Half of all children born in the UK are being raised by one parent, usually the mother, “and every year an additional 20,000 people, mainly women, join the throngs of those raising children more or less singlehandedly,” according to a new report by the Centre for Social Justice.
The report, titled “Fractured Families: Why Stability Matters,” called it a “conservative estimate” that a million children in Britain grow up having “no meaningful contact at all” with their fathers. This is compounded by the “dearth” of male teachers in schools.
The effect of the absence of fathers, they said, has been “devastating”: “Children with separated, single or step-parents are 50 per cent more likely to fail at school, have low self-esteem, struggle to make friends and with their behaviour. They often battle with anxiety or depression throughout the rest of their lives.
The report also pointed out the effects of marital or relationship breakdown on the parents themselves. “Adults’ mental and physical health can take a huge knock when relationships crumble, making it much harder for them to achieve at work and be the parents they want to be,” it said.