Over the last six months, 4Children has heard from thousands of children, young people and parents to find out about what modern family life is like in Britain today.
Families have told us that that they want to provide the very best for their children as they grow up, but that a number of factors can make this a challenge. Parents have highlighted the difficulties they encounter in striking the right work-life balance, particularly when household finances are tight, which puts pressure on the amount of quality time they are able to spend with their family.
A key theme of the report centres around fathers who feel lost and uncertain of their role in modern family life. Many suggested they felt excluded from services designed to support families.
Children and young people have also spoken about the impact that their parents’ struggles have on them and their concerns about being able to access the opportunities they need to realise their ambitions. They have told us that they would like more support with practical life skills at school, as well as more political education to help them to understand how decisions about their lives are made, in order to better prepare them for the real world.
In a survey of parents conducted as part of the inquiry:
· Two-thirds (66%) said they are not feeling the benefit since the start of the economic recovery two years ago
· 1 in 4 working parents (26%) say they are missing out on family activities every weekend because of work commitments
· Just half (50%) of parents with a child aged 18 or under expected their child to have a job paying a decent salary by the time they were 30
In an additional survey of young people aged 16-24, almost half (49%) said that they would not know how to pay a gas or electricity bill if they were living alone or with flatmates, and 3 in 4 (75%) wanted more political education in schools.
You can follow the launch of the report on social media throughout the day – @4childrenuk – and we would really appreciate it if you could tweet your support using the hashtag #ThrivingOrSurviving.
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