What’s it like to be young in the UK today?
This chapter looks at historical aspects of childhood, explores some examples of how other countries are faring with their children, and presents the realities of childhood in the UK. The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in Western Europe, Finland having most children living with both parents, compared to the UK with just 68.9%. The proportion of children living with their mother and not their father is 27.6%, while those living with only their father is 2.4%. There are rapid changes in ethnic and religious backgrounds with an influx of refugees and asylum seekers from many different languages and cultures altering beyond recognition the landscape of childhood. The issue of gender identity has exploded in recent months, with children as young as 10 being sought for their views by a leading National Health Service Trust to declare whether or not they are comfortable in their bodies.