Thursday, 11 August 2011

Where Are Your Kids At Night?

My son gets his GCSE results in a couple of weeks’ time and then we’ll know if he can stay on at his school to do the ‘A’ levels he’s chosen.

He took his exams a year early, having been moved up academically at the age of five.  Choosing his subjects was tough - as he’s relatively younger than his peers, he still doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life and even some of his older peers are struggling.

One thing I know he won’t do though is loot and pillage like a demented caveman, as we’ve seen in the last few days.  People are calling these thugs ‘animals’ but I find that insulting - animals DO NOT behave like that, unless it’s for food or survival.

And why won’t he choose this as a career path?  Well, obviously because he’s been taught that it’s wrong.  From a very early age a child is (or should) be taught that they can’t have everything they want.  If they like another toddler’s toy, do we allow them to take it home?  If they see something in a shop that we can’t afford to buy them, do we let them take it from the shop without paying?  It’s called being a parent and the job we perform is parenting i.e. teaching and guiding our children to become decent responsible human beings.  Not too difficult is it?

I’ve watched the footage, along with the rest of the nation, and words quite simply fail me.  Eleven year old kids were seen helping themselves to goods.  What’s going on here?  Why were those children on the streets at that time of night in the first place?  And how many of the parents will do the right thing and shop them to the police when they realise they’ve got new designer trainers?  At the risk of being shot down in flames, I reckon that figure will be a big fat zero.  They’ve clearly not been parenting in the first place, so why start now?  And, hey, new trainers?  Great, more money in the coffers for mum or dad’s next booze or drugs fix.  These rioters were not coming home with arms full of food because they were starving and desperate to feed their families - it was greed and anarchy through and through.  If my son ever arrived home from school with so much as a new ruler in his pencil-case, I’d always question where he’d got it from.  If it’s not yours, it shouldn’t be there.

He knows that the world doesn’t owe him a living.  He’s already looking at a part-time business idea (bless!) because he wants to buy a new computer.  He realises that there are certain things we can’t afford to fund for him and that’s just the way life is.  When he considers career options he always asks what the salary might be because there are particular things he’d like to do in life and, for those, he’ll need a well-paid vocation.  He’s still in two minds about whether on not he wants to go on to Uni, as he doesn’t like the idea of starting out life in debt if a degree isn’t going to further his chances in life anyway.

He’s a young man who knows what he wants (materialistically) but he realises it will take hard work.  It is quite simply not a case of ‘I want it, I get it’.  So where do these looters get that idea from?  Try this for a thought.  It was reported that a group of young women were seen heading off to a riot in Clapham, shouting to one another about the items they were looking for, almost like a shopping list.  Sounds frightening enough, doesn’t it?  But it gets worse.  They had their young children in tow with them - the future generation.  Is there any hope?

And, as my very wise fifteen year old pointed out, the implications of all this go much further than we think.  If he should be fortunate enough to save up enough money to buy his new computer and he heads off to eBay with his hard-earned cash, how does he know he’s not lining the pockets of one the criminals who took it into their own hands to get stock?

I’m sure you all feel as sick to the stomach about these events as I do.  As decent human beings, what sort of a world are we bringing our children up in?  I think my eighty-three year old mother summed it up when she said, “There was more kindness in this country when we were at war.”

How sad is that?

And I’m well aware of all the goodness and community spirit which has shone through the disorder of the last few days, but I’d just like that to be the case all of the time, without it coming out of negativity.

Diary of Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.


  1. I so agree with you... you said it in a much more polite way than me though! ;)

  2. I think you voiced perfectly what a lot of us have been thinking over the past couple of days, and I agree with everything you've said in this post. I've felt everything from shock to anger over the images and pictures I've seen on TV lately, and I think everything you've said here is what the majority of us are feeling. I just wish a lot more young people had the same values as your obviously very wise teenage son. And I wish him all the best for his GCSE results. :)

  3. My eldest son is eleven. The idea of him and his mates looting and vandalising is unthinkable. I've been following the news and commentary, but I just can't understand how it's all gone so far.