From: Dave and Liz Percival <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 9:43 AM
Subject: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 11.36
Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News
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· Government announces £6 million for children in care and families who need extra support
· Couples who live together before they marry are much more likely to divorce, says Christian think-tank
· Fewer couples think an affair is a reason to divorce
Government and Political
· Government announces £6 million for children in care and families who need extra support
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has announced an extra £6 million a year to provide additional support for foster carers and vulnerable families.
Thirty seven local authorities will share this extra funding in order to expand their own intensive intervention programmes and reach even more vulnerable children and their families.
The programmes supported by the government all address the need for stability in a child’s life. There is increasing evidence that this work reduces the need for a child to enter care or custody, or can reduce the length of time spent in care.
Meeting foster carers in Oxford, Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “Poor parental care can have a lasting impact on children. It can cause difficulties for children’s development across many areas of their lives. Yet we know from the success of programmes such as Multisystemic Therapy that with the right support, families with entrenched difficulties can be helped to turn their lives around.
For those children who can not remain with their families, we want to ensure that those responsible for caring for them have the right support to help them meet their often challenging needs. We know that programmes such as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care have a track record in helping some of our most vulnerable children have a more stable and successful childhood.
I am delighted to announce today additional funding for 37 local authorities and their partners to develop intensive programmes of support in their areas. Around half of these will be focused on families with children on the edge of care or offending, and half offering intensive support for foster carers.”
· The Scottish government’s plans to redefine marriage are deeply flawed and socially corrosive, say Christian groups
This week, the Scottish government launched its consultation on redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships and to allow civil partnership ceremonies to be conducted on religious premises. CARE and the Evangelical Alliance have responded by calling on the Scottish Government to maintain the established societal definition of marriage which has universally stood the test of time.
Dr Gordon Macdonald, parliamentary officer at CARE for Scotland, said: “Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman and not two people of the same sex. It provides the best context for raising children and contributes to social cohesion. The Scottish government is making a grave mistake by seeking to redefine marriage.”
Rev Dr Fred Drummond, Scotland director of the Evangelical Alliance, stated: “Marriage is the bedrock of a stable society, allowing children to be produced and raised by a committed mother and father. Marriage is God-ordained and overwhelming sociological evidence points to the benefits of marriage for children in terms of emotional security, educational achievement, health and other life prospects. Marriage has already been undermined in our society and the consequences are easy to identify. At this time of social fragmentation and instability, any attempts to redefine the traditional value of marriage will further damage the well-being of our society.”
The overwhelming majority of the population know very well what marriage is and what it isn’t. CARE and the Evangelical Alliance call on the Scottish government to acknowledge the widespread concerns throughout Scotland over any attempts by government to redefine marriage at the behest of a tiny minority for largely political reasons but which will have massive consequences for society as a whole.
· Teenagers asked "Would you spot abuse?" as Relationship campaign goes live
A powerful advertising campaign to challenge the attitudes of teenagers to violence and abuse in relationships has been launched by the Home Office. With 75 per cent of girls and 50 per cent of boys reporting that they have experienced some form of emotional abuse, the TV, cinema, outdoor and online advertising campaign aims to help teenagers recognise abusive behaviour at an early stage, before it escalates to physical violence.
The adverts are directed towards 13-18 year-olds and feature young couples in a variety of settings. Viewers are challenged to identify controlling behaviour and to reconsider their own attitudes about what is acceptable behaviour in relationships.
All the adverts point young people towards a website where they can find information, seek help and chat with their peers. The site is designed to encourage sharing of the campaign materials across social networks and will also host live web chats with experts. The first of these will happen 2 September at 5pm.
Minister Lynne Featherstone said: ""Although teenage romances can often be short lived, we know that sometimes, they can be just as intense and important as adult relationships. In extreme cases they can also fall foul of the same pitfalls and dangers. That's why it is so important to ensure young people develop healthy relationships and know where to go for support when things go wrong. We need to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that foster an acceptance of abusive relationships by intervening as early as possible. Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident to challenge abusive behaviour when they experience it or see it."
The campaign, funded by the Home Office, is part of a long-term communications plan to tackle violence and challenge attitudes that relationship abuse is acceptable.
· Couples who live together before they marry are much more likely to divorce, says Christian think-tank
Couples who live together before they marry are 'significantly' more likely to end up divorced, says a report by a Christian think-tank according to the Daily Mail. The study also discovered that more couples are cohabiting than ever before - with the average time living together before tying the knot doubling to three-and-a-half years in the past four decades.
The Jubilee Centre, a social reform group with a Christian perspective, said that living together had become 'a more fragile state of relationship than ever before'. It said that couples who cohabited before marriage were 45 per cent more likely to split than those who waited until after the wedding.
The report by Dr John Hayward and Dr Guy Brandon said: 'Despite the popularity of cohabitation and its relationship to marriage, it is also the case that marriages that start with a period of prior cohabitation are significantly more prone to divorce than those that do not. 'Where there has been a previous cohabitation with a separate person by one of both partners, the likelihood of divorce soars. Couples who never marry are six times more likely to split by the time their first child is five, it added. 'This suggests that cohabitation is now being treated somewhat differently to the way it was in the 1960s and 70s,' said the report, Cohabitation: An Alternative to Marriage?
The data was based on 14,103 households and 22,265 adults. The research follows on from the think-tank's 2010 publication Cohabitation in the 21st Century, which showed the cost of family breakdown is £41.7billion. This is equivalent to £1,350 for every taxpayer each year.
It claimed these costs will rise 'significantly' over the next 25 years, with its analysis based on almost 30,000 family cases drawn from a nationwide survey.
· Children whose parents divorce or separate before they are 5 are more likely to be problem drinkers, says report
Children with parents who divorce or separate before they are five are more likely to become binge drinkers when they reach 16 than children with parents who remain together, according to the think tank, Demos. Children with parents who are still together by the time they turn five are less likely to engage in risky drinking behaviour. Crucially, says the report, this is the case whether parents are married or cohabiting.
A study of over 15,000 children, entitled Under the Influence, indicates that parenting style is one of the most important and statistically reliable influences on whether a child will drink responsibly in adolescence and adulthood.
Demos found that, what they term, 'tough love' parenting, combining consistent warmth and discipline, was the most effective parenting style to prevent unhealthy relationships with alcohol right into the mid-thirties age range.
The report found that:
· Bad parenting at age 10 makes the child twice as likely to drink excessively at age 34
· Bad parenting at age 16 makes the child over eight times more likely to drink excessively at that age
· Bad parenting at age 16 makes the child over twice as likely to drink excessively at age 34.
The report also found that high levels of parental warmth and attachment at an early age and strict discipline at the age of 16 are the best parenting styles to reduce the likelihood that a child will binge-drink in adolescence and adulthood. While 'tough love' was the best parenting style to ensure against children becoming binge drinkers, less effective parenting styles were 'authoritarian', 'laissez faire' and 'disengaged'.
Binge-drinking figures in the UK have officially been dropping since the early 2000's, but the culture of a binge-drinking minority that has become more extreme, and more public, has fed the media's infatuation with a boozed-up Britain.
· The many benefits of hands-on dads
Fathers who are hands-on in the raising of their children can play an important role in the intellectual and behavioural development of their offspring, new research has found reports BPS. Published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, the study showed fathers can positively influence their son or daughter by being actively engaged with the little ones.
Erin Pougnet, a PhD candidate in the Concordia University Department of Psychology and a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development - which has been in operation for more than 30 years - said: "Compared with other children with absentee dads, kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behaviour problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older."
Ms Pougnet explained this finding is even true among socio-economically at-risk families, as a father has the ability to set appropriate limits and to influence their problem-solving abilities. She suggested dads could also play a role in a child's emotional problems, such as anxiety, social withdrawal and sadness.
Russell Hurn, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "I certainly agree. Not only do actively involved fathers provide additional emotional support but also provide modelling for behaviour, social interaction and the child's self-esteem. Being involved with your child is a way of communicating your acceptance and love for them which can help to form the basis of their self concept and therefore the way they see themselves in the world. The benefits are also for the father as a good bond with your child can promote many positive feelings of self worth, pride and a sense of achievement."
· Fewer couples think an affair is a reason to divorce
Extramarital affairs are no longer the main reason for divorce, according to research suggesting that unfaithful celebrities have made infidelity more acceptable reports the Telegraph. A study of leading family lawyers found that the most common reason for a marriage to end was couples claiming that they no longer felt in love and had “grown apart”.
The research, compiled by consultancy firm Grant Thornton, disclosed a sharp rise in pre-nuptial agreements, and evidence that many couples had merely delayed divorce in the recession, hoping for larger settlements once the economy had recovered. According to official records, the number of divorces in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level since 1974, as fewer couples choose to marry. The Grant Thornton research, which questioned 101 leading family lawyers, said that extramarital affairs had been the top reason behind marital breakdown every year since the survey was first conducted in 2003.
This year, however, infidelity was replaced as the most common cause of divorce by couples stating that they had simply fallen out of love with each other. The proportion of lawyers citing extramarital affairs as the main factor for their clients' separation – 25% - has now fallen to its lowest level since the annual survey began. However, “growing apart” or “falling out of love” has become increasingly common and was the leading reason for marital breakdown, cited by 27% of lawyers in the survey this year. Divorce lawyers are finding that people are no longer prepared to put up with unhappy marriages as in the past. Other causes of marital breakdown listed in the study included one partner having a “mid-life crisis”, emotional or physical abuse, “unreasonable behaviour” and financial worries.
Louisa Plumb, from Grant Thornton UK LLP, the financial and business advisors, suggested that the changing pattern could be attributed to celebrity couples who remained together despite one partner’s infidelity. England footballers including Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney have featured in the tabloid press for their alleged infidelities yet are reported to be attempting to mend their relationships.
“We are seeing an increasing number of ‘celebrities’ putting up with alleged affairs in their marriage or relationship – with Abbey Clancy staying with Peter Crouch, and Cheryl Cole looking all set to go back to Ashley,” she said. “It may be that this is starting to have an effect on the behaviour of couples affected by extra-marital affairs, with more marriages than before surviving a bout of infidelity.”
Christine Northam, a counsellor with Relate, said it was common for couples to say they loved each other but were no longer “in love”. “What’s normally the case is that their relationship has slid down their list of priorities, replaced by the pressures of work, money worries or raising a family,” she said. “Relationships need attention and time to nurture otherwise couples can easily drift apart.”
The report found that six out of 10 lawyers had seen a rise in the number of couples signing pre-nuptial agreements, and expected the trend to grow following a landmark Supreme Court ruling that gave such contracts legal weight last year. However, the report also warned that a separate judgment was likely to see more divorcing spouses get away with hiding assets from their partners in future.
According to 82% of lawyers, unhappy couples have delayed divorce due to the recession, with most believing that the reduced value of assets had been the main motivation for waiting.
New Books, Resources and materials
· Your relationship is precious... why not look after it?
We got the following flyer this week from Relate with a request we pass it on – so here you are:
“Here at Relate, we believe that relationships are the most precious thing in life. But we also understand that keeping a relationship healthy isn't always easy. With our new campaign, Heart to Heart, we want to spread the message that relationships deserve to be looked after and that it's best to get support as soon as possible.
Relationship expert Paula Hall says, "It’s never too late to get help for your relationship. The sooner you come to Relate, the sooner you can sort out your problems. Don’t bury your head in the sand and get help if things aren’t right.”
To give you an idea about how healthy your relationship is, we have created our new Heart to Heart health check.
You can also hear from other couples about how they approach their relationships in our new video which will give you five top tips for a healthy relationship.”
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.
· Review of Personal, Social, Health and Economics (PSHE) Education
The Government said in the Schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, that it would conduct an internal review to determine how to support schools to improve the quality of teaching of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, including giving teachers the flexibility to use their judgement about how best to deliver PSHE education
This request for representations seeks your views on the core body of knowledge that pupils need to learn through PSHE education teaching and ways to improve the quality of teaching.
Closing Date: Wednesday 30 November 2011
· Growing together
“Buyer’s remorse” (or “Purchaser’s Panic” as Liz once famously called it) is a well known phenomenon in retailing circles – basically it refers to the reaction that many of us experience when making a significant purchase – as soon as we have made a commitment we become convinced that we could have made a different (better) choice, and regret our actions – even if the product meets all our criteria for selecting it.
Of course sometimes the product doesn’t match our expectations, and before long our regret turns to full scale disappointment, and we lose interest in what we have bought, or worse still resent it and want to get rid of it. I can certainly think of personal examples of purchases that match this pattern – and one has only to watch kids with new toys to see it played out in real time.
I suspect that in a consumer society, we are seeing similar reactions to “mate selection” and marriage. We know that idealisations of our partner, and married life together, are often hopelessly over-idealised. We are fed a constant diet of super celebs, with beautifully toned bodies, living an idyllic lifestyle in perfect surroundings, and apparently wildly and passionately in love – and we wonder why our humdrum existence doesn’t quite match up. Before long the nagging questions about “Have I made the right choice?” creep in.
The report from Grant Thornton on reasons for divorce which highlights that infidelity is no longer the number one reason probably says more about our distorted idealisation of what marriage is, than it does about our attitudes to infidelity. The number one reason is simply “’growing apart’ or ‘falling out of love’” – in other words the gradual realisation that the relationship isn’t matching up to our idealisation – and the belief that somehow a different relationship (ie a “new product”) will be better.
What is missing is not a set of skills, or even a new framework of reference that sees the good rather than bad qualities in the relationship – it is a fundamental shift in the attitude to what marriage is. The covenant underpinning marriage is one of striving constantly to enable ones spouse to ever more fully become the person they can be – to enable self-actualisation. If both partners adopt this as their frame of reference and their underlying purpose, then there is no room for “buyer’s remorse” – the focus is on ‘other’, not ‘self’.
If we want to increase the popularity of marriage, and its odds of success, then we need to refocus on what makes it a success, not try and lower expectations. And it’s not a message about “relationships needing work” (which always strikes me as very onerous), but rather getting back to the underlying difference of marriage against any other relationship – the unswerving commitment to making it “best for my spouse” rather than “best for me”.
Such a focus would completely undermine the trend towards “growing apart” by ensuring that the foundation of the relationship itself is “growing together”.
Celebrity, Human and Fun stuff
· CSA reveals its ten most bizarre excuses for not paying child maintenance
The Work and Pensions Minister, Maria Miller, has said that some absent parents are using ridiculous excuses in an attempt to avoid facing their responsibilities and paying for their children reports Family Law Week. Her comments coincided with the release by the Child Support Agency of its ten worst excuses used by parents to caseworkers chasing payments. They are:
- I'm not paying another penny. I've already bought my child a pick-and-mix this week', complained one.
- Another said he could not pay for his children because he had to take his ostrich to the vet.
- A footballer earning £4000 a week said the cost of keeping his Ferrari on the road meant he wasn't able to pay off his arrears.
- One man said "I paid for her breast enhancement - and her new boyfriend is getting the benefit. I'm not paying child maintenance on top."
- A man rang the Agency to say he couldn't be the child's father because the woman who filed the claim was too ugly.
- Several have said it was against their human rights to have money deducted from their salaries.
- 'I'm not liable to pay child support because I'm no longer the person named on the child's birth certificate" was the excuse of one man - after he had changed his name by deed poll.
- Hundreds respond to arrears notices saying "the dog ate my wage slips and letters from the CSA".
- A father who had undergone a sex change becoming a woman argued she should not have to pay because she is not the man who fathered the children.
- And finally, another claimed he didn't officially exist any more because he was on the 'witness protection programme'. He wasn't and was made to pay.
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