The PROBLEM with PROBLEMATIC CHILDREN – What to do about them?

By Bob Crew            July 2007

When you see problem people (that is normal, average people, not those with learning difficulties) – problem children who become problem adults – making mistakes, getting things wrong and not making a success of their lives (sometimes making a mess of them), if you care about them, then you have a duty of care to tell them and to correct them.

But if they won’t listen – either because they don’t care what happens to them (ie they are self-destructive), or because they cannot be bothered (ie they are lazy), or because they are too stupid to learn how to make the right moves (ie they certainly are stupid!) - how many times should you tell them in order to save them from themselves?

Once or twice, or time and again?

Or should you give up on them (as many parents and some teachers indeed do)?

How much should you care or worry about them (if they refuse to learn, it’s their own affair, after all)?

How much should you care about the fact that they are obviously going down hill instead of up hill and that they will suffer educationally, socially and financially as a result, when they become much more disadvantaged than others (do children realise what this means?)?

Every observant parent, schoolteacher, social worker – everybody with half a brain – is aware of this problem, as they watch their own and/or other people’s children making the right or the wrong moves, as they watch children grow into adults who make wrong moves (and then complain, many of them, that it’s very unfair, because it wasn’t their fault!).

If these problem children/adults made the wrong moves because they were thick and stupid, maybe it wasn’t their fault (since they could not help being born thick and stupid). But if they made the wrong moves because they were lazy or self-destructive, then maybe it was their fault for not taking responsibility for the way they were, for not facing up to where they were going wrong, and correcting themselves while there was still time, even though they were falling behind others who were making the right moves because they were using their heads properly, as they took good care to take advice from the adults who cared about them.

In all families, schools and societies, between brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren, first and second cousins, friends, relatives and neighbours, we see children and adults who make the wrong and the right moves, with the latter making a success of themselves and their lives while the former fail (we also see some people, but not most, who succeed purely through privilege, rather than merit, and that is unfair - as is life! - but it’s a different matter entirely, because we are concerned here with most people who can only get ahead on merit, because they have no privileges or inherited wealth with which to get ahead).

So what is to be done about the problem children who become the problem adults who mess up their lives because – for reasons of stupidity, laziness or self-destruction – they repeatedly make the wrong moves, while others repeatedly get on because they make all the right moves?

Do we wash our hands of the wrong-headed children/adults who make the wrong moves?

Do we just ignore them, say ‘I told you so,’ kid them into thinking that it wasn’t their fault, that it was the fault of their parents or teachers who let them down (maybe some parents did let them down by not speaking up, or by throwing the towel in)? Do we just tell them plainly that they had better stop complaining (if that’s what they are doing) and put up and shut up, accepting the fact they must live with the consequences of having made the wrong moves, and so resign themselves to becoming second or third class citizens, in their second or third rate and maybe impoverished lives?

How to resolve this issue?

Politicians have generally and consistently failed to resolve it, as is plain to see wherever we travel in the world today, but is that surprising when wrong-headed children become wrong-headed adults who won’t learn the error of their ways, either because they cannot or will not?

Of course, there are examples of people who fail in life even though they have used their heads well and made the right moves – and that, too, is another matter – but most people who fail consistently, right throughout their lives (many of whom become anti-social and/or a drain on the state in consequence), are the problem children who become the problem adults who are the wrong-headed ones that are a presenting a seriously big problem for society and politicians.

Do we tell these problem children/adults “you’re shit, and you know you are, so go and find a shit job,” or do we tell them not to worry, because society will provide for them (ha, ha)? Whilst socialists/communists of course care about failed/problem people spiritually, there’s not much evidence that they have ever found a practical solution to this problem, whilst most Tories do not pretend to care about them spiritually or otherwise and are not usually prepared to lift a practical finger to help them very much or at all.

If lesser jobs can be found for failing children/adults, then they can be told to put up and shut up, but when these jobs go missing (like their brains?) to China, India, wherever, what to do with them or for them?

Are we sitting on a time bomb that is about to explode?

Answers please!

(c) Bob Crew 2007                                                                                        {Ref 1003}


Comments! so far...


By Malcolm Farrow, July 2008


By Alan Lipfriend, May 1985


By Paul Watson, June 2008


By Steven Gauge, June 2008


By Ruth Sutton, October 2007

  1. The PROBLEM with PROBLEMATIC CHILDREN – What to do about them?

By Bob Crew, July 2007


By Mark Hart, November 2006


By Bob Crew, October 2006