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Families with young children feel the pinch

Worries about money are putting a major strain on families with young children


An annual study of more than 6,000 people across the UK found a third of parents with children under five said that childcare and bringing up their children were two of their top concerns.

The main worry was money, with 61 per cent of mums and dads citing cash flow problems as the top strain on their relationship.

When parents were questioned about their work-life balance, 40 per cent of those who worked and had young children, agreed there is an assumption that the most productive employees put work before family.

That compares with 33 per cent of those without children.

The research also found that 13 per cent of parents with under-fives were more likely to report that they argue with their partner all the time, most of the time or more often than not.

Relate’s annual study, The Way We Are Now 2015, was co-produced with Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care and is one of the largest of its kind across the country.

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of Relate, said: “This study provides a unique insight into the state of the nation’s relationships.

“It raises particular concerns for the relationships and wellbeing of families with young children as they juggle finances, childcare and work.”

The findings suggest that mums and dads are feeling the pressure across many areas of life, and their relationships tend to be of a poorer quality than those who have no children.

Mr Sherwood added: “We know that financial struggles are one of the biggest talking points in our counselling rooms.

“But whilst relationship support services help to build the resilience families need to weather these storms, there is also clear potential for wider action from government to address the root causes here.

Mr Sherwoods comments follow the announcement last year by the Prime Minister of the introduction of a Family Test.

Its objective is to introduce an explicit family perspective to the policy-making process, and ensure that potential impacts on family relationships and functioning are made explicit and recognised in the process of developing new policy.

Mark Molden, Chief Executive of Marriage Care, said: “This research reminds us of an important truism; relationships matter to us and affect every aspect of our lives.

“Revealing the highs and lows that characterise most relationships, it presents us with a critical challenge: if our relationships are so obviously precious to us, are we doing enough to nurture and protect them?”

With childcare featuring highly in the study, many parents will be pleased by David Cameron’s announcement last week, that he is bringing forward plans to double free childcare for working parents.

It means that those with 3 and 4-year-olds will be entitled to 30 hours a week

The Prime Minister said that the scheme will be available to up to 600,000 families.

If you are concerned about family life or are having money problems, visit:

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