I'm usually proud to be British. I've always really loved our country with it's rainy weather and the black humour of the British people. I've never really considered moving abroad and I've always felt this was a good country to live.Today however I find myself wondering whether or not this is the right place to raise my child and if so; where is the safest and most comfortable place I can bring her up?
I've been watching all the UK riots on the news and it has come to my attention that a problem which I was already concerned about is a much bigger issue than I first thought. It's the problem of society and the 'yob culture'. The majority of people who are rioting seem to have no real reason to do so, they are just using the original protests as an excuse to loot and basically cause havoc. Classic quotes of 'We are doing it to show the rich people we can do what we want' and 'It's cos of the government', just make me furious. These people don't even know who's in power! They are also smashing up small shops owned by local families and burning houses and cars owned by locals! It's just mindless vandalism and there is NO excuse for it.
When I was young the country seemed to be so different (and I'm not that old before anyone says anything... I'm 25). OK I lived a fair amount of my life in small villages and on army bases, but I don't remember there being such a thing as chavs or gansters... at least not this kind of gangster! I used to go out and make dens in the woods or hang out with my friends playing games like hide and seek. I didn't start going out more with friends until I was about 14, when I moved to a new place and started mixing with different types of people. Up till then I had never seen young people smoking or drinking and it was a bit of a shock to me. Now it all seems commonplace; we see stories every day about young people involved in random violent attacks and we see young people out on the streets drinking and smoking all the time. I find myself wondering if there is any hope for my little girl to grow up without being exposed to too much of this sort of behaviour. I would be devastated if she started smoking or if she admitted to having sex underage. OK she's only 2 months, but surely the situation in the UK can only get worse?
Right now I'm watching a program called 'Cherry's Parenting Dilemmas' and it's really striking a chord. There are kids on there going out and binge drinking with their friends, before getting in trouble with the police. I started going out late and drinking when I was a little too young and if I could go back I would change that and steer clear. There is also a mum on there who has gone to a hippy extreme and is home schooling; right now I'm inclined to say I'm loving the idea. Being a lecturer I have to say I feel a little more qualified to take on that role than most parents, so I might be biased, but it's got to be a good way to prevent them getting involved with the wrong crowd. Does it limit their social advances though? How do these kids make friends?
So...what can I do? Keep my little girl locked up inside and home school her? Seriously; that is looking like a good option right now. Wouldn't it be better though to just find a nice quiet village somewhere and settle down, hoping that this will reduce her chances of exposure to this yob culture? I think a careful balance of both these options and an open, honest relationship will be the best thing for me and her. I can be honest about my experiences and how they have affected me, in the hope that she will learn what is best for her.
For all those parents in the same boat... let's hope it doesn't get any worse in the UK.