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to think the Coalition need to rethink their idea of the family.

(9 Posts)
Dahlen Tue 06-Nov-12 08:21:14

Ok, so the Tories have always stood for women to suck it up in the name of 'family values', but AIBU to think it's about time they actually considered what they mean with the phrase 'family values'?

40% of relationships (marriages and cohabitation both included) with children fail. That's nearly half. Of the remaining 60%, we all know that many of them will be unhappy. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence. Research suggests as many as 1 in 6 men do too. Infidelity is common place.

I don't think we're experiencing a terrible thing when people refer to 'family breakdown'. I think what's happened is that more and more people (namely women) are less prepared to put up with a crap life. And IMO this is A Good Thing.

So isn't it about time that we accepted this as a normal social development? Just as the nuclear family usurped the traditional extended family, which in turn usurped the tribal based structures of the past. Society changes over time and this is just another example of that. It's not a bad thing unless it leads to social problems. And all the research shows that it's not being brought up in single parent families that does the damage, it's the socio-economic factors associated with it - things such as poverty and education (when these things are equalled to coupled families, there are NO differences in outcome for children). Things such as witnessing violence and hostility in the home between parents - in which case how is forcing couples to stay together going to help?

Why not accept that since 40% of children will grow up without one of their parents living with them, we need to tackle issues about maintenance and contact . Why not go further to equalise maternity and paternity rights and encourage fathers to take on greater domestic responsibility? All the evidence shows that in families where the father is equally involved during the child's first year and plays an active role in housework are (a) less likely to split in the first place, (b) far more likely to maintain a positive relationship with their children in the event of a split, and (c) more likely to pay maintenance consistently.

Why not accept that since many families are blended families, taxation and benefits need to take this into account?

Why not accept that in an age where living costs are so high, most families need both adults to work and therefore affordable childcare is not an issue that is going to go away.

OF course, we could try to tackle these problems at source. We could tackle paternity rights (already happening, which is a good thing, but much more needs doing).

We could make a serious attempt to tackle domestic violence by making it completely socially unacceptable rather than cutting rape crisis centres, refuges and social fund grants that allow the abused to leave.

We could make non payment of maintenance a criminal offence and enforce it instead of trying to increase the already-a-majority of parents who receive nothing from their co-parents by deciding to tax those who have no choice but to use the CSA.

We could leave child benefit alone instead of sending the message that women are mere appendages of men by removing their entitlement to it depending on what their menfolk earn (despite the fact that a significant proportion of the affected families will involve children who are not the male earner's).

Ironically, if we encouraged greater respect to, and financial responsibility for, the vulnerable, if we encouraged greater co-operation between people and less tolerance of bad behaviour, I think family breakdown would actually decrease. Instead, I'm seeing a concerted effort to demonise women who dare to say "No more of this shit" single parents. An effort to force women out of the workplace and back into the home to avoid tackling childcare issues and skew employment statistics, to cut support for women and children in order to tackle the deficit. An effort to make the abused of both genders suck it up instead of leave. sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 06-Nov-12 09:40:17

YABU... I don't think the Coalition are trying to force any one particular type of family. The CB issue doesn't make women 'appendages', far from it. We are taxed separately, can have our own property and assets, and can earn money of our own..... we don't have to be dependent on a man for our way of life and we certainly don't have to be dependent on £20/week from a government. It's very old-style thinking that women need a hand-out because they're incapable of making their own way in the world.

Teethkissing Tue 06-Nov-12 09:43:18

yes YANBU....they need to belt up IMO, and stop living in la-la land

Teethkissing Tue 06-Nov-12 09:45:52

'not being realistic' and being 'idealistic' is often a criticism levelled at 'liberals' and 'lefties'. But its clear, that it is actually the conservatives that think they can create a utopia where everyone is how they want them to be, and happy and functional and behaves impeccably

its a bit stepford wives innit? <the fear emoticon>

Dahlen Tue 06-Nov-12 09:51:40

I don't recall writing that women need a handout or that they are dependent on a man for their way of life. That assumption is inherent in the Coalition's decision that child benefit should can only be awarded after taking into account the higher earner's (nearly always the man's) salary. That's my point.

And with all due respect, whether you are working or not, £20 a week (and let's not forget that's just for one child) makes a big difference to many people's income. At one point in my life that was my weekly food allowance for two of us.

MrsjREwing Tue 06-Nov-12 09:55:33

I read today that tax evasion is still rife. In the meantime the governments stooge ATOS take the piss of the vulnerable.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 06-Nov-12 09:56:11

The assumption behind the introduction of Family Allowance (1946) or Child Benefit was that mothers didn't work, were reliant on men for money and that, unless it went to mothers directly, children wouldn't get fed because men would refuse to tip up the housekeeping. Times -one hopes - have changed.

Dahlen Tue 06-Nov-12 10:32:13

I'm not sure they have that much Cogito. While the vast majority of women do work, they remain the lower earners by a significant margin. And financial abuse and a form of mismanagement that always seems to leave the woman worse off than the man is rife. Quite often we see women in situations where they are making sacrifices for the family budget and yet the man still plays golf every saturday morning or thinks nothing of buying the latest Xbox game.

But CB is but a small part of it. None of these changes would make a huge difference in their own right, but the cumulative effect is quite powerful and sends a strong message IMO.

Hexenbiest Tue 06-Nov-12 11:00:20

I do think a lot of their policies are based on 1950s middle class model of working DH and SAHM. I also think they are so cushioned by wealthy and privilege that they don't get that stagnating wages/cut hours combined with rising living costs - transport, energy, food, housing is massively affecting everyone.

I think it easier to moralise than fix fundamental structural problems. I also think there is a lot of running the country down to appeal to a certain set of voters.

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