Families use a day out to display happiness

UK Telegraph 13 January 2008

Family days out were once thought of as a way for parents to keep their children occupied for a few hours. But according to researchers, modern British families are increasingly opting for “highly visible” public activities to demonstrate to the outside world that they are a happy, united group. Whether it be eating out together at a restaurant, a walk in the park or visiting a museum, studies show that the decline of the traditional nuclear family has created a need for new-look families to put themselves on display.

Families made up of step-children, adopted children, new partners and same-sex couples, and which may include close friends such as godparents, increasingly feel the need to make clear to themselves and others that they are a cohesive unit. Conventional families have the same instinct, say researchers. Instead of staying at home watching television in different rooms, parents are keen to show that they are spending quality time with their children. Relatives from different parts of the country who make the effort to meet up want to celebrate their bond in public.