Bad parenting, not the local MP, is at fault Squinter…

Notwithstanding the extraordinary apology in the Andersonstown News, David Adams picks up where Squinter laid off.. Only, unusually perhaps for a unionist commentator, (David) Adams believes that the blame for anti social behaviours in West Belfast does not lie with his namesake, the Sinn Fein MP, but with poor parenting.

Squinter’s anger is understandable, but it is hard to know what precisely he thinks Gerry Adams and his party should be doing. By the same token, it is somewhat disingenuous of Adams to blame the PSNI and “other criminal justice agencies” as though he believes they can eradicate the problem.

To varying degrees, they plague local communities right across Northern Ireland. At the top end of the scale, hardly a week goes by without reports of someone somewhere in the North being viciously assaulted, stabbed or beaten to death, for no discernible reason. Attacks on police, fire fighters and ambulance crews on emergency call-out are now so common, they barely warrant a mention.

In our usual self-absorbed Northern Irish way, we keep telling ourselves that all of this has something to do with a society emerging from conflict (as though thuggish behaviour will suddenly vanish like snow off a ditch upon the devolution of “normality”), completely ignoring the fact that problems of a similar nature, and worse, exist throughout Ireland and Britain.

There’s not much in the way of “emerging from conflict” to explain the violent and crime-ridden housing estates and the dangerous late-night city centres of Dublin, Limerick, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow, or any other Irish or British conurbation you care to think of. All of these places have something else in common with Northern Ireland; there too, they will lay the blame for out-of-control youngsters everywhere except where it properly belongs.

The elephant in the room is, according to Adams:

The real experts are hard-pressed, lowly paid primary-school teachers – now doubling as social workers, breakfast providers, and all-round surrogate parents. Ask them and they will readily point to where rampant anti-social behaviour has its roots, and where ultimately the solution lies: with parenting.

Almost exclusive responsibility for the bad behaviour of young people lies with parents, who neither know nor care about raising children properly. Yet if we dare mention the cost to society of large numbers of boys being raised in the complete absence of a positive male role model, and increasingly girls in the absence of a positive female one, then we are immediately accused of denigrating single mothers.

So it is better to say nothing, or simply lay the blame on the usual, largely amorphous scapegoats: the politicians, the police, and state agencies, although we never do get around to explaining how those people can possibly be held responsible for our children’s bad behaviour.

I’m not entirely sure there is no connection, as Adams argues, with a society coming out of conflict. Some of the widely accepted ‘community’ approaches to dealing with anti social crime required shortcutting legal and judicial processes, and the administration of some fairly heavy, anti social practices.

But his argument in part boils down the fact that simplying tapering off or ending those practices are not an end in themselves.

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  • Prince Eoghan

    >>The real experts are hard-pressed, lowly paid primary-school teachers – now doubling as social workers, breakfast providers, and all-round surrogate parents. Ask them and they will readily point to where rampant anti-social behaviour has its roots, and where ultimately the solution lies: with parenting.<

  • willowfield

    Adams (Davy, that is: not Gerry) is correct.

  • Gregory

    I think England may be worse, isn’t it obligatory for one in four residents of Newcastle upon Tyne to get a serious head injury once per annum?

    ‘Central Newcastle had the highest number of incidents of violence against the person, with 236.5 for every 1,000 residents.’

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1120016.stm

  • joeCanuck

    If Adams’ contention is correct, we need to ask the question:

    Why are parents so much worse today than they were 20 years ago?

    If we can answer that, then perhaps we can start working on a solution, or adopting a solution that some other jurisdiction has found to be effective.

    That is, of course, if Adams is correct.

  • Dec

    The ongoing dilution of parenting skills and responsibility is clearly a huge factor and i’ve previously vouched for making the parents jointly-responsible for their offsprings actions. The ‘society slowly emerging from conflict’ line is a convenient copout and neatly ignores the fact that most of these kids were toddlers when the IRA called its ceasefire.
    Further I suspect, the fact that, in October 2007, 174,343 people here were in receipt of DLA (over 10% of the population) is not unrelated.

  • DC

    Yes, Davy Adams is right in that the parents of Gerry Adams have a lot to answer for 🙂

    There was an article in the Irish News today by Jim Gibney laying the blame squarely at the feet of the PSNI and other agencies.

    Wishy washy time.

  • nmc

    Like many others I am one of the people that gets to deal with anti social behaviour on a daily basis. I have seen how shit parents teach their kids how to be shit people, to take no responsibility for their actions and to attack those weaker than themselves.

    I have a solution, being as is me having an 18 month old boy and all, I’m getting some plane tickets before he hits five and heading somewhere quiet where people respect their elders and the police beat up the criminals.

  • willowfield

    Why are parents so much worse today than they were 20 years ago?

    General loss of respect for authority in society, combined with and connected to the weakening of social and community institutions and organisations, e.g. churches, youth organisations. Increase in individualism.

  • Metacom

    “I’m getting some plane tickets before he hits five and heading somewhere quiet where people respect their elders and the police beat up the criminals.”

    China?

  • but?

    Yeah we can compare with Newcastle and other English cities all day but the question remains why is it just west Belfast thats so bad?

  • J Kelly

    But its not just West Belfast that violence, anti social behaviour, binge drinking, criminality and drug abuse are rampant thats the point. Its all over. In Derry in the past year there have been a number of horrific murders a young guy in Creggan kicked to death, a man cyling home from a jazz night and only last week a young man murdered in Dungannon so its not just West Belfast.

  • overehere

    Yeah we can compare with Newcastle and other English cities all day but the question remains why is it just west Belfast thats so bad?

    I do not think it is confined to West Belfast though this would I suppose make some people very happy. Look at local newspapers every week and you will see the general vandalism that occurs. I originally come from a rural community and no matter when I call home the news is always about break ins and general vandalism.

    I agree with willowfield that some of the causes are the breakdown of institutions, but I also the “celeb culture” the kids are brought up in. The media is more interested in “celeb” news than the real news. Combine this with the ” I know my rights” attitude we hear every day from “victims” whether in the local supermarket or in the more political sphere, without any recognition of “your responsibilities” and you get this lop sided society.

    This in turn is backed up the “right on PC brigade” who simply reinforce the attitude that kids can do anything they want with no repercussions. Some then blame poverty,in some cases that may be true but I bet if you went to those houses you would see the obligatory 42″ plasma, game boy IPod etc.

    Which leads me on to another cause, children these days seem to get what ever they want when ever they want it. I do not know if this is the case in NI but over here especially in London children seem to be spoilt to the enth degree. If they are brought up with the notion that all you have to do is demand and you will get what you want of course you are going to have teenagers who think the same and if they do not get it then the parents are to blame.

    The Teachers Union here in England had their AGM and basically stated ” over induldged children are one of the boggest problems in their classes.

  • Ty

    I think Davey Adams is partially right, but its a cop out to blame the parents on their own for this state of affairs.

  • Little Eva

    anonymous
    You are thinking of the son of David ERVINE, arrested with his girlfriend after an altercation at a race course in the south.
    Surely an apology is in order.

  • The Raven

    Willowfield wrote: “Increase in individualism.”

    Here’s what an increase in individualism will get you: a memorial bench in Whitby.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/7314306.stm

  • The Raven

    Overehere wrote: “The Teachers Union here in England had their AGM and basically stated “ over induldged children are one of the boggest problems in their classes.”

    See?? SEE?? The parents aren’t even teaching them basic toilet training any more! OUTRAGEOUS!

  • Little Eva

    “Constant exposure over decades to legions of well-paid social manipulators and post-rational professional handwringers has us so frightened of causing offence we have become strangers to common sense and blind to the blatantly obvious.”

    Adams (Davey) might have added that the people he mentions, who like to lecture everyone else, don’t live within miles of the areas that are suffering from the menace of these gangs of thugs. No wonder they’re so relaxed about it, to them it’s just something that happens on television.

  • Gregory

    “Overehere wrote: “The Teachers Union here in England had their AGM and basically stated “ over induldged children are one of the boggest problems in their classes.” ‘

    A teacher with baby rape porn gets a caution and a kid with long hair or a crucifix has his education ruined by being booted off the premises or taught in isolation?

    They wanted that public serrvant thing, like hitting a nurse, if a parent thumps them, the parent gets an ehanced sentence,

    if the teachers sexually assault a schoolgirl on the other hand, he doesn’t. he probably gts told to buy the six year old a bike,

    It is all so darn one-sided. It is a blood-frenzy of child hate. They’re sick puppies.

  • Gregory

    “Yeah we can compare with Newcastle and other English cities all day but the question remains why is it just west Belfast thats so bad? ”

    Nah, I hear Ruane’s private office is a hot bed of undiscovered crime,

    they’re pissed at the media hounding them for covering up child abuse.

    Her career is over.

    G.

  • The Raven

    Gosh Greggors…it’s been over ten years since I used to follow your rants on ni.politics. Nothing has changed.

  • Gregory

    Rants cost money.

    When the gay mags in London tore into me I had to beat off rich patrons with a stick.

    I got a heap of dosh out of it. I’ve just got another wedge to do a campaign on Ms Ruane. The media are circling her.

    That Angela Smith perv audit in 2006 was a bit of a hox by the way.

    You read it here first.

    All the best

    G.

  • aquifer

    It is the parent(s)

    The damage to a child’s outlook is often accomplished by age 4, before our social agencies usually get a look in, though earlier support for children gets good results in the USA.

    And to speak the unspeakable, many parents have psychologically rejected their children at a young age. Too much trouble when you are trying to keep up with the Joneses, Kellys, Smiths or whoever, or when just trying to keep the capitalist wolf from kicking the door in.

    The catholic church, who prevent the most vulnerable accessing the full range of birth control options, also carry part of the blame. Their bid for religious market share could cost the planet.

    The author of ‘Freakonomics’, as well as pointing out that drug dealers generally live with their mothers (too many dealers leading to low profit margins, no money to rent their own place), also tallied falling crime rates to the availability of abortion services in earlier years.

    Lets propose that wanted children get a better start.

  • Gregory

    “The catholic church, who prevent the most vulnerable accessing the full range of birth control options, also carry part of the blame. Their bid for religious market share could cost the planet.”

    We need to get smaller, get out of the prostitution business in Cologne (didn’t know that did ya?),

    cop to that PIE stuff in Scotland,

    try to sort out the Bishop of Portsmouth (more brothels), yup, we are too many, and yet not enough.

    We need a few changes,

    G.

  • Bakunin

    As a parent, this was very hurtful.

  • Shore Road Resident

    When the gay mags in London tore into me I had to beat off rich patrons

    *snigger*

  • TAFKABO

    The Raven You’ve been hearing Greg’s mad rants for ten years?
    I’m a relative newcomer to his internet insanity, but by christ he gives good value for money, there’s no subject that he can’t turn into a conversation about kiddyfiddling.