Family Life in Britain
A "typical" British
family used to consist of mother, father and two children. But in recent years
there have been many changes in family life. For example, since the law made it
easier to get a divorce, the number of divorces has increased. That's why 24%
of British children live with only one parent, usually their mother.
The contemporary British child
doesn't have a lot of companionship from brothers and sisters, because the
average family has only one or two children. Most British children live with
their parents at least until they finish school at the age of 17 or 18. Then
many go away to college, leaving some parents sad and lonely in their empty
nest and others enjoying their release from parental responsibilities.
But many adults stay with
their parents during their college years or return home after graduation.
Today's parents cannot even be sure that their married children have moved out
forever. After a divorce they may return to the parental home temporarily or
even on a long-term basis.
Older people take pride in
their independence, enjoy their freedom and don't want to be a burden to their
children. The telephone, the car and the airplane keep them in close contact
even when they live in different parts of the country.
Members of family —
grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins-keep in touch, but they see less of each
other than they used to. This is because people often move away from home town
to work and so the family becomes scattered. Christmas is the traditional
season for reunions.
Although the family group is
smaller nowadays than it used to be, relatives often travel many miles in order
to spend the holiday together. Family parties may be all the more joyous when
they bring together relatives who haven't seen each other for a while.