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Edward Bennett
Edward Bennett
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Family life set to change dramatically in the next decade
Date:3 DEC 2009

Fathers roles are set to change dramatically over the next decade following the shift in women's roles since the 1950s , according to new research by the Family and Parenting Institute (FPI).

The researchers also found that with the break down of the nuclear family, the extended family will be more important to child well-being in the future.

The FPI's latest research, 'Family Trends', charts changes in British families since the 1950s.

The report highlights the importance of fathers and mothers both being involved with their children whether they are together or apart. Increases in co-habitation and the decrease in marriages means children living apart from fathers at some time in their lives will be increasingly common, the researchers say. Therefore other members of the family like grandparents will be important too to provide continuity.

Twenty two per cent of couples will be in a co-habiting relationship by 2021 and the percentage of children living in a couple relationship fell from 92 per cent in 1972 to 77 per cent in 2008, the report reveals.

The report also found that approximately one in four children are being brought up by single parents compared with one in 14 in 1972.

Dr Katherine Rake, FPI's new chief executive, said: Policymakers cannot fall into the trap of investing large sums of money trying to reverse the tide of trends by trying to encourage more 'traditional families', nor will parents allow them to fall back on old assumptions which has meant women carrying the burden of ageing families and parenting demands.

"Families in Britain are pulling in all sorts of different directions. It will be up to all of us to understand them and to work with them to support them in all their complexities."