Happy families: The non-nuclear options
As National Family Week begins, The IoS celebrates the rise of British diversity. Jonathan Owen reports
Sunday 24 May 2009
Old, young, gay, straight, married or single – our families are a celebration of the diversity of our nation. But while the families have never been more diverse and inclusive, they are also under pressure to an unprecedented degree.
The traditional nuclear family – Mum, Dad, 2.4 children – is a shrinking minority. In less than 40 years, the proportion of households fitting this description has dropped from 52 per cent to 36 per cent, according to the latest social trends report from the Office for National Statistics. "The nature of family life has changed significantly in the past 40 years. The traditional family has become a museum piece," said Dr Richard Woolfson, a family expert and child psychologist.
From tomorrow, the UK celebrates its first National Family Week, which will see hundreds of thousands of people taking part in events around the country, from picnics and sports days to "storytime" events.
More than 150 bodies, ranging from the Department for Children, Schools and Families to the Grandparents' Association, will celebrate and attempt to kick-start a more family-friendly culture, encouraging parents to spend more time with their children.
But according to new research published tomorrow, more than half of the parents questioned admit they don't spend enough quality time as a family, with work, money and housework blamed most often for this.
Family meals, watching TV, holidays and shopping are Britain's favourite family pastimes. Just 3 per cent cited reading stories, according to a survey of 2,000 parents. One in five of families define themselves as a "TV & Digital Family", spending time together by watching television or playing video games. Only 11 per cent see themselves as a "Foodie Family", where family life revolves around mealtimes.
Kevin Steele, co-founder of National Family Week, said: "Families come in all shapes and sizes, but what matters is the quality of the relationships. There are very powerful tensions between family life, long working hours and the need to generate enough money to fund a modern-day lifestyle."
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...