Children’s Wellbeing

WellbeingI came across this research that was commissioned by the DCSF to look at what children and parents are worried about and want.

Some of the research was carried out in Lewisham.  None of it strikes me as telling us new things, but it’s no less important for that.

Talking about happiness:

They key point raised in relation to happiness was that it was seen to be an emotional state, usually a temporary one. Indeed, it was remarkable just how strongly everyone resisted the idea of being in a constant state of happiness.

“Your mum has to say no to you sometimes, you can’t always get everything you want, that wouldn’t be good…. So sometimes you’re going to be unhappy”

(Girls, Year 7, (A)BC1, Lewisham)

Reflecting on the need for space:

“If I don’t have time when people just leave me alone I get really stressed”

(Boys, Year 7, C2D(E), Lewisham)

“When I’m feeling a bit depressed I’ll go up to my room and play some music, and it’ll cheer me up”

(Girls, Year 7, (A)BC1, Lewisham)

On parental noseynes:

Perhaps as a consequence of their parents and carers asking them “exactly” what they’d been doing, they had developed very strong defences when adults tried to probe the detail of their ‘re-invention’, and ‘hanging out’ activities, whatever the context!

“I don’t know what we do, just hang out. There’s no pressure.”

(Girls, Year 9, C2D(E), Lewisham)

On feeling safe:

Boys, particularly older boys, from lower SEGs and in urban areas, talked about how important friends were in terms of their safety. Urban children talked about how crucial they were within their estate, indeed some argued they had tried to make friends with dangerous individuals to make them feel safer.

“Everyone knows who you are, and if you don’t speak to them then you’re going to get it, aren’t you?”

(Boys, Year 7, C2D(E), Lewisham)

On the importance of education:

All acknowledged that a good education was incredibly important for their future, even those who were currently out of school.

“I’m not in school at the minute. But they’re trying to get me back after the holidays. They’ve changed the school, so I’m going to give it a go”


School was also cited as the main place where children and young people met their friends. This was a matter of some concern to both parents / carers and children/ young people.

“There is trouble at school but it’s safer there because there’s teachers and people who are watching you”

(Boys, Year 7, C2D(E), Lewisham)

“You want to get back to school to see your friends, but there are some other people there you don’t want to see”

(Girls, Year 7, (A)BC1, Lewisham)

On having somewhere to go outside school:

Community centre ‘drop in’ centres or clubs were mentioned particularly by working class young people as having been really important.

“This used to be a community centre, there was a club here we used to come to, till they closed it down”

(Girls, Year 9, C2D(E), Lewisham)

“There was always someone alright to talk to and you could play games, go on the web, even get a drink”

(Boys, Year 7, C2D(E), Lewisham)

“There’s nowhere else around here, it wasn’t great, but it was here”

(Girls, Year 9, C2D(E), Lewisham)

Boys talked about how important supervision could be in this context – even if that supervision was provided by police.

“Nothing’s going to happen when there’s someone else about, so you feel a bit safer”

(Boys, Year 7, C2D(E), Lewisham)


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Civic Society, Lewisham and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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