Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How could mothers do that?

Is this the conclusion to this sad story?

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I am still feeling low from yesterday's news that a boy from my son's Form has been diagnosed with leukaemia. I've known this young boy since he was a few weeks old. His mum and I were in the same ante-natal group.

We had visited each other, the boys have played together, and it was after long discussions with me that they decided to move JD to our school.

Then today we learn that a certain mother has been charged in court for neglecting her child and perverting the course of justice.

Do I feel sorry for the mother or the child? I am not sure.

A young woman of 32 with six plus one (according to her sister, she had forgotten she had seven) children with different fathers. How does this developed nation manage to breed families like this?

By tweaking the 'survival of the fittest' principle seems to be a most likely answer.

In a typical non-welfare state, young girls will look for mates that they can be sure would look after and protect them and any offspring. Mothers will teach, educate, brainwash their daughters to ensure that if they did decide to engage in sexual relations, then they must choose someone likely to be top dog.

After nearly two generations of the welfate state, however, mothers and daughters have forgotten this very important survival instinct. With the delusion that 'welfare' or 'gah'ment' would look after them, even give them a property of their own, daughers do not see the need to seek out a strong, protective partner any more.

In fact, the more feckless the partner, the better their chances of getting their own accommodation without the encumberance of the useless father. And the child will be 'my child', over which such young persons have total and complete control, and from whom unquestioning love could be assured for years to come.

We are talking of young girls who probably never had a sense of control over their own lives and bodies before. Being in charge of their new-born infant is the 'rite of passage' that finally makes them feel grown-up.

What about the father's story?

In days gone by, these men with no proper jobs would not have found a partner or married. Girls would avoid anything to do with such men and these men might never father a child -- at least knowingly -- in their life-time. His genes die out.

But the current state of affairs/welfare means it suits some young men to father children irresponsibly. They might be jobless, they might be illiterate, but their equipment works; they are not firing blanks. At least it gives them some street cred.

And so the vicious circle begins. The 'under-class' is not something the politically-correct wish to discuss. They are there, they are eating up a lot of public resources in terms of benefits, income support, social workers to protect vulnerable children, but we pretend they do not exist.

This news story brings into public scrutiny once again some of the sordid details of what happens when we allow generations to go down the route of no-work-rely-on-benefits culture. Yet, when this case blows over, we will return once again to creating and breeding (literally) many more families like that, at taxpayers' expense.

Why do we give incentives to teenage mothers to have babies out of wedlock knowing that the future does not bode well for them and their babies? "Because we must care for the babies" is our answer. We must provide for the mother so that the baby could thrive.

Nonsense.

Some would further argue that the benefits they live on are barely enough to sustain them. So these could hardly be considered 'incentives'.

What utter nonsense!

When a young person goes from dropping out of school to being on benefits on the basis of having a baby, we have denied her her future. We have denied her any incentive to make a life of her own. We have denied the baby a chance to be brought up by two loving educated parents who would know something of nutrition, discipline and common sense so that the child would thrive both at home and at school.

If we care for these babies, we should endeavour instead that they were not born in the first place. It is very hard for me to say this, considering the fact that I myself nearly did not get the chance to be born. But I came into this world, and despite poverty, despite disadvantage, managed to make good, through sheer hard work.

If we want to stop unwanted babies, we must begin by empowering young people so that the girls realize that they do not need to be a mother to be a whole person, and young boys do not need to think that they must boast of fathering children before they could walk tall like a real man.

If I -- or anyone -- were to say let's encourage the institution of marriage, I will be shot at. Yet everyone knows and every research study has shown that children do best in school and experience less poverty, etc when they live in households with two parents in a stable relationship.

By encouraging marriage one is said to be old-fashioned, or even Fascist. Yes, there are non-married couples in loving, lasting relationships and whose children thrive. There are many good examples.

Yet the power of logic is such that if we can find a contradictory case, ("Look! We have x number of well-brought up children, we are not married, so how can you say that we are not as good as being in a marriage?"), then the premise does not stand.

Perhaps to help these children, politicians and social commentators must now speak of stable co-habitation in contrast with families where a child's parents have multiple partners and produce children from innumerous casual relationships.

Until young girls learn (and probably not from their mothers) that their future is best ensured by not having babies too early, that they must find a partner who could protect and provide, etc, yes, being old-fashioned, would this circle be broken. Only then can they break out of poverty. Only then could their own children stand a chance of doing better.

Sociologists speak of a 'culture of poverty' (Oscar Lewis), and we are not discharging our responsibility by feeding this culture instead of helping future generations lift themselves out of poverty.

It comes down to the old adage: teach a (wo)man to fish.

So I am doubly depressed.

Back to Organic-Ally.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's why I feel so unhappy about all the discrimination against gay people. There are so many screwed up straight people that get benefits. Gays don't have children and don't bother anyone, but suffer a lot for not getting "married".

Laura Brown said...

I remember how horrified I was to learn that single mothers in Britain can continue living off benefits, with no pressure to find work, until their youngest child turns 16. Back in the U.S. we heard urban legends about single women who kept having kids just to get a meal ticket from the government, but in the UK these legends could actually be true!

In my opinion, governments should stop giving any financial reward to anyone for having children, including such things as Child Benefit or tax breaks. If people can't afford to bring up a child on their own income, then they shouldn't have one. Not only must we break the cycle of welfare dependency, we must also confront the fact that the world is overpopulated and that this is having, and will continue to have, terrible consequences for every living thing on this planet.

I agree totally with your ideas about empowering young people so they realise they have other choices in life besides being parents. I would add that young people need to be educated better about birth control and sexual health, and that contraception should be more readily available. I don't buy the argument that this will cause more teenagers to be sexually active; if kids have been brought up with strong values, having pills or condoms available will not make them abandon those values. As for the regrettably high number of kids who are not taught the right values, at least they will not end up ruining their lives or being a burden on society.