Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Parental Responsibility to anti-social behaviour.

Good morning. I'm up to my eye this morning but something on the Brenda Power show-oh why do I listen- caught my attention. Though it is a different story it relates to some of the view made in the comments section of yesterday's post about our anti-social society.
A woman was on discussing the carry on of teenagers on her estate, decrying the behaviour of young boys and girls as they drink and take drugs and drive stolen cars and generally behave in a very anti-social way. This lady was quite calm, resigned almost, but she made the point that should anyone approach the parents of these children in the majority of the cases the parents will deny their children's involvement. Indeed they could be quite aggressive of hearing about their children's antics. Thus, shielded and protected, unchecked and unfettered, the anti-social carry-on continues.
But recently a judge here in Ireland handed out an order to the father of a delinquent, a young boy who thieved on a regular basis. This man was a member of the Roma Community and the boy in question had been arrested many many times. Fed up, the judge finally ordered that should the boy be arrested again it would be the father who went to jail in his stead.
It this the way forward? Will this make a dent in anti-social behaviour? If feral kids don't give a damn about society or neighbours, perhaps seeing their mam or dad being carted off might make them mend their ways. Perhaps being faced with jail time will FORCE parents to care where their children are and what they get up to.
Or is this a step too far? Is it shifting the blame? Can parents of teenagers BE held accountable for their child's actions?
I'm curious. What do we think?



Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Buenos días.

Its definately a popular idea FMC, and it does have its merits in targeting the parents, but I don't think the consequences of jailing a parent are fully realised.

Firstly - I would assume that there are other dependents in the family - brothers or sisters of the offender - whose homelife would be severely disrupted, perhaps being forced into fostercare for the duration of the sentance. Is this an acceptable consequence? It would place a huge and costly burden on the state / taxpayer.

Secondly - I accept the majority of parents are at fault for the 'feral kids' situation, but not all. It's unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.

I think forced and extended community service should be the initial response on the kid, then a heavy fine on the parents, then prison for the kid and as a last resort, prison for the parents.

11:39 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I've no doubt mentioned it here before but I agree Sheepie with forced community service for kids that engage in anti-social behaviour. But how to implement it would be the real difficulty.

11:51 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

I'd happily sign up for the job of community service enforcer.
Even if its minimum wage, the joy of sticking a cattle prod into the back of a wayward spide / knacker would make it all worthwhile.

12:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Green Ink said...

Cut dole, evict from social housing. If these aren't factors, massive fines.

12:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sort of penalty is just "farting against thunder"
The Roma father of this "errant youth" is not going to give a monkeys.
As far as the Romas are concerned they shouldn't be allowed into the country. All they do is steal and beg, we have enough of our own that can do that thanks.
Never was I more happy than when they and their do gooder supporters got fucked off the airport roundabout. Where did they think they were for fuck sake, the customs officers must be asleep.

But back to the point, I hapen to know some very good parents who reared some right stinkers and if they had been put in jail, it would hardly be fair. I think that national service should be compulsory. Before anyone accuses me of being a Nazi, take a look at Switzerland, they have National service and they are a civilised country.

As for the Romas, fuck off back to whereever it was you came from, I'm sick to the teeth of them begging on the streets and hauling small babies out on the pavement with them to enhance the sympathy factor

12:27 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

There might be something to the cut in dole Green Ink. I know people, well I know 'of people' who are third generation social welfare recipients, and they have absolutely zero interest in abandoning the social teat. They are housed and paid for by the state and as such have little interest or pride in their own homes, let alone that of their neighborhood. Certainly these would be the very same people who would kick up blue murder if challenged or accused of being anti-social, yet that is EXACTLY what they are, and for free.

12:32 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I should also point out that 'celtic tiger boom' didn't alter a single factor of their lives either, except to make them more resentful of the 'haves.' Because everyone know 'the haves' just land on their feet and get where they are by chance.

12:36 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

The judge's ruling sounds good on one level, but then I'm not sure how it teaches the wild child that they are ultimately responsible for their own behavior.
I'm sure many of them could care less if mom or dad was jailed.

In a really fucked up local ruling I saw yesterday, a judge here in Ontario locked up a pregnant 19 year old to force her to testify against her abusive boyfriend. She's due next week.

12:52 p.m.  
Anonymous Green Ink said...

We're talking repeat offenders where the parents do nothing to address the anti-social behaviour here. Two strikes, no dole, three strikes and your out on your fucking ear. I support the welfare state in principle but not when it's a handout. Recipients should have to work for the dole, end of story. As for the Roma, I won't ever generalise a trait to a specific ethnicity. I think a better way of looking at it is Ireland gets a lot of wankers from all backgrounds because we've a nice soft dole regime and we're famous for it. Roma or local wino, they all get a winning "fuck off" from me when they beg.
As for the resentment factor FMC, the way to becoming a Have is to become a Do. I resent people that Don't. It's not the job of society to carry those who won't use their own fucking legs.

1:00 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Green Ink, I agree, welfare should be a short term solution to a short term situation. I'm not talking about genuine cases or disability either, but there's plenty of folk on welfare who could work and don't.

Really Medbh, what was her supposed crime?

1:03 p.m.  
Anonymous John said...

"A judge ordered her to be placed in jail on a material witness warrant after the Crown prosecutors in her boyfriend's case expressed concerns she wouldn't testify at his trial."


1:20 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

FMC made a comment about 2nd generation social housing people. There is an issue here that is very interesting. first of all, it is much, much easier for a girl of 17 who has very little education and nobody to provide leadership for her to get pregnant and live off the social than it is for her to get a job and live by her own means. If you go into Markevitz house or Pearse house in the inner city, you will see dozens of girls like this in there sitting around smoking cigarettes and having a good laugh in the middle of the day, while their kids run about the place. This is a much easier and more stable life than these girls might hope for if they had to go into the workforce. It is not a good situation for Ireland or their kids or society in general. I have some sympathy for the girls - they simply asked themselves the question "what is the easiest thing to do?" and it is simply to copy Jacinta and Beyonce and have a child and go on the benefit. In the fulness of time, they will get a council flat (as opposed to having to buy one for 300,00 euro, which would be impossible).

So, devoid of notions of taking responsibility for themselves, with the state (thanks to our constitution) being legally responsible for them, they continue the family tradition of sponging off the state.

If any government passed laws to change this, they would immediately be voted out of power. Immediately. It would cause 10 TDs to loose their seats (seats that would be filled by the Shinners for sure) and so it will never change.

In these estates, the youngsters have no motivation, no people to look up to, there is a feeling that "we have less than everyone else" (a feeling that is being stoked up by fringe politicos) and what ensues is delinquincy, apathy, anti-social behaviour and I'm just talking about the parents....who are usually youngsters anyway.

If you live in Finglas now you are 30 times more likely to be killed violently than if you live in the 'average' place in Ireland. This is shocking.

What are needed are the rules to be clearly laid out - if your child's behaviour is possibly because of your bad parenting, then you are responsible. If you have made every effort to get the child educated and you have tried to provide leadership for the child, then you cannot be held responsible. However, right now there are thousands of people who feel that their children are simply their meal/flat ticket.

2:01 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

I agree with Doc - The dole issue is one that constantly grates on me - it should be cut across the board to fall below minimum wage levels, otherwise with all the benefits and hand-outs there is no incentive to seek gainful employment.
A job, no matter how tedious, gives a sense of accomplishment which breeds pride and self-worth, which would eventually filter down to the kids and hopefully end the cycle of social and moral deprivation.

2:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I agree with Sheepie's last comment. I also think that every dole collector should be made to do some sort of work unless they are severely incapacitated or genuinely ill. Somebody with a "bad back" or "stress" or "depression" can use their hands to do some kind of manual or admin type task at home. Feral kids should be made to wash graffiti off buildings and pick up litter - they might actually start to feel some sense of worth that they are actually contributing something to their own community. They also need more well run community centres and sports fields where kids energy can be harnassed. Teach the little tykes team sports, boxing, drama - anything that will capture their interest and keep them off the streets with time on their hands. And the local council should hire some huge community bouncers trained by the SAS (or its Irish equivalent) to crush all the weasel drug dealers, with physical force where necessary. Blimey, do I really mean all this? :-)

2:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Jesus Docky, that is a depressing piece to read.
Thanks John.
Shebah and Sheepie, I think we're in an agreement. There has to be a break in the cycle somewhere or it just continues on.

4:00 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

God, this is strange - no arguments. Where's Nonny when you need her...

4:15 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello fmc, I'm mraid. might find this interesting:

The poor suffer, of course. But why do some poor people act to ensure their continued indigence? Charles Karelis wonders... more:

4:24 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Thanks for the link, I'll head over and take a gander at it.

4:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think that every dole collector should be made to do some sort of work unless they are severely incapacitated or genuinely ill. Somebody with a "bad back" or "stress" or "depression" can use their hands to do some kind of manual or admin type task at home.

....I think you are confusing those on disability payments and dole payments.
I agree that in these times there is work out there and there is no excuse to be on the dole.
However, the fact that someone may receive disability benefits for any of the ills you have mentioned, should not be seen as an issue. Only my opinion, but any of us can get sick, and I am glad to live in a country where such people are looked after.

4:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

Anon - there are a great many people claiming free money in this country with the above mentioned ailments - which doctors can't prove. Some of these "ill" people have recently been caught out(on video!) moonlighting for cash in various jobs. One guy - so "severely disabled" that he could not even get out of the house without a wheelchair was filmed kicking a high ball over the goalpost while coaching a football team!!!Obviously, as I did clearly state, genuinely ill people should get help. Councils need to check regularly on the many and varied "sick" claimants. The rest of us are paying for their idleness. Fuckwits.

5:17 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mraid--thanks for the link! It seems conversations about topics such as these always get bogged down in the personal responsibility/weight of poverty nexus and it's beyond refreshing to come at it a different way.
I'm going to have to check out that Karelis book.

5:48 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Her crime FMC is being a poor black woman. YOu can bet that if her abuser was a rich white man, she's be out of jail.
Fucking disgrace.

6:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh said...

When insurance companies pay long-term illness benefit, they have someone who checks that the person isn't working (as far as it can go - generally that they aren't back working for themselves). And this lead to a reduction in claims; I'd imagine both because of folks who were caught, and the knowledge that checks were done.

I agree with lots of the stuff being said; but I do think there-but-for-the-grace-of-the-great-noodle as well. I mean who knows ... if I was surrounded by lack of achievement, lack of chances in life, parents who didn't instil ideas about trying hard and working hard (and sit me down most severely when I was a twit), who knows. I'd hope I'd pull myself out of it; but that takes a lot more gumption than when you are starting off with a fair few advantages in life.

10:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Cate said...

I thought that any child over the age of 12 was responsible for their own crimes? Maybe I'm wrong? Eitherway putting an unruly child into an institution is akin to sending them to university for further criminality so again throwing the frying pan into the fire.

9:26 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks grims, i want to check out the book myself. poverty, the whole nature/nurture question, it's complicated, but i do think it is impossible to imagine how it is when faced with so little choices and opportunities.

but poor doesn't equal lazy and anti social.... there are plenty of hard working poor, far more than the messers that make the news. Anti social behaviour is hardly just about poverty... there's something else missing when people carry on like that. Parents should be made responsible but not with the threat of prison. It would be useful as a threat, but to actually send parents to prison serves no long term gain or improvement to the situation, it would just make it worse. And keeping someone in prison is EXPENSIVE. I like the idea of military or community service though. Physical endurance/teamwork/taking orders/taking responsibility and having to clean up the mess that some people make on the streets. The parents and the kids should have to do it...but implementing it is the next question alright.

And cutting benefits won't solve anti-social behaviour, which stems from being so excluded anyway. If these kids weren't so out of the loop they wouldn't behave like that...two tier societies are seen to have more problems with anti-social behaviour that more socially inclusive ones.


10:27 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"I like the idea of military or community service though. Physical endurance/teamwork/taking orders/taking responsibility and having to clean up the mess that some people make on the streets. The parents and the kids should have to do it...but implementing it is the next question alright."
Yep, implementation is the key. There's no point otherwise.

11:05 a.m.  
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