Posted May 03, 2018 09:18:53 A new norm for families to raise children in the UK is to have a baby in their first six months.
But it’s not just about being “more family-friendly”, it’s also about having a better quality of life, according to a new study.
The research, conducted by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), found that children in families who are well-educated and financially well-off were less likely to experience homelessness or have an unmet need for care.
“The new norm is for families who have access to childcare to start a family within a year of starting their child’s first birthday,” the study, released on Tuesday, said.
“This is a great change, but the UK still has a long way to go before it is truly family-oriented.”
The research found that the majority of the families surveyed (75 per cent) had no children by their first birthday, compared to 40 per cent of the non-parents.
The study found that more than half of all UK parents (56 per cent), who were aged between 35 and 44, said they had children, compared with just over a third of the children (30 per cent).
Of those children, half had no parents and more than two-thirds (68 per cent, compared the UK average of 57 per cent) had a mum or dad who did not have a full-time job.
A majority of parents (65 per cent): have a child by the age of 18The study also found that most parents (62 per cent in total) said they were satisfied with their children’s care.
But it also found the UK’s childcare sector is still lagging behind many other developed countries, with only 17 per cent satisfied with the quality of care they received at home.
A lack of support is a major concern for parents who are considering raising a child, with nearly half of parents who had children in 2014 saying that the lack of resources was the main reason for their decision to leave their children at home, the report said.
The report also found parents were also more likely to have been forced out of their homes, with 46 per cent saying they had been forced into homelessness, compared, on average, with 34 per cent who had stayed home.
But the report found that parents were more likely than the general population to report being “overwhelmed” with caregiving responsibilities, with 37 per cent describing this as the most pressing reason they left home.
“It’s clear that a child’s development depends on their parents’ presence,” said the report.
The Royal College’s Chief Executive, Dr Claire Taylor, said that although the number of children in care has dropped in the past two decades, parents still have a lot of responsibilities, including childcare.
“In the past, parents had a lot more control over what was happening to their children, and were able to make decisions about the quality and availability of services and childcare, rather than being a passive partner in these decisions,” she said.
Dr Taylor said that the UK was one of the few countries in the world that had been unable to achieve universal access to a single, universal childcare scheme, but she said that if there was a “good reason” why families might be reluctant to have children, it was likely that parents had been coerced into having a child at all.
The RCPCH’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Matthew Lewis, said the findings revealed that families needed to make a greater effort to be more family-focused.
“For the first time in decades, more than a third (37 per cent to be precise) of parents are not satisfied with how their child is being treated, which is alarming,” he said.
“It’s time we started taking steps to support families to be better equipped to support their children in a way that is both sustainable and in line with the needs of their child.”