Did you see Panorama last night? http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8615000/8615795.stm
It really proved the point I was making in my last post about poverty of parenting!
It was about the shocking waste of NHS resources on what the hospital staff described as preventable childhood conditions, some of which even required surgery.
The examples they gave were of things like tooth decay in children as young as two from bad diet and neglect of a healthy teeth brushing routine, hearing problems in children caused by parents smoking – even smoking out of the house can be harmful as toxins from smoking can remain on an adults’ breath for two hours after a cigarette and in the fibres of textiles. And the worst of all; obesity as a result of too much misdirected loving in the form of giving into children’s demands for too much food, too much of the wrong food, and too little exercise. And this in kids from two to sixteen. Excess alcohol also being a problem where A&E are treating drunkenness whilst the real emergencies sit and wait.
The doctors in the programme said they were saddened and shocked at children having to go through such traumatic operations as having teeth out under general anaesthetic, blocking the operating theatres when other patients needed urgent surgery for heart or cancer treatments and using valuable funds, when most of these procedures could have been avoided by different parenting.
Most of the parents in the programme were doing what they thought was best, some making huge changes when they understood what changes were required. And the narrator suggested at one point it was poverty that contributed these sad scenarios situations.
But it’s not a poverty of physical circumstances. It is a poverty of awareness of what you need to do as a parent, not just for your child, but for the benefit of everyone else too. A poverty of parenting that is the cause. A lack of a sense of your responsibility as a parent, and a lack of the understanding that what you do as a parent not only affects you and your child, it actually affects everybody.
Which is why it needs our serious attention.