We need a solution to the problems of miscreant children and teenagers. If you have read this blog at all you will know that I was a latchkey single-parent child for a number of years, and in consequence have strong views concerning the extended family, latchkey children, and homes with two wage earners. .Everyone today seems to be on a time schedule, they are rushing, to virtually get a quart into a pint pot, with the result so many people today are not taking the time to enjoy their lives, they are too busy rushing for the next appointment, be it shopping, work or housework. Mostly, from their expression, I’m certain it’s not entertainment.
Right up until the 60s, most wives looked after the house, the children and the husband. Everyone then had time to relax, enjoy simple pleasures, and if their lifestyle wasn’t all that they would have liked, they settled for what they had, and made the very best of it. When I moved house, three years ago, our furniture from the old house was too large and to augment what we had I went to auctions. I was staggered at the quality, and the quantity of what was on sale and shocked at the prices which were so low. My daughter told me that it was common for people to change their decoration and their furniture every few years. As someone who had lived in a house for 42 years with very little change, except when necessary, I found this astounding and one of the reasons I assume people are running up debts. It isn’t as though the articles that they are buying won’t last, some fall into that category but the greater proportion, if looked after, would still last a long time. It therefore seems that the problem is basically trying to maintain a higher standard of living than one can really afford, and this means that everyone has to put their shoulder to the wheel, come what may, and devil take the hindmost. The ones to suffer from this philosophy can be the children, not from material neglect, but intellectual and psychological.
I believe the real problem for miscreant children is that they are left too much to their own devices, irrespective of how many parents they have, they behave in many cases as latchkey children. The solution therefore is for people to resist the urge for ever greater spending, relax more and spend more time with their children.. The fact the young girls become pregnant in order to leave home to have a home of their own, irrespective of the fact that this is not a solution but a step into drudgery, causes one to wonder why they were so keen to leave home in the first place and whether this was because home was only somewhere where you ate and slept, there was no companionship and no fun. Parents under stress can be irascible, and not understanding.
The Gang Culture from one who knows. If a young person needs company, it does not necessarily mean that he could choose the company that he really likes, but only the company that is available. These young people are not so much confused as bewildered, they want something but haven’t the reasoning power, nor the opportunity to obtain it, they want love and companionship, interest and entertainment. The gang culture is the only option on the block. Enter a gang and you immediately find you are at the bottom of the pecking order, it is you that keeps watch, is not included in the secrets, doesn’t enjoy the jokes because you have not the background, or you are the joke, and until you have risen in the ranks you are just as lonely in the gang as you were on your own. Later, when you have risen a little, you have to make a choice of whether you will continue doing as you are told, becoming involved in actions that go against the grain, or leave and go back to being alone. The gang is made up of people from school, so leaving the gang is not a severance, but a separation, and you are now a pariah day in and day out.
I guess it costs anything from 12 million to 18 million a year to hold the 12,000 plus ‘under 21’ prison population. Let us assume it is correct. In view of the age range, I assume that the 12,000 contains a high proportion of first-time offenders. Surely it would be preferable as well as economical to give these young people a short taste of prison life, and then put them back home under some supervision, take the money saved and put in some sensible project to help these young people, particularly the young girls likely to want to set up home – they must be costing the exchequer a bundle too.. To me standing on the sidelines, the deterioration of the situation seems exponential, and solutions seem thin on the ground.