He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language or had simply lost my mind. Rather than being the exception, I think this example has become the rule. No one, from politicians to celebrities to our own kids, seems able to admit they were wrong or take responsibility these days.
Alamy "I blame the parents" once conveyed the formless belief that society was getting worse because discipline was on the slide. As a phrase and an idea, it seemed ready-packed for parody, the kind of thing that only Basil Fawlty would really believe. And yet now parents are routinely blamed for every ill that can befall a child's behaviour, and of course every negative social outcome, since what is a social problem but a number of people, usually young ones, all doing a problematic thing at the same time.
Whenever there is significant social alienation — evidenced by rioting, unemployment or high drug abuse — it will be blamed, one way or another, on parenting. The Centre for Social Justice is keen on the word "dadlessness": I imagine because it is a way of blaming single mothers without literally saying so and risking sounding like an s Tory.
The reliance on neuroscience is a particular feature of today's debate, with the cognitive perils of "problem parenting" often used as a basis for social policy, without any concrete discussion of how watertight this evidence is and what it can properly be used to justify Ellie Lee, at Kent University, is fascinating on this ; she is running a conference on neuroscientific research into the infant brain on Monday and Tuesday.
Another participant is Stuart Derbyshire, whose ideas are precied here. There are a number of problems with this approach.
First, it equates poverty with bad parenting quite blithely, seemingly unaware and demonstrably uninterested that the middle and upper classes have failings of their own: Second, it eschews any political reading of problem behaviour: Once you accede to this approach, you might have to commit to an expensive solution — Sure Start was never cheap — but you stop having to ask whether inequality itself might be the problem, and tackling that would be both more expensive and more combustible.
Third, a lot of the "evidence" is much too embryonic, or partial, or contested, to actually warrant that title.
I could carry on, but, better still, why not come online and discuss it. I expect many people to concentrate on the issue of inequality of opportunities, particularly those created by wealth and income inequalities.
Typically, however, people conflate correlation with causation when they mention such issues. No one really takes seriously enough the idea that you could well get correlations between anti-social behaviour and poverty partly because the people who are already behaving anti-socially will be unlikely to succeed financially.
Oddly enough, people aren't really that fond of employing people who'll antagonise their customers, or contribute to a toxic working environment.
Instead the narrative is always that poverty, or sometimes inequality, causes anti-social behaviour of one sort or another, when it may well be the other way round to some extent. Note that if something like this were the case, it may go some way to explaining why addressing inequalities of opportunities with welfarist policies paid for by progressive taxation have limited effectiveness.
They drag up the standards of living for the poorest members of our society, and increase the opportunities on paper, but without really addressing whether a significant contribution to the problem is entrenched sub-cultures of people who have normalised to an anti-social way of life, and bring up children who are similarly normalised to such sub-cultures.
I think the reality is that it's going to be very hard indeed to come up with a suitable evidence-base for welfare policy. We're just going to have to admit that we don't know. And then it comes down to judgements about plausible mechanisms through which the whole sorry cycle of limited opportunities and kids with limited opportunities persists.
My suggestion would be extremely localised, targeted policies where the emphasis is on self-respect, developing inter-personal skills especially how to deal with anger and aggression. But I'll be completely honest that this suggestion is entirely driven by an intuitive feel for what I think might be socially effective, as opposed to some evidence-based policy.
I guess my question is - is there any reason for confidence that such evidence is 'embryonic', as opposed to in a state of permanent arrested development? Isn't there a real possibility that we'll never really know what to do, or will we always just be left with our hunches as to what works?
As a direct answer to your question, I think you're right that evidence as it's presented by, say, The Spirit Level - where a consistent correlation is shown between inequality and a host of social problems - is unlikely ever to be accepted by all of us as proof of one single proposition.
I found that convincing as a warning against inequality, but as you say, some part of my willingness to be convinced is down to my instinct that people cooperate better and empathise with one another more when there aren't huge differences in their incomes.
But someone else might have instincts which tell them just as strongly that there are innate deficiencies in some people, which lead them to under perform in relationships, at work, and therefore the inequalities they suffer are just another symptom of their deficiency. In the end, it's possible to over-rely on evidence, since there are some things we will never know, at which point we have to make a judgement - do I think that some people are greatly superior to others, and therefore deserve the advantages that accrue to them, or do I think that the tolerance band for human excellence is actually pretty small, ie, we're all great, in the right circumstances.
But on this specific point, about parenting, I think there is more evidence to thrash out before we fall back on instinct: I think there is much too much that is extrapolated from evidence which is actually quite extreme, and quite slight.
I don't know if you looked at either of those papers I linked to, but a lot of the neuroscience is frankly dodgy. And my worry about using the brain scans of Romanian orphans to demonstrate why families without large enough libraries might have anti-social children is a the precedent of using something so tenuous as a basis for social policy and b that the end result of a lot of this rhetoric is that once a three-year-old has been under-cared for, the damage is irreversible.
For a start, that isn't true, and secondly, it's a pretty dangerous place for a government to site itself, as a force for good in the early years but impotent thereafter.
Depends what is meant by "blame".
There are many elephants in the room over this issue I'm sure, but one of the very sad ones I have come across is: Is it surprising that their kids don't respect them either, and don't want to be told by them what to do?
Punishing parents for their kids' crimes just gives kids who are disillusioned by their parents yet another stick to beat them with. Zapthecrap points out that people often get onto the social services radar - for good reasons - but can't get off, and then they become a "problem family" almost by default post-natal depression is an excellent example.Media Violence Essay; Media Violence Essay.
Media Violence and Violence in Society educational institutes and parents alike. Does violence in the media influence the behavior of society? Some say yes, others say no. Parents and teens themselves have wondered about their effects because of numerous concerns raised with regards to the.
Instead of blaming the promotion of fatty foods and low physical activity levels on our society, parents must learn to limit these for the health of their own children. In society today, there’s been a growing trend of blaming parents for a child’s behavior.
Whenever there’s a tragedy or a child behaves in a way that’s dangerous, harmful, irresponsible or “wrong,” people always ask, “Where were his parents?!”.
Obesity: The Parents to Blame Instead of blaming the promotion of fatty foods and low physical activity levels on our society, parents . Blaming The Victim Why Society Should End Victim Blaming America is known as the land of the free and the home of the brave.
This essay will aim to highlight some of these for a specific group citing specific examples of a hate crime, restorative justice models that can be applied to the group.
and their actions need to be. Instead of blaming the teen, parents should also take a step back and realize that they have raised this child.
A curfew only restricts the time that the teen can get in to trouble. A curfew only restricts the time that the teen can get in to trouble.