Families always have the wherewithal to brush children’s teeth. Poor budgeting is no excuse
A veteran social worker called LBC radio this week, his anger palpable at the story that four out of five teachers have been giving toothbrushes and toothpaste to students with poor oral hygiene.
At first I thought he was outraged at how the cost of living crisis has forced parents to sacrifice their children’s dental health for heating or food, but the opposite was true.
He said he has visited “hundreds” of family homes in the lower socioeconomic class and believes that with a little sensible budgeting there is absolutely no reason why a child should be without a toothbrush or toothpaste.
He added that instead of alleviating the problem by encouraging parents to hand off responsibility for their children under the umbrella of “poverty,” they should be encouraged to do better.
Part of the problem is middle-class liberals, who, benevolently or just as a sign of virtue, are exacerbating the problem by loudly claiming that it is the cost-of-living crisis that is causing children’s tooth loss, rather than acknowledging that certain parents are failing to help them teach basic hygiene.
For every home where a child comes to school unwashed, unfed, and with such poor oral hygiene as to result in social exclusion, there is another family in exactly the same financial circumstances whose child is cared for.
My own childhood wasn’t exactly Angela’s ashes, but I bathed once a week in a tin tub brought from the shed, we had an outside toilet, very little money and no government help.
Around the age of 12, my “bedroom” was behind a partition in the living room of our one-bed rental above a WH Smith.
Today this would be called “poverty”.
But it didn’t feel like that at the time.
I’ve been loved, taught right from wrong, my hair brushed properly whether I like it or not, and never been without a toothbrush.
Walk into the Indian slums of Mumbai and you will see little children in crisp white school shirts with their hair and teeth cleaned.
So if their parents can do it. . .
The same social worker suggested that the real problem was poor budgeting — and his frustration that these skills were being repeatedly taught but not used to affected families was palpable.
See, there is no judgment here.
Nightly food stalls
Living hand-to-mouth when food prices are rising, energy companies are spiking, and it’s freezing outside is pretty damn hard, and anyone who isn’t in that position should – and most often does – do whatever it takes help in any way you can.
But it’s not at all helpful to use economics to excuse a lazy upbringing that has little to do with the circumstances.
There are food banks that help alleviate hardship, and sites like Freecycle and Nextdoor offer plenty of free help from your local community—whether it’s a kitchen table or a sofa within reach.
But the basics of potty training, washing your hair, and brushing your teeth have nothing to do with money or lack of money.
When a child comes to school consistently unfed and unwashed, the first consideration should be the mental health of the mother/father who may be depressed or addicted to drugs and have little or no ability to cope with the basics of parenting become .
If that is the case, the state should do everything possible to protect the child.
But the hard truth is that there are many homes where this is not the case.
Money isn’t so tight, either, that parents can’t smoke up, shop for late-night takeaways, or invest in a widescreen TV with a Sky Sports subscription.
In these cases, there’s a few pounds left over to buy their child a toothbrush and toothpaste – they just didn’t bother.
And expecting teachers to do that for them only serves to enable parental laziness.
‘NESSA CAN BE HAPPY
I WAS saddened and surprised to learn that Vanessa Feltz has split from her longtime fiancé, Ben Ofoedu.
Sad because they always seemed such a happy couple who really enjoyed each other’s company and surprised because he never struck me as a cheater.
But Vanessa is one of the most open and honest people you would want to meet.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and consequently will process and remove any pain very quickly and move on like the true life force that she is.
She’s smart enough to know that the greatest revenge for someone who has treated you so shabbily is to just get on with your life and be happy.
Scrubbing in the kitchen burns more calories than dancing, says a cleaning company survey.
It’s not that much fun, is it?
NICOLA TROLLS Pity
The AWARDED Netflix documentary Don’t F*** With Cats follows the work of “amateur” online investigators who helped capture Canadian killer Luka Magnotta.
But it’s a rare victory from the online world, where conspiracy theorists share their often unfounded but strongly voiced opinions on cases like the Madeleine McCann disappearance.
Opinions I would probably be sued for writing here.
Now they’re back at it after Nicola Bulley disappeared while out walking her dog.
Police get it in the neck for not doing enough, their families are being trolled, and people who haven’t spent years studying and practicing criminology or forensics suddenly believe they know a lot more than people who do have done this.
So let the professionals get on with their work and leave the family alone.
PRINCE HARRY will reportedly make a 48-hour trip to the UK for his father’s coronation on May 6th.
Blink and you will miss him.
Bad deal, LIZ
FORMER PM (for three seconds) Liz Truss has admitted that her Chancellor and friend Kwasi Kwarteng acted according to her wishes with his disastrous ‘mini-budget’ and that his sacking sealed her political fate.
After all, everyone makes mistakes, but throwing a buddy under the bus for doing something you asked him doesn’t look good.
When asked if she and Kwasi were still in touch, she dodged the question.
We take that as a no.
Thank your lucky stars
THE cost of living crisis, multiple strikes, traffic congestion in so many cities, increasing fraud and theft, knife crime, callous energy companies literally breaking into people’s homes to install meters, etc., etc.
Now living in the UK it’s very easy to wake up every morning moaning about our fate.
But then we turn on the news to see how the earthquake devastated families on the Turkey-Syria border, and we thank our lucky stars we live here.
NOT SO CUT AND DRIED. . .
Novelist Anthony Horowitz had his latest novel tweaked by “sensibility readers” to remove the word scalpel.
Why? Because they claim a word suggesting scalping is offensive to Native Americans.
But scalpel actually comes from the Latin word “scalpere” which means “to cut or scrape”.
There are perhaps two issues at play here.
First, that “sensibility readers” actively seek nudges to justify their existence.
Second, those who veto the work of a highly intelligent, highly skilled author like Horowitz are perhaps just a little stubborn.
Matt is treading on thin ice
MATT HANCOCK and his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo made a “surprise” appearance on the rink at Dancing On Ice last weekend.
Given his appearance on I Am a Celeb and upcoming appearance on Celebrity SAS, will this be the former health secretary’s next celebrity outing?
After all, he’s been on thin ice for a few years, so he already has an advantage.
HERITAGE AND BEAUTY
ACTRESS Amanda Barrie has revealed she was “commissioned” by fellow James Robertson Justice to take the virginity of Prince Charles, then 16, at Gordonstoun School.
“I had to say no,” says Amanda, then 26.
It follows Prince Harry’s revelation that he lost his virginity at 16 to an “elderly woman” (19) in a field behind a pub.
It’s nice to know that Harry enjoyed a teenage rite of passage in privacy, but how sad that it was he who kissed and told it.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7334879/families-children-clean-kids-teeth/ Families always have the wherewithal to brush children’s teeth. Poor budgeting is no excuse