Another day and another survey about child rearing. This time on the best countries in Europe for children to grow up. The UK ranks 24 on the list apparently, cue much navel gazing in the British media about the breakdown of the family, being too PC, and how one should bring back the birch, hanging and the stocks.
As someone who is bringing up her child overseas, this is something I often think about. There are pros and cons of anywhere. I like Hong Kong because it is very safe, the Chinese love children and so Eve is welcome almost anywhere, and there are lots of beaches, parks and most things are free. The schools are good, there is a good work ethic, we live close to a lot of very interesting places and countries and have a much more diverse group of friends than we would if we were in London. I don't like the pollution, the almighty dollar mentality, and some of the manners. But, for a child, it is a great place and I am happy for Eve to grow up here.
Which got me thinking about what it is about the UK that makes people think it is so bad for children. Whenever I go back and spend time there with Eve, and with my niece and nephews, it strikes me as a great place for children. Lots of open spaces, great museums, free and plentiful libraries and playgrounds, Europe so close. OK so the state school system gets a lot of knocks, but it isn't so bad (I went to one of London's sink schools until I was 16 and turned out OK), and it is free and with parental involvement works very well. Having read the article a number of times, I can't see what is so bad about the UK that can't squarely be laid at the feet of parents themselves for not taking advantage of all of this.
I would be interested in hearing from other Mummies, and non-Mummies, about where they live and what they think.