Mimi

All that is
Ad 2:
2012-01-15 15:15:06 (UTC)

It is hard to get beyond the..

It is hard to get beyond the sneering tone of this piece, but I will give it a go. It seems to me that if we want to find out what matters in children’s lives, one good way is to ask them. (There are others.) And if we care about their well-being, we will listen to what they say. (That is not the same as doing what they want.) The claim that “society is divided by class and gender, not age” could only be made by someone looking through very narrow social filters indeed. Being concerned about children’s perspectives does not mean signing up to membership of the Children’s Liberation Front. Ask Libby Brooks, or read her excellent book The Story of Childhood. The idea of happiness as an orienting principle is not perfect, as Adam Phillips wrote in the Guardian a while back. But it has some merits, not least as a check that the measures that politicians claim are "good for us" really make our lives any better. Readers wanting a more considered (and yes, sympathetic) take on the Good Childhood report can check my blog post.

My mother grew up in the 1950s, did lots of household chores from a young age, owned one doll, wasn't allowed to choose her own clothes, was seen and not heard by today's standards etc and she had a happy childhood. Nowadays the well meaning left think a child is in poverty if their every whim isn't catered to. Boy X is unhappy because his primary school has maths lessons but no video game lessons, Girl Y is unhappy because her friends all have a shinier mobile phone than her.

Asking if a child is happy is not a reflection on whether or not they actually are and this "study" is neither use nor bloody ornament.

Reports like these make things sound worse than they are. Happiness can't be quantified and I suggest we would all be happier if we stopped worrying about guff like how happy the nation's children are and concentrate on our own and our families lives.


It seems to me that if we want to find out what matters in children’s lives, one good way is to ask them.

This attitude, that children are just miniature adults, is absolute rubbish and often rather damaging. Children live in the here and now and aren't going to say anything in this sort of study that would be of any use to policymakers. Their concerns are along the lines of, "Mum won't let me do xyz" or "Alfie stole my lunch money".

These studies are an utter waste of time and money and just encourage pasty hand wringers to worry about other people's children. Step out.


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