A letter from a government committee requires members of parliament to be joined-up with local family services to address a lack of co-ordination and family policy across the country and locally. Committee news from UK Parliament highlights this situation by highlighting that five million families across England and Wales are experiencing the impact of family breakdown. The statistics come from the British Household Panel, which is an annual study that examines the well-being of families in the UK. This year’s edition of the Panel’s report highlighted the significant increase in child poverty over the past five years. Other highlights included an increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty, especially in London. There is also evidence of a growing disparity between richer and poorer young people, with some worrying that this could lead to a new generation of young people marginalised by income compared to their parents’ generations.
The problems faced by many children when coming into the home after a divorce or other relationship break up have also been highlighted in the latest Panel’s report. Many children are now likely to experience long-term emotional trauma brought about by domestic conflict. Children who experience frequent violence may also be at increased risk of mental health problems as they grow older. The Panel believes that more effort should be made by the Government to equip divorced couples with effective child protection equipment, and called for a review of the Children and Families Act to make sure that it provides the necessary safety nets for children and vulnerable families.
One of the key issues covered was the time needed to establish a new home and to maintain single parenting, with the increasing instances of ‘no contact’ occurring, where contact between the former partners usually led to reconciliation later. Many parents now want to have sole custody of their children, even if they don’t wish to re-marry, yet these children often feel uncomfortable about being separated from their parents. The pressure for many parents to give up contact with each other can be very difficult, and there are some negative consequences for children as a result of this. There has also been a notable increase in the number of children suffering from some form of behavioural problems or learning disability.
It seems that much of the focus has been on trying to create positive roles within families. Of course this can be difficult as many people prefer to lead a single life. Yet children who have established positive relationships with both their father and mother are often happier and healthier, often have better social skills and are less likely to have behavioural or emotional problems as adults. In fact, many teenage girls in Northern Ireland have reported that they would prefer to stay away from their own mother’s family and get involved in a family that included both males and females. For boys, by leaving home and going to college they seem to be more settled and less likely to engage in risky behaviour.
There is also a worrying trend for more children to be involved in street crime, drugs and alcoholism. There are certain characteristics common to several of these teenagers that can often lead to problems with the Police, your child and their family. As well, there is a trend for some teenagers to become overly aggressive and pushy towards their parents or other members of their family. This will have a negative effect on the whole family and can even lead to serious conflicts and arguments. Boys are very quick to anger and if they do not learn how to control their aggressive tendencies early on, then they are unlikely to be able to overcome them.
It is fair to say that there are problems with the press being more interested in the lives of celebrities and less interested in the lives of the children who are the victims of their crimes. This makes it impossible to keep the children’s interests at the forefront when they are being interviewed. There is also the danger of the interviewer becoming bored with the child’s answers and then moving onto the next celebrity. It is important to remember that the purpose of the Committee News is to keep you informed and aware. By keeping you up-to-date with what is happening in society and the world at large, you will be better able to cope with the problems that your children may face in the future. However, it is not an exact replica of your child’s experience, but rather a mirror.