I really am trying to understand the difference between all the different parties (or at least the 3 main ones) but sometimes it all seems a bit jumbled. I've not liked David Cameron since he implied that the abuse of baby P was linked to the mother being 17 and not knowing how to look after a baby when in fact she was 27. I mean if you're gonna diss young parents at least get your facts rights FFS. So anyway I've been looking through some recent Centre for Social Justice reports on families as apparently these are used to inform Conservative's policies (It's an 'independent think tank' established by Iain Duncan Smith).

I thought I'd take a few extracts and add my unbiased objective comments (!!)

Firstly 'The Next Generation: A policy report from the Early Years Commission September 2008';

'Teenage parents are still trying to achieve emotional and physical maturity....The human brain itself is not fully mature until early adulthood. All this implies that the adolescent may find that their emotional world is centred more upon their own needs and so may be unprepared for the demands of a baby who needs their wholehearted and loving attention. Unfortunately, if parents lack emotional maturity, there is a higher risk of physical or emotional
abuse of their infants.
'

<Go tell that to other countries where it is perfectly natural to have children in late teens. It may be ‘socially' unacceptable but only because as a society we have invented an ideal that fits in with economic expectations. If the brain isn’t ready to look after a baby why employ teens in nurseries?  If the brain is not yet mature why send teens to university? Being a parent for the first time is about learning for anyone... irrespective of age.>

'The findings of research carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation of planned teenage pregnancy in areas of high poverty are particularly poignant. This study showed that for many young mothers, choosing to become pregnant was perceived to ‘correct’ their deprived childhoods and alter their lives for the better. Girls in the study reported ‘desperately wanting a baby’ from as young as nine. Their perceived lack of educational and career opportunities made the decision to start a family very young appear rational to them, and many of the young people in the study felt that their own lives had been improved by having a baby. However if many babies are being conceived by young parents partly to fill the emotional voids in their own history, some will be able to be very loving parents but others will struggle to meet their children’s needs for nurture. Ironically, this research indicates that those least well prepared for parenthood by their own lost childhoods could be those most likely to start a family early and repeat a negative intergenerational cycle.
'

<No it doesn’t, this was a targeted (not representative) sample of planned pregnancies in poor areas. There is no comparison to another group. I don't think the JRF indicate this at all. Grrr.>

Ok, Next report to receive my unbiased (!) judgment is 'Early Intervention:Good Parents, Great Kids, Better Citizens, 2008';

'My constituency...has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. However these and other indicators are symptoms of the problem, which is the failure to intervene early enough to break the intergenerational nature of underachievement. I often distill this in the tale of Sharon and Tracy. '

<nice names you picked there!>


'As a newly elected MP in 1987 I met Sharon at one of my regular advice surgeries. A typical 16- year-old single mum from one of the tough estates in my areas, '

<typical?>

'she was cradling Tracy, her new babe in arms.'

<Who calls their baby Tracey??? Even in 1987?!>

‘'Mr Allen, can you help me with my housing and child support problems?’ Sharon asked. I took the details and after a few letters and phone calls was able to help solve the immediate problem. Sixteen years pass by and one day the baby, Tracy, now a single mother, came to my surgery with her new babe in arms, Sharon Jnr. She said ‘Mr Allen can you help me with my housing and child support problems?’ While again I was able to help it was evident that for that family and many others, a generation of public funding had not altered the fundamentals. The lesson - repeated to me over and over again - was that unless we tackle the intergenerational nature of much of the deprivation and underachievement in my constituency, and many others like it, I will be receiving a visit from Sharon Jnr and her new baby in a few years time
.'

<But you are such a saint-why ruin that warm feeling of being better than everyone else?>

'Recent scientific research includes a growing body of evidence that children do better when raised by two parents. However, having a baby on one’s own has, in the culture of all too many housing estates and neighbourhoods, grown to be accepted as not only a valid option but as a rational choice for a teenager who is unhappy at home, longs for the love she has not felt in her parental home and sees no future for herself in the educational system. It is estimated that 75 per cent of under-18 conceptions are unplanned and around half end in abortion.'

<Wait a minute, didn’t you say that the problem was that they were planned?>

'Many of these girls are not yet mature enough to care for themselves properly, let alone care for a baby.'

<Why? Because you say so? Grrr again!>


All reports can be read here