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Young Carers... (warning, not for the faint hearted) - Carers UK Forum

Young Carers... (warning, not for the faint hearted)

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/opinion/b1tch ... rers.shtml
12th June 2008
Hello. I HATE YOUNG CARERS. Steady now. Last time I hated anyone under the age of 16 - children with special needs - one of my devoted fans emailed in to say she believed me to be in league with the Klu Klux Klan. Readers, I am not in league with the Klu Klux Klan.
Young carer - an artist's impression by Disability Bitch
The fact is, I borrowed my best friend's child last week and asked him to do a number of intimate personal tasks for me, before cooking me dinner and mixing me a whisky and soda.

Well I can tell you he was rubbish and I shan't be inviting him back. No domestic skills whatsoever. I'll be sticking to the adults.

Forgive me if I stop joking for a moment. 'Young carers' are back in the news because a child who was caring for a terminally ill mother has died following a methadone overdose. That's not funny. In fact, it's so not funny I ask you to read the rest of this carefully to appreciate where I'm coming from on this.

There followed a slew of articles about the 'plight' of young carers. Occasionally, you'll see politicians and celebrities handing out 'child of achievement' type awards to the children of disablified parents.

The thing is, I'm not sure why we're congratulating them.

I'm not sure why young carers exist in the first place.

We shouldn't be giving them awards. We should be supporting ill and disabled parents properly, so that their children don't need to care for them.

Hear me.

In the meantime, I took my friend's son to the zoo in a vain attempt to look like a nice person. I gave him some cash and he ran off to get some ice cream.

A passing stranger told me I was disgusting for getting him to do all my dirty work. Huh? Let that thought linger. In reality, he just knows that he'll get more ice cream if he carries it back from the van, rather than leaving it to wobbly old me who'll drop it on the floor.
Damn fine article!
I get so angry when I see articles about "young carers". What on earth does it say about our supposedly "enlightened" society that it is acceptable for children to provide care. As for those ridiculous award ceremonies, words fail me....
Well said Daisy. I agree totally. I hate the fact that I have had to rely on my younger two children for support for years now.
I get so angry when I see articles about "young carers". What on earth does it say about our supposedly "enlightened" society that it is acceptable for children to provide care. As for those ridiculous award ceremonies, words fail me....
I think its a complicated matter. I know a deaf lady who relies on her kids to answer the phone but is otherwise totally independent. Technically they are young carers, but I dont think they carry a huge burden, I would regard it more as helping out. At the other extreme, we have children bunking school to provide heavy-end care for terminally ill or severely disabled parents etc - thats clearly out of order. But, its a spectrum, and whilst at each end its very clear, in the middle its unlikely that anyone would agree what constitutes reasonable and what is unreasonable.

I agree the awards ceremonies are horrible.
It is a complicated matter as Excalibur says, and when I think back to my childhood, there were times when I "cared for" my Nan, in the sense of holding her arm if we went for a walk, helping her dress(she was in her 80's by the time I was a teenager), and would not have thought about that as caring. First one into Nan's house in the mornings helped her get dressed,and that was just the way life was. I wouldn't have wanted an award for doing something for a family member.

It is so hard now, as the only reason that I do want recognition for all Carers, is so that we could have an income that takes us above the poverty line.My caring role is not half as physical as many on here, but it still keeps me at home most of the time. Money is the be-all and end-all in our household, and has become more so this year.

Children who are Carers need to have a childhood,and for our Government to continue to ignore the issue, is a form of abuse. They should be supported in their own homes,as should their parents and siblings, and reassured that they will not be taken into care, if they go to someone with a problem. (I believe that this is a big fear with many)
Being taken into 'care' is a very big fear for a lot of young Carers, especially those who are members of a loving household.
Children should have their childhood. There is nothing wrong with expecting them to be neat and tidy, helping out when need be, but not to the extent that our young people can be expected to do.
And it comes down to money, being easier and cheaper to split up families than to provide them with the real support that would keep them together.
In this day and age it is an appalling indictment on us, as one of the rich countries of the world, that we treat our vulnerable people, whatever their age, in this fashion.
In this day and age it is an appalling indictment on us, as one of the rich countries of the world, that we treat our vulnerable people, whatever their age, in this fashion.
You have to put it into a historical perspective before condemning our society so readily.
I think its relative - in Africa or India disabled people still beg on the streets. I can remember those bearded smelly tramps from my own childhood - folk who walked out of the asylums or simply rejected society to live rough.

Its only in the last generation or so that we have dismantled the workhouse and re-invented the welfare state to create the concept of "Care in the Community" - and all support systems have their drawbacks. One of these is the extent to which we are prepared to accept state interference in our homes and private lives - means testing, that kind of thing.

I'm not sure that most kids or disabled parents would want the state interfering in their daily lives ... so its how you offer contextual help, and how you use scarce resources, that are the challenge. Some folk, frankly, don't want help on the governments terms - but everything comes at a price, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, it does Image