In her latest report on the family, Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza has revealed that nearly half of children in the UK now grow up outside the traditional nuclear family. 44% don’t live with both biological parents for their entire childhood, and 23% of families are headed by a lone parent – compared with an average of 13% for the rest of Europe, giving us the dubious distinction of leading the field. (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/decline-of-traditional-uk-family-revealed-in-de-souza-report-mfphw7vhl)!
In the UK there are also apparently significant differences recorded by ethnicity, with 57% of black Caribbean and 44% of black African families being lone parented, compared with 22% for white British families. By contrast, only 11% of Indian families are headed by a lone parent; and, within that, 87% are recorded as married or in a civil partnership.
Dame Rachel is quick to reassure us, however, that whatever the family type and whether married or not, it’s the quality of relationships that matter, which can function equally well irrespective of marital status. Spending time with the family is what’s important, she says, with strong families that form a self-sustaining unit giving a child the best start in life, providing them with stability and protection. While recommending that the government place more focus on investing in strong families, however, she appears to ignore the clear contribution of ‘family’ reconfiguration to the many problems affecting our nation’s young.
Is her apparently optimistic assessment justified? Given the catastrophic reports of increasing family breakdown, eye-watering figures of child abuse, bullying, escalating violence – sometimes fatal – and general exploitation, would it not be more accurate and honest simply to acknowledge that our current flawed culture is failing? That it is, in a nutshell, not fit for purpose, and that unless something is urgently done to address the problems at source, society as we know it will fall apart?
The truth is, whatever the woke claims of equivalence between marriage and co-habitation, and heterosexual and same-sex relations, research has consistently shown that children fare far better when raised in an intact, heterosexual, two-parent family, preferably composed of their biological parents (https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/children-do-better-when-raised-in-intact-two-parent-homes/). All of which means, for the good of children, that we should stop promoting the so-called liberal culture built on sexual promiscuity and self-gratification, and revert to supporting commitment, fidelity, and traditional marriage.
Sadly, however, there seems little evidence that the problems will be addressed. In fact, on current form, the reverse appears true. Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples in 2019, for example, fell to the lowest recorded numbers since 1862, with only 213,122 marriages recorded for England and Wales, a drop of 6.4% on the previous year (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/
marriagecohabitationandcivilpartnerships). Yet this appears to have elicited no response other than mild interest.
Similarly, with divorce. Reportedly, up to 2021, 42% of all marriages in the UK were already ending in divorce (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/
divorce). Yet, following the introduction of no fault divorce in April this year, divorce applications have skyrocketed by a massive 92% (https://www.russell-cooke.co.uk/insight/briefings/2022/is-no-fault-divorce-increasing-the-divorce-rate/). By and large, this has been hailed as positive, releasing people from lengthy and bitter legal disputes, with little thought given to the further fatal erosion of the primary institution underpinning our society.
Children are the innocent and powerless victims of a system that no longer values faithfulness and dependability. Yet, in face of obvious distress, we still persist in saying it doesn’t matter. As long as the grown-ups are happy, they’ll be okay!
Last year, for the first time ever, the majority of babies born in England and Wales were born out of wedlock – to be precise, 320,713 live births were recorded to women not married or in a civil partnership, compared to 304,115 live births to parents who were married or civilly partnered (https://news.sky.com/story/majority-of-babies-born-in-england-and-wales-in-2021-were-out-of-wedlock-new-statistics-reveal-12669585). Without doubt, many of these children will grow up not knowing one of their parents, and in serialised relationships that may expose them to abuse and leave them emotionally scarred. Yet where is the outcry or even mild criticism, that disregards so casually the safeguarding and protection of those who cannot speak out for themselves.
No, contrary to the claims of those who scorn any idea of traditional family, everything in the garden is very far from rosy. By continuing to endorse sexually libertarian ideas and so-called diversity, we are not just failing the nation’s young, but becoming complicit in engineering the nation’s demise. We urgently need to get back onto a proper course, before it becomes too late.
Rev Lynda Rose
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.