From: Dave Percival <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 4:50 AM
Subject: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 14.50
Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News
OK folks, this is it – the 50th and final edition of the newsletter for 2014! We’d like to wish you all a joy-filled and peaceful Christmas, and we look forward to returning to the fray full of pith and vigour (or at least turkey) on 5th Jan next year!
Happy Christmas from the 2-in-2-1 Team!
· Bullying husbands face five years in jail for 'controlling behaviour'
· Do People Really Understand the Causes of Their Own Divorces?
· One small baby
Government and Political
· Bullying husbands face five years in jail for 'controlling behaviour'
Bullying husbands who keep their wives downtrodden by banning them from having friends, hobbies and access to money could face five years in jail under a new criminal offence reports the Telegraph. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the Government is to press ahead with a new domestic abuse offence of "coercive and controlling behaviour" - which will apply equally to men and women. The offence will outlaw behaviour which amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse but, crucially, stops short of violence.
It comes after the Government unveiled a “Cinderella” law earlier this year which will see parents who starve their children of love and affection being prosecuted for “emotional cruelty”. Both proposed offences mark significant incursions by the State into what have previously been regarded as private affairs.
A Home Office spokesman said the law would be drafted carefully so it did not affect "ordinary power dynamics" in marriages and other relationships. "Victims of coercive control can have every aspect of life controlled by their partner, often being subjected to daily intimidation and humiliation," the spokesman said. "There are a number of ways that witness testimony could be supported at prosecution. These include using documentary evidence such as threatening emails and text messages, and bank statements that show the perpetrator has sought to control the victim financially."
The type of behaviour the Government is seeking to outlaw includes people who control "minute aspects" of their partner's lives, such as "when they are allowed to eat, sleep and go to the toilet," he added. It will cover not just spouses and partners but other family relationships as well. "The offence will be drafted to ensure that it is clear and proportionate and does not impact on ordinary power dynamics in relationships," he said.
Home Office research has previously shown that 16 per cent of men admit to being victims of domestic abuse during their lifetimes compared with 30 per cent of women. The new controlling behaviour offence was floated in a consultation paper earlier this year and ministers will now go ahead with legislation.
Mrs May said: "Domestic abuse is a hideous crime that shatters the lives of victims, trapping them in cycles of abuse that too often end in tragic and untimely deaths. Coercive control can be tantamount to torture. In many cases, dominance over the victim develops and escalates over the years until the perpetrator has complete control. Putting a foot wrong can result in violent outbursts, with victims living in fear for their lives. Meeting survivors of domestic abuse and hearing their shocking stories has made me all the more determined to put a stop to this scourge on our society. The government is committed to protecting the victims of this terrible crime and it is clear that this new offence has the potential to save lives.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: "The government’s announcement of a new domestic violence law is a significant first step towards protecting women experiencing domestic violence. “We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement that the government will criminalise the patterns of coercive, controlling, and psychologically abusive behaviour which lie at the heart of the abuse so many women experience. We hope this new law will lead to a real culture change, so that every woman experiencing control can get the support she needs to break free safely. We look forward to working together with the Home Office to ensure the new law is effective, and that the police get specialist-led domestic violence training so they know how to use it. We are pleased the government has listened to the voices of survivors and professionals contained in the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign.”
· Q: How many children won't be with both their birth parents this Christmas? A: Over 4 million
Fifty years ago, only one in ten children missed out on Christmas with both parents. Many more would have had to put up with squabbling parents who remained together. Back then, almost all parents got married before having children. The flip side was that it was difficult to end a bad relationship.
Today we’ve gone too far in the opposite direction. One in three children now miss out. While it’s right that there are fewer barriers and taboos to splitting up if the relationship is unhealthy, far too many parents never establish some plan for the future before having children in the first place. Four million children is far too many. For the sake of the next generation, we need to rediscover the importance of prior commitment before having children.
· One in four married couples only stay together for their children ... and a FIFTH plan to split after a final family Christmas
[We have included this since it has been published, even though we think it is possibly the most misguided article we have covered all year – a highly skewed sample, and conclusions that bear no relationship to the academic research! Ed]
A quarter of married couples are only together for their children - and plan to split once they grow up, a new study has found reports the Daily Mail. According to a poll of 2,000 married parents, affairs, growing apart and 'becoming more like friends' are among the top reasons for being unhappy in a relationship,
Yet staying in a bad marriage and putting on a front for the sake of the family could do more harm than good for children, a family lawyer warns. Many are too worried about the effect a divorce would have on their youngsters to call it quits, according to the research commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell. And almost one in five (19 per cent) are considering staying together over the Christmas period before putting an end to their marriage in January.
But it also emerged that of those who have already divorced a partner, one in four (26.5 per cent) stayed in the relationship longer than they wanted to for the children - and almost eight in ten (78.5 per cent) now regret doing so.
Martin Loxley, head of the Family Law team at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: 'We see many couples in relationships where they aren't happy, or don't really want to be in, but who stick together for the sake of their children. While it is an understandable reaction for parents to feel that it would be better to stay together to avoid the impact of a relationship breakdown on the children, in some cases doing so may only serve to increase the long term adverse effects on them. Children can often pick up on things and regardless of how much of a united front you put on, youngsters, particularly older ones, can sometimes see through it. In some cases, children feel 'cheated' if, when they get older, they realise their parents were putting on a "front" during their childhoods.'
Unhappy couples will mask the problems in their relationship by going on 'date nights', continuing to take family holidays, keep problems bottled up and arguing in another room, away from the children. Mr Loxley said: 'There is help available to parents to work together to ensure that their children are affected as little as possible by a break-up, allowing all to be happier in the longer term. If you are in an unhappy relationship, and if a divorce or separation is handled sensitively by both parents, children can and do prosper more than they might have done, had their parents stuck together, but in an unhappy household.'
The study found four in ten are currently in a marriage they aren't completely happy with, with more than a third saying they have too much to lose to get divorced. Many feel trapped by not having the money to live alone, not being able to afford the divorce or wanting more time to make a final decision. But 37 per cent of married parents admit they have considered asking their other half for a divorce, only to hold off due to concerns about how it would affect their children. More than a third admitted they have stayed in a marriage longer than they would have liked to save their children any distress, with 21 per cent considered themselves as separated, despite still living with their partner and acting like a couple in front of their offspring.
Researchers also found 18 per cent have a date in mind to end their relationship, but while more than one in five have set this at a couple of months, one in 20 are planning to wait ten years or more before calling it quits. One in five unhappy parents admitted to waiting until their children reached at least 14 before going ahead with a divorce.
Another one in five intend to see out the Christmas and New Year celebrations as a family before making a decision on whether to call time on their marriage. And 27 per cent of parents will be making more effort to hide any marital woes over the Christmas period with most planning to keep their problems bottled up rather than discussing them. Admirably, 42 per cent will make a positive effort to ensure that any arguments take place away from their children or loved ones.
Martin Loxley of Irwin Mitchell added: 'Bringing a relationship to an end is a difficult decision and not one to be rushed. We've worked with many parents, all of who want to minimise the impact of divorce or separation on their children. For some, this might result in their delaying a date for separation. For others, working closely with professionals, including mediators, counsellors and therapists, can help the family to address arrangements constructively and positively. There is a wealth of information available to parents - and children (in an age-appropriate way) - to help them come to terms with a huge change and move forward to the next chapter of their lives. There are many ways that an amicable separation can be achieved to have a minimal impact on any children involved. The most important thing is that both parties are prepared to put their kids first during the process and avoid fighting over issues, as involving children in a tug of love can be extremely upsetting and harmful for them.
'Studies have shown that if parents are not happy their feelings will inevitably affect the whole family no matter how hard they try to hide it. Parents may be worried about the stigma of divorce or the financial implications, but ultimately people in this situation need to seek specialist advice and endeavour to ensure that what they do is best for everyone involved.'
· Do People Really Understand the Causes of Their Own Divorces?
Leah fought with her new husband, Gary, on their wedding night says Family Studies. Within a month, their marriage “crashed and burned.” Leah, then 23, had been in a relationship with Gary since she was sixteen. When they argued before they were married, Leah said they would always fix the problem. “But once we were married,” she said, “we didn’t want to.”
What did they argue about? Gary didn’t work—he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and he was uncomfortable in public places. Leah understood that he had a “real disorder” and that it was difficult for him. But she figured that if he isn’t having an anxiety attack, he should be doing something.
“And he just never did,” she said exasperatedly. “He was just content with sitting around playing video games. If you’re fine to play video games, you could do something. And I even told him a million times, ‘At least take care of our house.’”
To pay her mortgage and other bills (Leah owned the house), Leah worked two jobs. When she got home, Gary would be playing video games, and their house was a wreck. “And I got to where I hated him so much,” Leah said. To make Gary mad, she would get drunk.
To add to the stress, Gary invited a friend who was down on his luck, and his child, to live with them for a time. When Leah brought that up in arguments, Gary reminded her that she had let her sister live with them for a while.
Then there was his family—particularly his mother—whom Leah said never really liked her. Leah blamed what she saw as Gary’s laziness on his mom: she coddled him, she says.
Looking back, Leah wishes that they had been more financially stable before getting married. About half of their arguments, she estimates, were about money. “I’d yell at him for never working, he’d yell at me for drinking, and I’d yell at him over the bills some more,” she said. She added, “Money really does do a lot to stress people out.”
Within a year of marriage, they had separated. After separation, they did reconcile for a time, though that ended after Gary accidentally texted Leah a message intended for another woman. Leah concluded he was cheating, and soon after their marriage ended.
It’s noteworthy that while Leah was sympathetic to the difficulty that Gary’s bipolar disorder presented him, and mindful about their money problems, she ultimately didn’t interpret the essential challenge in their marriage as either a mental health crisis or an economic crisis. Rather, she interpreted it as a crisis of character. “He never worked,” was her simple response to our first question about what contributed to the divorce, before adding later “He refused to do anything.”
Leah’s story raises the question, “Why do most people divorce?”
When Paul R. Amato and Denise Previti examined 208 ever-divorced people’s open-ended responses to the question, “What do you think caused the divorce?”, they found 18 categories of responses. The most often-cited category, infidelity, was cited by 22 percent of people. Other reasons included “drinking or drug use” (11 percent), “loss of love” (4 percent), and “financial problems” (2 percent).
What’s surprising is that, despite the common perception that money is at the root of many marriage problems, few divorced people blamed it for ending their marriage. Moreover, the authors found that only 9 percent of people identified “external factors” (such as lack of money or employment problems) as the cause of divorce. Most people cited a problem with their former spouse or with the relationship itself.
That finding appears to confirm something April A. Buck and Lisa A. Neff note in their article on “Stress Spillover in Early Marriage”: “When asked to explain the success or failure of their relationships, individuals rarely acknowledge the role the relationship context may have played in shaping those outcomes.” They also remark on the “common belief in Western society that successful marriages result when both partners ‘work’ at the relationship by engaging in active efforts to behave and think” in ways conducive to a good relationship.
Buck and Neff’s view of the research on how stress affects relationships leads them to think that achieving a successful relationship is more complicated than that. As they approvingly quote Ellen Berscheid, “Some very strong relationships dissolve—not because they weren’t close or committed or loving—but because fate … put their relationship in harm’s way.” Thus, whereas divorced people tend to focus on things within a couple’s control, some of the sociological research on divorce emphasizes that the circumstances largely outside of their control—that is, the environment in which relationships are imbedded—matter at least as much.
The research on how stress affects married couples is intriguing, and it suggests that a person’s environment probably plays a bigger role than most divorced people acknowledge in surveys. One suggestive finding from this literature comes from a study of 82 middle-class newlyweds. The researchers asked the couples to keep seven-day diaries at three different points over a four-year period about their satisfaction with the relationship, their perception of relationship problems (for instance, problems with “showing affection” or “trust”), and the level of “external stress” that they were experiencing (such as the death of a friend or family member).
They found that when wives (but not husbands) reported higher than average levels of external stress, they were less satisfied with the marriage. What is more surprising, though, is the exact way in which the stress affected the wives. As the authors write, “As wives’ external stress increased, they also tended to perceive more specific problems within the relationship.” And as external stress increased, wives were more likely to blame husbands for behaviours that they had overlooked or excused during low-stress periods.
The main point here is that stress talks. You can see the dynamic in the couple whose story I described above: whereas before marriage Leah may have been willing to excuse Gary’s unemployment because of his bipolar disorder, after marriage—when she said stress increased—she began to focus on it as a problem.
So what is really going on? Did Leah and Gary divorce because Gary didn’t contribute enough to their marriage or because of factors that are largely outside of their control, like his struggle with bipolar disorder? The answer, I think, is a little bit of both.
It’s probably true that ordinary people’s focus on non-environmental reasons for divorce at least partly reflects their sense of agency—the reality that we are not mere victims of fate. And research from psychologists like Martin Seligman supports this common intuition. In fact, Seligman criticizes a version of social science which he critiques for assuming that “individuals are no longer responsible for their actions, since the cause lies not in the person but in the situation.” Of course, as a good social scientist, Seligman acknowledges that the environment dramatically affects a person, and that some of us grow up in harsher social environments than others. But he believes that his own discipline, psychology, can do more to emphasize the character traits that empower people to learn from suffering in positive ways.
In thinking about how to reduce divorce, then, we need a two-pronged effort. Leaders should recognize how their decisions can contribute to making either a healthy environment for marriages or a toxic one. For instance, political leaders must ensure that poor and working-class people who struggle with mental illness have affordable and quality mental health care. Corporate leaders should strive to form companies in which all adult employees are paid a living wage. At the same time, as the success of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous demonstrates, there is also great power in appealing to people’s sense of agency, and identifying those character traits that enable people to experience suffering as a pathway to greater character—or in this case, the traits that enable couples to grow closer together, not farther apart, when life becomes stressful.
· Family-friendly policies increase productivity
Employers could benefit from a more productive workforce if they introduce family-friendly policies, a new study has found reports BPS. According to research by the University of Texas at Dallas, published in Public Personnel Management, measures such as offering on-site childcare, restricting overtime and allowing maternity and childcare leave have a positive effect on an employee's state of mind.
This, it stated, in turn improves their productivity, as well as job satisfaction levels and people's commitment to their job.
Kwang Bin Bae, lead author of the study, commented: "I was interested in family-friendly policies because my mother is a working mom. She has to balance her job in the workplace and raising a family." He added that being able to benefit from family-friendly policies is good both for families and society in general.
The team behind the study is now keen to investigate the impacts of each individual family-friendly policy.
Professor Suzan Lewis from Middlesex University Business School, a Chartered Psychologist, comments: "While this is an encouraging finding there is much evidence that the impact of so-called family-friendly policies tends to depend largely on how they are implemented. Not all formal family-friendly policies are reflected in actual family friendly practices. These policies are most likely to have positive organisational outcomes in contexts when there are supportive managers and a supportive culture. Most research looks at large organisation but a recent international review of research on SMEs also suggests links between largely informal family friendly practices and productivity."
· Early caregiving experiences have long-term effects on social relationships, achievement
Do the effects of early caregiving experiences remain or fade as individuals develop? A new study has found that sensitive caregiving in the first three years of life predicts an individual's social competence and academic achievement, not only during childhood and adolescence, but also into adulthood reports Science Daily.
The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the University of Delaware, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, appears in the journal Child Development. It was carried out in an effort to replicate and expand on findings from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which showed that early maternal sensitivity has lasting associations with children's social and cognitive development at least through adolescence.
"The study indicates that the quality of children's early caregiving experiences has an enduring and ongoing role in promoting successful social and academic development into the years of maturity," notes Lee Raby, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware, who led the study.
Sensitive caregiving is defined as the extent to which a parent responds to a child's signals appropriately and promptly, is positively involved during interactions with the child, and provides a secure base for the child's exploration of the environment.
The researchers used information from 243 individuals who were born into poverty, came from a range of racial/ethnic backgrounds, and had been followed from birth into adulthood (age 32) as part of the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation. Observations of interactions between mothers and their children were collected four times during the children's first three years of life. At multiple ages during childhood and adolescence, teachers reported on children's functioning in their peer groups and children completed standardized tests of academic achievement. During their 20s and early 30s, participants completed interviews in which they discussed their experiences with romantic relationships and reported their educational attainment.
Individuals who experienced more sensitive caregiving early in life consistently functioned better socially and academically during the first three decades of life, the study found. The associations were larger for individuals' academic outcomes than for their functioning in peer and romantic relationships. Moreover, early caregiving experiences continued to predict individuals' academic, but not social, functioning after accounting for early socioeconomic factors as well as children's gender and ethnicity. Although families' economic resources were important predictors of children's development, these variables didn't fully account for the persistent and long-term influence of early caregiving experiences on individuals' academic success.
"Altogether, the study suggests that children's experiences with parents during the first few years of life have a unique role in promoting social and academic functioning--not merely during the first two decades of life, but also during adulthood," according to Raby. "This suggests that investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns that accumulate across individuals' lives. Because individuals' success in relationships and academics represents the foundation for a healthy society, programs and initiatives that equip parents to interact with their children in a sensitive manner during the first few years of their children's life can have long-term benefits for individuals, families, and society at large."
· The Uncertain Legal Basis for the New Kinship
This article from Family studies addresses the legal regime that affects donor-conceived family communities. It shows how these new relationships both reinforce and complicate the social, cultural, and economic meanings of family, where the law fits into all of these relationships, and why—based on the strong interests and emotional connections between members of these new communities—we might consider broader legal protections. It provides a typology of legal approaches to these new familial relationships created through donor conception.
· Are Americans Becoming Less Secure?
We were intrigued by this from Science of Relationships. We’ve written extensively about attachment styles in romantic relationships (for example, read here and here for more on this topic). In a nutshell, people who are anxious tend to intensely desire connections with other people and are worried that their partners will abandon them whereas those who are avoidant tend to be wary of closeness to others and often feel that their partners want to be closer to them than they would like. Anxiety and avoidance are forms of insecure attachment, and those who do not have these characteristics have a secure attachment.
Research on attachment styles in romantic relationships began in the late 1980s; more than 25 years of research on the topic has shown the importance of attachment for many aspects of relationship functioning. And now with two decades of data on attachment researchers can ask, and answer, interesting questions about whether adult attachment styles have changed at the population-level over time. In other words, have American young adults become more or less secure since the late-1980s?
In a recent meta-analysis (read more about meta-analysis here), researchers combined data from 94 different samples, involving more than 25,000 American undergraduate students, collected between 1988 and 2011. In 1988, 49% of people said they had a secure attachment style (51% were insecure in one form or another). By 2011 there was a 7% decline in security, with 42% reporting that they were secure (vs. 58% insecure).
While this research shows a downward trend in attachment security, it doesn’t indicate why security may be declining. The authors speculate that changes in parenting styles (since attachment is thought to arise from interactions with parents), media content and consumption, or economic uncertainty may be related to this change; however, these explanations are still speculative since they have not been empirically tested.
· Hugs help protect against stress, infection, say researchers
Instead of an apple, could a hug-a-day keep the doctor away? According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, that may not be that far-fetched of an idea reports Science Daily.
Led by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. Published in Psychological Science, they found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.
Cohen and his team chose to study hugging as an example of social support because hugs are typically a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person.
"We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses. We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety," said Cohen. "We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection."
In 404 healthy adults, perceived support was assessed by a questionnaire, and frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs were derived from telephone interviews conducted on 14 consecutive evenings. Then, the participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine to assess infection and signs of illness.
The results showed that perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support. Among infected participants, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced conflicts.
"This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress," Cohen said. "The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioural indicator of support and intimacy." Cohen added, "Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection."
· Hungarian victory at UN
On Friday, December 5, CitizenGO joined Hungary at the United Nations to sponsor the Political Network for Values' Transatlantic Summit on the role of the family in sustainable global development!
Mr. Zoltan Balog, the Hungarian Minister for Human Capacities, told participants that "family is the most important national resource of Hungary.” He said that the Hungarian constitution is committed to marriage between one man and one woman, since it is the best structure for children. Mr. Balog also told the Summit that Hungary is working to defend the personhood of all human beings, from the moment of conception. He quoted from the new Hungarian constitution, which says: "Human dignity shall be inviolable. The foetus shall be protected from the moment of conception."
This was a major international victory, as we were able to join Hungary in bringing together so many policy-makers who support family and life! It was a breath-taking success! More than 60 parliamentarians from 20 countries in Africa, South America, North America, and Europe came together to sign the "Declaration on the Rights of the Family," which affirms that "family is the natural and fundamental unit of society” and that "everyone has the inherent right to life, commencing from the moment of conception until natural death.”
· Men and early labour: study seeks participants
What was it like being with your partner in the first few hours of her labour? asks the Fatherhood Institute
Fathers are often the main support for women during the first hours of labour when they are typically advised to stay at home. Research shows that this can be a difficult time for some women but we know much less about men’s experiences. A researcher at the University of Nottingham is studying ‘Men, Masculinity and Early Labour’, and is looking for men to take part in research interviews and focus groups and to share their experiences of being with their partner in early labour.
· Is your youngest child 3 months old or younger?
· Were you with your partner in the first hours of her labour?
· Did your partner’s labour start spontaneously? (she was not induced)
· Was the birth in a hospital or birth centre? (not a planned home birth)
If your answer is ‘yes’ to all these questions, Dr Julie Roberts would love to hear from you. You can contact her to find out how to take part, or just for more information about the study, by telephone on 0115 8230243 or by email at Julie.email@example.com .
New Books, Resources and materials
· Relationship education programmes for adults: a policy briefing from the Relationships Alliance
Not sure if this is new, but we only just found it (thanks to Bill Coffin in the US!) Anyway, since the briefing actually cites work by 2-in-2-1 we thought it really ought to be here!! Below is just the opening section, so to read in full click on the link as ever!
“Relationship education programmes form a key element of the framework of relationship support (see diagram) which the Relationships Alliance has described in separate publications. Such interventions sit “alongside interventions at key stress points in people’s lives and more commonly known specialist interventions like counselling that seek to protect people at times of identified relationship distress.”
The Relationships Alliance has explored elsewhere a number of activities – including those which promote relational capability through skills, training and information (Meier, 2014) ((Coleman and Stoilova, 2014)) – which comprise this part of the relationships support framework.
This briefing therefore focuses on relationship education programmes for adults as an area of the relationship support framework which this set of briefings has hitherto not explored.”
Forthcoming conferences and events
· Forthcoming conferences
Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at 2-in-2-1
Consultations and Campaigns
Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference numbers are to the newsletter where we covered the subject.
· Commission consultation on offences against the person
The Law Commission is conducting a scoping consultation, exploring the options for reforming the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. It asks whether a new statute should include a new offence of minor injury and a dedicated offence to tackle domestic violence.
In respect of domestic violence the scoping paper asks (at para 5.144 et seq) whether consultees consider that there is benefit in examining whether reform of offences against the person should include specific offences of domestic violence. The paper sets out arguments for and against the establishment of new offences.
Closing date 11th February 2015
· One small baby…
OK – presents bought, larder stuffed with food, tree up and decorated – must be nearly time for Christmas!
About 2000 years ago the birth of a small baby to an unmarried mother marked the start of a movement that has spread to every part of the globe, has shaped our calendar, and yes, is marked with some peculiarly materialistic habits. Amazing what one birth can do!
As we draw to a close on this year’s news it is interesting to me that there are at least two articles above charting the impact that parents have on the next generation – first is the paper which notes "The study indicates that the quality of children's early caregiving experiences has an enduring and ongoing role in promoting successful social and academic development into the years of maturity." The second is the research that shows that in just under a quarter of a century US adults reporting ‘secure attachment’ has fallen from 49% to 42% - that is a very rapid change.
The relationships we form as adults have a profound effect on the life chances of the children we bear; and embedded in those life chances is the capability (or otherwise) in turn to form secure and well founded relationships as the next generation of parents.
If we want to understand why it seems that on average adults are now less likely to enjoy stable couple relationships, we may well have to look no further than the declining proportion of adults who now enjoy the fruits of secure attachment as children – we have bred (probably through three generations now) a whole cohort of people who are the victims of parenting that has left them permanently relationally scarred.
Almost every reader here will have their own stories and experiences of the challenges of trying to stem this growing tide, and we salute your efforts (even if we don’t always agree with the means!).
In 2015 no doubt we will rail against the darkness some more, cheer on those chinks of light, and generally do our best to keep you informed and thinking about how to reverse this huge trend.
And let’s remember who the true beneficiaries of each life we are able to touch really are – the generation of children as yet not even conceived who deserve the chance to grow up with their two natural parents in an environment marked by love, commitment and stability where they will develop the patterns of secure attachment.
Every one of those young lives has the possibility that they may truly change the world – just as one small baby did 2000 years ago.
Celebrity, Human and Fun stuff
· A Politically Correct 'Merry Christmas'
As this is our final email for the year, we bring you this ‘POLITICALLY CORRECT’ Christmas Greeting from our friends at Families First in NZ (with their tongues firmly in their cheeks) ...
“Best wishes to you for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the summer holidays, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.
Additionally, we wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, gender, religion, age, marital status, disability or impairment, sexual preference, family responsibilities, status as a carer, political beliefs or gender status.
(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit. Any references in this greeting to “The Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Saviour”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting.)”
All of which we think is a really fitting end to this year’s newsletters!
Huge thank to all of you for reading, occasionally commenting, even more occasionally correcting or complaining, oh and also for your financial contributions!!
Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas – and we’ll be back as ever on 5th Jan 2015 to start the process of delivering the next 50 editions!!
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