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The Pom Queen

British Children so Unhappy

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I have attached the report so you can have a look through yourself.

 

 

Why are British children so unhappy? Four years after Unicef sparked national soul-searching with analysis showing child well-being in the UK at the bottom of a league of developed nations, the organisation has attempted to explain our problem.

 

The answer, it seems, is that we put too little store on family time and too much on material goods. Unicef paints a picture of a country that has got its priorities wrong - trading quality time with our children for "cupboards full of expensive toys that aren't used".

 

"Parents in the UK want to be good parents, but aren't sure how," the research suggests. "They feel they don't have the time, and sometimes the knowledge, and often try to compensate for this by buying their children gadgets and clothes."

 

The research compares Britain with Sweden and Spain. While the UK languishes in 21st, and last, place in the child well-being table, they come second and fifth respectively.

 

One reason they perform so much better, according to Unicef, is that in both countries "family time is protected" and children "all have greater access to activities".

 

"In Sweden their social policy allows family time and their culture massively reinforces it. In Spain fathers do work long hours, but the extended family is still very important and women stay at home to look after their children."

 

The report argues that the pressure of the working environment and rampant materialism combine to damage the well-being of our children. They want our attention but we give them our money.

 

"All children interviewed said that material goods did not make them happy, but materialism in the UK seems to be just as much of a problem for parents as children," the research concludes. "Parents in the UK often feel compelled to purchase consumer goods which are often neither wanted or treasured."

 

It is a profoundly depressing analysis of British life, not least because it rings true.


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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Guest guest37336
I have attached the report so you can have a look through yourself.

 

 

Why are British children so unhappy? Four years after Unicef sparked national soul-searching with analysis showing child well-being in the UK at the bottom of a league of developed nations, the organisation has attempted to explain our problem.

 

The answer, it seems, is that we put too little store on family time and too much on material goods. Unicef paints a picture of a country that has got its priorities wrong - trading quality time with our children for "cupboards full of expensive toys that aren't used".

 

"Parents in the UK want to be good parents, but aren't sure how," the research suggests. "They feel they don't have the time, and sometimes the knowledge, and often try to compensate for this by buying their children gadgets and clothes."

 

The research compares Britain with Sweden and Spain. While the UK languishes in 21st, and last, place in the child well-being table, they come second and fifth respectively.

 

One reason they perform so much better, according to Unicef, is that in both countries "family time is protected" and children "all have greater access to activities".

 

"In Sweden their social policy allows family time and their culture massively reinforces it. In Spain fathers do work long hours, but the extended family is still very important and women stay at home to look after their children."

 

The report argues that the pressure of the working environment and rampant materialism combine to damage the well-being of our children. They want our attention but we give them our money.

 

"All children interviewed said that material goods did not make them happy, but materialism in the UK seems to be just as much of a problem for parents as children," the research concludes. "Parents in the UK often feel compelled to purchase consumer goods which are often neither wanted or treasured."

 

It is a profoundly depressing analysis of British life, not least because it rings true.

 

This has been happening for years unfortunately Kate, not all children are the same, but the majority are I feel in someway being told that material wealth is all important and indeed at times parents 'buy' their kids love with all the latest gizmo's and fashion labels.

 

As you know I'm not particularly materialistic, but both my Herbert's do to a degree seem to believe that material wealth/goods can in someway make up for other more important issues, I don't know, maybe I came back into their lives (again) a little too late and the damage was done, but I often look at my two and think what on earth is going on inside their heads.:no:

 

Nothing will ever make up for a having a family, (if it is a healthy and happy environment that is). Nothing can compare to that, and to a degree how we also treat all others around us. It just seems in this day and age way too many of us hold the thought that material wealth/goods shows what 'type' of people we, when in reality at the end of the day, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Aspiration, dreams, wants and needs are all very well, but this has to be balanced how we interact with others, because when you are lying on your death bed nothing will make up for the loss of 'family' that may have happened over the years because of this belief in the 'material' world.

 

Cheers Tony.:wink:

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Guest stevenw8971

Its parents not wanting to say the NO word, easier to buy them something new than to actually play with them, my kids don't have a lot compared to others, and generally only seem to be really unhappy when they can't get out the back to play. (major disadvantage of living in west of scotland...rain, rain rain)

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Guest sh7t man no way

its a sad state of affairs m2n:no:some parents these days don't spend quality time with there children (it takes 2 to work 2 pay the bills) they buy there children all this crap to appease them,and to elevate there guilt--then wunder why there children go of the rails when older--the best thing you can give a child is attention not a play station--still its all consumer driven the uk society--so is it the governments fault for letting it happen,or the parents fault for being weak enough to participate in the consumer driven society

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A few years ago I worked with a woman who had five children. She was a very high achieving woman, and everything was money, money, money. Whenever we spoke about her children (I didn't have any at the time) she used to say "I bought them this", or "I got them the other", but never "We went to such and such", or "We had a lovely time together at wherever". I remember thinking at the time that it seemed sad that she worked so hard to be able to buy her children things, but she didn't seem to spend much time with them doing things.

 

I am luckier than many in that we can just about afford for me to stay at home with the children. It is a struggle at times (often actually, and oh and I have made many sacrifices in order to do so) but I would rather do without the latest clothes or whatever and spend time with my children than have the extra money and be able to buy more stuff. What would I save in a house fire. My children or my possessions? Of course my children, so therefore the rest can't matter that much.

 

I know that many people aren't afforded the luxury of being able to stay at home, but I feel that this, at least in part, is due to the exorbitant cost of living. Many women have no choice but to work, just to make ends meet, and it seems that rather than be encouraged to stay at home until children are of school age, women are encouraged to work.

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Hence the reason why we moved to Australia! My OH seems to have had a much happier childhood compared to me (although mine was pretty good). Australia is much better for kids.

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Guest guest37336
A few years ago I worked with a woman who had five children. She was a very high achieving woman, and everything was money, money, money. Whenever we spoke about her children (I didn't have any at the time) she used to say "I bought them this", or "I got them the other", but never "We went to such and such", or "We had a lovely time together at wherever". I remember thinking at the time that it seemed sad that she worked so hard to be able to buy her children things, but she didn't seem to spend much time with them doing things.

 

I am luckier than many in that we can just about afford for me to stay at home with the children. It is a struggle at times (often actually, and oh and I have made many sacrifices in order to do so) but I would rather do without the latest clothes or whatever and spend time with my children than have the extra money and be able to buy more stuff. What would I save in a house fire. My children or my possessions? Of course my children, so therefore the rest can't matter that much.

 

I know that many people aren't afforded the luxury of being able to stay at home, but I feel that this, at least in part, is due to the exorbitant cost of living. Many women have no choice but to work, just to make ends meet, and it seems that rather than be encouraged to stay at home until children are of school age, women are encouraged to work.

 

Hi LKC.

 

I have and always will maintain that being a mum or dad and staying at home to look after the children is THE most important job in the world. 'Stay At Home' mums or dads have the most important role in todays society, and that is simply to look after our children while they are growing and help them become responsible, helpful and compassionate people.

 

Did you notice many moons ago if you said you were a 'housewife' you were to a degree 'stigamatised' and looked down on. Perhaps if the government finally woke up to the fact that housewives/husbands do a fantastic job and reward them both in monetary terms and emotionally then just maybe the kids would grow up with a different mindset.

 

Gets my goat when a lot of people say they are housewives/husbands (with children) that they are overlooked and STILL in todays society looked down on, it is the HARDEST job in the world, bringing up kids, and it is about time the government woke up to this fact.:mad:

 

Cheers Tony.

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I don't think you can blame the children for this. It is the companies that market our goods. In Oz you can't tell how old a car is by looking at the plate. In the UK you can. Cars hold their value much more in Oz. Why?

 

It's the same with gadgets. They release a new model which is identical to the last, and everyone wants the new model.

 

My kids are unhappy compared to my childhood. I had nothing - they have everything. But all it takes is for one of their friends to get the latest whatever, and they are down in the dumps. It's a mess - and it's got to stop.

 

The grunge era of the 90's was a fight against this 'fashion' - and that became fashion in itself. We need a new grunge or punk movement. But we are controlled by the media.

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I think the worst thing you can do for a child is give it anything it wants. Ours have 30 x 10p pieces per week, which is paid out on a Sunday. They are penalised 10ps when they are in the dog house. If they leave stuff lying around it goes in the "sin bin" and they have to buy each item back for 10p a time on Sundays before they get the rest of their money. The house is soo much tidier now and the kids are a lot more careful about what they spend their money on. I must admit I do buy them some treats, but in the main, they have to buy their own little bits and bobs. Works for us. God I would have hated me as a mum but hopefully they will thank me for it some day when they aren't racking loads up on credit cards but saving and buying instead (like I had to). Only time will tell - they could of course rebel!!!!

 

Ref being miserable, I read about Gary Newman (who I adored back in the day) who is complaining about the youth of today looking so miserable - this is so funny coming from Mr Happy Chops himself!!

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I think the worst thing you can do for a child is give it anything it wants. Ours have 30 x 10p pieces per week, which is paid out on a Sunday. They are penalised 10ps when they are in the dog house. If they leave stuff lying around it goes in the "sin bin" and they have to buy each item back for 10p a time on Sundays before they get the rest of their money. The house is soo much tidier now and the kids are a lot more careful about what they spend their money on. I must admit I do buy them some treats, but in the main, they have to buy their own little bits and bobs. Works for us. God I would have hated me as a mum but hopefully they will thank me for it some day when they aren't racking loads up on credit cards but saving and buying instead (like I had to). Only time will tell - they could of course rebel!!!!

 

Ref being miserable, I read about Gary Newman (who I adored back in the day) who is complaining about the youth of today looking so miserable - this is so funny coming from Mr Happy Chops himself!!

That is a great idea may have to try that although my middle child would probably steal the sin bin:wub:


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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I have a 5 month old and both my OH and I have decided we are not going to spoil him with toys all the time presents on birthday Eid (from us) christmas (from grandparents).

 

I see my nephews and neices playing with gadgets worth 100 plus at the age of 8 or 9 and having no respect for them. My neice got a DS (the latest one) and threw it down the stairs on the first day and I said to her if I was her mother I would have returned it and not replaced it!

 

Children dont seem to know how to play and when i told off my neice for playing with ds instead of the children i was told I am jealous as I didnt have them when I was young. My response was we played with each other and not through games consoles.

 

I think spending time with children is very important and I have heard children complain that their dad doesnt do this or that with them and you cannot blame children as its their parents who have made them into this.

 

I hope to stay at home with my son as long as possible but as we are moving to Aus in couple of months do not know if financailly we can cope with just one salary but we shall see.

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Hence the reason why we moved to Australia! My OH seems to have had a much happier childhood compared to me (although mine was pretty good). Australia is much better for kids.

 

Let's hope so. While the UK did badly in this survey Australia didn't even make it on to the chart!


Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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I think because of technology children don't know how to play anymore, I know with mine I use to sit there playing pretend zoos or a car wash and they looked at me as if I was mad when I started going brum brum with the cars. Today's kids want to be sat in front of a console playing shoot em ups etc. It's such a shame


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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Our daughters are only 3 and 5, but I make them 'earn' their pocket money. I give them a 'shiny silver coin' (i.e 5, 10 or 20 cents) for each job that they do. If they are persistently naughty some is taken away. I give pocket money for things like helping me tidy the kitchen, putting their pyjamas or toys away, and helping me unpack my deliveries and wrap things ready to be posted for customers (I own a little online business). I think that rather than just give pocket money, children need to learn that money is a reward for hard work, and that because it is hard work to earn, it should be looked after and used carefully. Eldest loves counting and saving her money, and often asks me what she can do to help. She now asks to help without mentioning any pocket money at all.

 

When I was a teenager I didn't care about celebrities, I didn't want to be fashionable and actually rebelled against it to some extent, and I used to spend my spare time writing letters for Amnesty International and the like. I know it is a long time ago now (I am 36), but children and teenagers seem to have changed beyond recognition. It does seem all about want, want, want, money, celebrity...etc. I see it in my teenage nieces. They seem to have to have the latest iPhone or whatever and throw a hissy if they can't have it because all of their friends have and they don't want to be the odd one out. Back in my day, it was cooler to be the odd one out!

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