A landmark report on childhood says our greed culture has damaged them so badly they need lessons in love
Times on Line (UK) 1 Feb 09
BRITAIN’S cult of individualism, greed and selfishness has so blighted children’s lives that families and pupils need basic training in love and moral responsibility, according to a landmark report on the state of childhood. More than 35,000 people contributed to the inquiry, which recommends measures including emotional report cards for children to give a snapshot of their mental and moral state at the ages of 5, 11 and 14. The report, endorsed by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is likely to be used as a weapon by the Conservatives to attack Labour for what David Cameron has called “broken Britain”.
…It paints a stark picture of social breakdown. The report cites evidence that this country has some of the worst rates of child unhappiness, poverty, family breakdown and child violence in the western world. Two-thirds of respondents say the moral values of children have declined; other polls show people’s trust in one another has crumbled. One of the most controversial areas covered by the report is the effect of women working. It claims female economic independence as well as feckless fathers have contributed to family break-up while also reducing the amount of time a child spends with its parents. In a poll for the inquiry, 60% of respondents said parents did not spend enough time with their children. The inquiry warns that parents should not rely excessively on nurseries but should turn more to relatives to help with childcare. It also deplores the acquisitiveness promoted by advertising targeted at children.