The Children’s Society study, reported in the Family and Parenting Institute / FPI (UK) bulletin today, was tremendously encouraging to me, although quite troubling in its findings.  Basically it says that two children out of each grammar school classroom are unhappy and most of the unhappiness is caused by family conflict. Why do I find this report encouraging?  …because resolving conflicts is at the core of the mission of Parents Forum ‘to foster honest, respectful and caring communications in families’ and we all want our children to be happy. I hope this report will lead more people to adopt our program!

Briefly, quoting further from the FPI bulletin:

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: ‘’This groundbreaking study is a major step forward in our efforts to understand and enhance the well-being of young people.” In the two-year study, a team of researchers put around 100 questions to just under 7,000 children aged 10 to 15, including just over 4,700 from secondary schools. They were asked to rate how happy they were on a scale from 0 to 10 with many aspects of their lives. This is a pioneering approach because previous surveys have tended to focus on problems seen by adults as measures of well-being, rather than the views of young people, as in this survey.

Young people who felt that their family got along well together had much higher average levels of well-being than those who did not, irrespective of the family structure they lived in. So, let’s try to get along better and, when we don’t, let’s get help to figure out how to get along better. As someone who grew up in a house where crockery occasionally flew when anger got out of control, I can testify firsthand to the distress that parents’ conflicts can cause. And certainly my children could testify to the sadness they experienced at the conflict in the household where they grew up.  Sigh.