Poor parenting not confined to poor people

Police Minister Judith Collins says many of the problems of child poverty can be blamed on poor parenting:

. . . Ms Collins responded by saying the government was doing a lot more for child poverty in New Zealand than the UN had ever done.

In New Zealand, there was money available to everyone who needed it, she said.

“It’s not that, it’s people who don’t look after their children, that’s the problem.

“And they can’t look after their children in many cases because they don’t know how to look after their children or even think they should look after their children.”

Monetary poverty was not the only problem, she said.

“I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

As the MP for Papakura, she saw a lot of those problems in south Auckland, she said.

“And I can tell you it is not just a lack of money, it is primarily a lack of responsibility. . . 

Poor parenting isn’t the only cause for the increased likelihood of poor health, poor educational outcomes, criminal convictions and increased risk of joblessness which characterise child poverty.

But it is one of the causes.

There are good parents who find themselves financially stretched or over-stretched but who love and care for their children.

There are also parents who through ignorance, accident or deliberate poor choices give children neither the emotional nor physical care they need to be happy and healthy.

Poor parenting isn’t confined to poor people but the consequences for children are more likely to be worse in poorer families than those in which lack of money isn’t one of the problems.

Denying that poor parenting is one of the causes of child poverty is the sort of blind stupidity that gets in the way of solving at least part of the problem.

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