Jornal de Notícias - 4/5/2008

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Jornal de Notícias - 4/5/2008

Postby Li » Sun May 04, 2008 2:08 am

The family crisis in the United Kingdom

Rita Jordão, correspondent in London

It is not from today that we are shocked by the lack of affection amongst the British families or the way the children enter in the adult world. Although it's frequent to assist to the "abandonment" of the youngsters in benefit of a good night spent in the bars of Algarve, it is difficult to conceive that Kate and Gerry McCann can be the example - or even the precocious victims - of a society where family life no longer exists.

The social pressure, the professional careers demands, the new technologies provoked the development of an individualistic society in which the children detach themselves from the parents as soon as they arrive to the legal age. These factors can be found in different classes and the McCanns did not escape to this social phenomena. Appearing to be the British perfect family, Madeleine's parents made a mistake that in some societies is considered unjustifiable and indefensible.

"Kate and Gerry represent the middle class, the English middle class and although we can think that their attitude of leaving the children alone at home might be wrong, they were not the only ones that did it. All the group took the same decision during the holidays in Praia da Luz and we must admit that in comparison with the Latin families, in United Kingdom, the children do not belong to the adult world, they don't dine out with the parents even because the parents would be judged because of that", explains Antonella Lazzeri journalist of the talbolid "The Sun" that follows the case since the beginning.

This is not however a novelty in the British society. According to a sociologist in the last years the British family has assisted to a decline almost irreversible.

"The family life changed drastically in the last years and such changes created new tension for parents and children" said the expert Angela Huges in 2005, putting in evidence the appearance of untraditional families that represent today more than 35% of the British society. A study made by UNICEF in 2007 accuses the family environment of the social crisis that affects "the heart of the British society".

According to that report, the United Kingdom is even the worst industrialised nation for the youngsters. The consequences include increasing numbers of youth crime, the higher rate of alcohol consumption in Europe, the fattest youth in Europe as well as the youth that loses virginity the earliest.

"This is a problem that affects all the society and we cannot continue to ignore our attitudes towards the youngsters. It is time to stop demonizing them and begin to support their decisions" defends the professor Albert Aynsley-Green,commenting on the report. And whilst the lower classes face increasing problems like the higher rates of pregnancy amongst the youngsters in Europe, with the gang culture and the excessive consumption of "pints" of beer between 1600 hours on Friday and 2300 hours on Sunday, every week the middle classes face other problems as the increasing detachment amongst the family members that led to the development of a society without emotions and without inter personal relationship and in which the youngsters and the elderly are neglected by lack of time , lack of money or more frequently by lack of will.

And amongst the group of the McCann's friends it was not only the nights that the children stayed alone. A great part of the days were also spent in creches and children clubs. A decision that reflects the statistics that children in the United Kingdom spend less time with their parents than children in other developed countries. A decision that still continues to astonish even the biggest defenders of the innocence of Kate and Gerry.

"Several people would think that a couple that spend all week working and have a busy life would want to spend every minute of the day during the holidays with their children. But people are different and only they can know why they took that decision", defends Nick Britten, journalist of the "Daily Telegraph" that since the beginning believed that Kate and Gerry are innocent victims of a tragedy.
http://jn.sapo.pt/2008/05/04/policia_e_ ... unido.html
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