different but also will be able to use our experiences of being a uk child to our great to help evolve our country…
    we are the future at the end of the day, and everything you do our say has a particular out come, you just have to let things come into play, i belive, so if things change in the uk, then things chabge, if they dont they dont, thats life, but the future is the kids and were the ones who will have to deal with it, so your generation can belive what they whant towards us, but whats different? and what will change? you will always look at kids the same so this country wont change, we need to be united not against each other….

  11. Excuse me, but where does the term “trailer trash” come from? Isn’t this the equivalent?
    Keep the “American Dream” in the Hollywood movies, as we all know it’s a complete myth.

  12. Excuse me, but where does the term “trailer trash” come from? Isn’t this the equivalent?
    Keep the “American Dream” in the Hollywood movies, as we all know it’s a complete myth.

  13. Eighty percent of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, more than have their biological fathers at home. Fifty-eight percent of British children eat their evening meal in front of the television (a British child spends more than five hours per day watching a screen); 36 percent never eat any meals together with other family members; and 34 percent of households do not even own dining tables. In the prison where I once worked, I discovered that many inmates had never eaten at a table together with someone else.
    What about the US statistics? why aren’t they there?

  14. Eighty percent of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, more than have their biological fathers at home. Fifty-eight percent of British children eat their evening meal in front of the television (a British child spends more than five hours per day watching a screen); 36 percent never eat any meals together with other family members; and 34 percent of households do not even own dining tables. In the prison where I once worked, I discovered that many inmates had never eaten at a table together with someone else.
    What about the US statistics? why aren’t they there?

  15. Oi!!!! standup-liam93-speakup I am Romanian Just left a British school and I tell you now that Brit Kids are Sooo-oooo evil!!!!
    yess actually the image of kids wearing tracksuits and caps fit the image perfectly YOU B.M.P LOVER!!!!!
    If you want change then why dont you ask your hero Nick Griffin to take charge.
    the british race is just spoilt rotten. today’s generation is imature and I want out of this country.
    but I have no visa,I was born here in wallinfordshire and I HATE BRITISH PEOPLE!!!!!!!

  16. Oi!!!! standup-liam93-speakup I am Romanian Just left a British school and I tell you now that Brit Kids are Sooo-oooo evil!!!!
    yess actually the image of kids wearing tracksuits and caps fit the image perfectly YOU B.M.P LOVER!!!!!
    If you want change then why dont you ask your hero Nick Griffin to take charge.
    the british race is just spoilt rotten. today’s generation is imature and I want out of this country.
    but I have no visa,I was born here in wallinfordshire and I HATE BRITISH PEOPLE!!!!!!!

  17. I think you mean the BNP, not BMP. If you’re going to reply with a counter, the least you could do is make sure it’s free of stupid mistakes (and can be read without causing your reader to bleed from the eyes).
    As for your remakes regarding UK children, as you’re probably aware, they were pretty narrow and general.
    Hate to break it to you by the way, but if you’ve just left school then that means you’re a part of our immature generation. :O
    [And the UK is a member if the EU, so you’re free to go live and work in one of the 26 other member countries, without getting a visa. (That includes Romania by the way.)]

  18. I think you mean the BNP, not BMP. If you’re going to reply with a counter, the least you could do is make sure it’s free of stupid mistakes (and can be read without causing your reader to bleed from the eyes).
    As for your remakes regarding UK children, as you’re probably aware, they were pretty narrow and general.
    Hate to break it to you by the way, but if you’ve just left school then that means you’re a part of our immature generation. :O
    [And the UK is a member if the EU, so you’re free to go live and work in one of the 26 other member countries, without getting a visa. (That includes Romania by the way.)]

  19. “They mean that children never learn, from a sense of social obligation, to eat when not hungry, or not to eat when they are. Appetite is all they need consult in deciding whether to eat—a purely egotistical outlook. Hence anything that interferes with the satisfaction of appetite will seem oppressive. They do not learn such elementary social practices as sharing or letting others go first. Since mealtimes are usually when families get to converse, the children do not learn the art of conversation, either; listening to what others say becomes a challenge.”
    This makes a lot of sense to me. America is far too large to categorize its unfortunate people. We do have Chavs / Charvers, but they are not confined to stereotypes. The above quote is very true of American children as well. I was raised like that, very spoiled, and very dysfunctional. I got tired of living that way and went to the military. My manners are much better and I don’t have any children. I don’t use drugs. (I used to) I drink like a fish and cuss like a sailor, but not in front of old people or ladies. I think it is better to be a little spoiled than to suffer. It’s not a bad idea to point at absent fathers, but also let’s examine the whore mothers? I know people so goddamn lazy that they refuse to work because it will fuck up their dole money and food stamps. I know, I held it together without cussing as long as I could… god damn it. =) As for that guy from Romania, I will tell him like I tell all the niggers here when they talk about going home to Africa. Your fucking ass would last about a week and you’d kiss the English soil if you ever made it back. Your goddamn unappreciative immigrant ass needs to be thrown in the ocean and told to swim, mother fucker, swim. Shit skins like you are what is wrong with Europe and America. GO HOME YOU ROMANIAN BASTARD PLEASE AND FUCK YOU AND DIE.

  20. “They mean that children never learn, from a sense of social obligation, to eat when not hungry, or not to eat when they are. Appetite is all they need consult in deciding whether to eat—a purely egotistical outlook. Hence anything that interferes with the satisfaction of appetite will seem oppressive. They do not learn such elementary social practices as sharing or letting others go first. Since mealtimes are usually when families get to converse, the children do not learn the art of conversation, either; listening to what others say becomes a challenge.”
    This makes a lot of sense to me. America is far too large to categorize its unfortunate people. We do have Chavs / Charvers, but they are not confined to stereotypes. The above quote is very true of American children as well. I was raised like that, very spoiled, and very dysfunctional. I got tired of living that way and went to the military. My manners are much better and I don’t have any children. I don’t use drugs. (I used to) I drink like a fish and cuss like a sailor, but not in front of old people or ladies. I think it is better to be a little spoiled than to suffer. It’s not a bad idea to point at absent fathers, but also let’s examine the whore mothers? I know people so goddamn lazy that they refuse to work because it will fuck up their dole money and food stamps. I know, I held it together without cussing as long as I could… god damn it. =) As for that guy from Romania, I will tell him like I tell all the niggers here when they talk about going home to Africa. Your fucking ass would last about a week and you’d kiss the English soil if you ever made it back. Your goddamn unappreciative immigrant ass needs to be thrown in the ocean and told to swim, mother fucker, swim. Shit skins like you are what is wrong with Europe and America. GO HOME YOU ROMANIAN BASTARD PLEASE AND FUCK YOU AND DIE.

    1. but if you did, one of them would most likely have a knife and stab you with it because thats the kind of things chav do in the UK, hurt people and inbreed

    2. Dno if you are from england but I assume not, chavs do look funny but they are like a pack of wolves and wouldnt think twice to bouncing up and down on your face with there air max 95’s lol

    1. but if you did, one of them would most likely have a knife and stab you with it because thats the kind of things chav do in the UK, hurt people and inbreed

    2. Dno if you are from england but I assume not, chavs do look funny but they are like a pack of wolves and wouldnt think twice to bouncing up and down on your face with there air max 95’s lol

  21. Here man stop havin a gan at uz jst cos we lyk havin fun ya nah i bet youse lot divvint even nar wot havin a laff iz lyk ya sad bunch of cunts.
    anyways im of to me crib av gorra be up at 9 bells to gan to the joke shop so a can get me lowie while all ye are at work ya mugs

  22. Here man stop havin a gan at uz jst cos we lyk havin fun ya nah i bet youse lot divvint even nar wot havin a laff iz lyk ya sad bunch of cunts.
    anyways im of to me crib av gorra be up at 9 bells to gan to the joke shop so a can get me lowie while all ye are at work ya mugs

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