27 March 2007

Breaking The Cycle

I don't know if anyone else noticed the juxtaposition of two items referring to single parents in the news this morning. The first was on state-backed marriage preparation classes in America, where bolstering marriage has become a cornerstone of social policy, with fears that the remorseless rise in lone parenthood is fuelling welfare dependency and inner-city problems. One single mother interviewed who had been raised by a single mother and who had two daughters who were single mothers talked of how she was now trying to teach her fourteen-year-old daughter that it is better to have a child with a husband than a boyfriend. When asked whether she objected to the state trying to tell her how to approach her relationships, she complained that she would rather see politicians talk more about healthy marriages, to get off the fence and give more of a lead in this area.

The second item was about the Fabian Society report Born Unequal that more babies are born underweight in Britain than anywhere else in Europe except Greece, the proportion having increased by more than 15% since 1989, with teenage mothers and older women being most at risk. They also reveal that lone parents are nine times as likely to have a stillbirth as other parents and babies born to working-class mothers are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those with middle-class parents.

Anyone else spot a connection?


Joanna said...

We're used to the maxim that "prevention is better than cure" in our health system - well the same applies to our relationships. Despite the wonderful work done by charities such as Relate, it isn't always easy (or cheap) to find help when it's needed. Perhaps the Fabian report will convince ministers that providing some cash to make counselling more widely available and help out couples on low incomes, actually makes sound economic sense in the long term.