‘Yorkshire Shepherdess’ Amanda Owen says youngsters lack a work ethic and don’t know how to look after themselves
A farmer who rose to fame as “the Yorkshire Shepherdess” has said parents are to blame for creating a snowflake generation of “useless” children.
Amanda Owen, a hill farmer, writer and photographer who lives in the Yorkshire Dales, is an unlikely social media star. Originally from Huddersfield, she met her husband Clive in 1996 at his Ravenseat farm, where they raise their children “free range”.
The unusual lifestyle choice became the subject of a Channel 5 show, Our Yorkshire Farm, which documents family life, how the children are allowed to roam the countryside and muck in on the farm, and why Mrs Owen chose to become a hill farmer.
Despite her liberal parenting style, in which family is closely linked to nature, Mrs Owen has refrained from making controversial comments about how others choose to raise their children.
Amanda Owen reads to her children (left to right) Edith, 10, Miles, 13, Reuben, 15, Raven, 17, Clammy, three, Nancy, two, Violet, eight, Annas, five, and Sydney, six, on their farm in Yorkshire CREDIT: Bruce Adams
However, in an interview with the latest issue of Radio Times, she revealed that she despairs at the “snowflake” generation, saying: "They can’t do anything. They don’t know anything about how to look after themselves, or a work ethic, all of that has gone out of the window. It’s our fault as parents.
“If you put your child on a pedestal with no sense of independence, and think you have got to entertain them the whole time, what can you expect? I rebuff swaddling children, because I want to see them go on and do well and be themselves, whatever that is. I feel like it is their life and all I do is prepare them."
She also admitted that she does not know the ages of all of her nine children.
The term “snowflake generation” was one of Collins English Dictionary’s 2016 words of the year. The dictionary defines the term as “the young adults of the 2010s (born from 1980-1994), viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”.
Viewers and critics have often praised the Owen family’s unique parenting style. Our Yorkshire Farm, which has an average of 3.2 million viewers, has spawned four seasons, with a fifth beginning this month.
Each episode spans a single season in the farming calendar and is said to showcase the family working together.
It has been said the Owen children have no TV or phones and are expected to work outside in all weathers. The audience has so far got to see everything from six-year-old Sidney helping to mend farm machinery to 14-year-old Reuben saving his siblings from a blizzard.
The eldest child, Raven, is at university and the youngest, Nancy, a toddler. In between, in descending order are Rueben, Miles, Edith, Violet, Sidney, Annas and Clemmy.