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PETER HITCHENS: Our selfish dismantling of marriage has left children in a lonely Dickensian hell

(75 Posts)
lemsip Sun 29-May-22 10:35:01

By killing lifelong marriage we are killing children. Liberal Britain cannot see this, but until somebody does, the tragedies will continue.

Last week great publicity was rightly given to a report on children’s social care. It predicted that the number of children in care, now 80,000, would rise to 100,000 by 2032, costing taxpayers a colossal £15 billion a year.

Of course many terrible things happen to children in so-called ‘care’ apart from actual violence and death. The general outcomes for children deprived of what we would once have called stable family life, and deprived of fathers, are just not very good..........
copied and pasted!

Galaxy Sun 29-May-22 10:44:34

Does he understand that those children will be in care because terrible things will have happened to them within the family.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 29-May-22 10:50:25

Well if some children were to have been taken into care they would still be alive. The two that spring to mind are Arthur and Star.

Lyndie Sun 29-May-22 10:51:54

I have stayed in a marriage not right for me so my children had a stable loving, caring life. It’s has worked for them but taken its toll on me.

Callistemon21 Sun 29-May-22 10:55:08


Well if some children were to have been taken into care they would still be alive. The two that spring to mind are Arthur and Star.

Then again, it could be argued that, if their wider families had not been kept away from them and their desperate pleas ignored by the authorities, they would still be alive today.

In those, and other cases, it is a step-parent who is to blame along with the complicit parent.

Chardy Sun 29-May-22 10:55:35

'Stable family life' sometimes depended on women being at the beck and call of men. And if they were happy to do that - fine.
But many women don't. And many parents don't want it for their daughters.

Doodledog Sun 29-May-22 11:12:28

What does he mean when he says that 'by killing lifelong marriage, we are killing children'? Are 'we' (society?) supposed to ensure that there is no escape from marriages, regardless of the misery for those within them? For life?

This doesn't sound very sensible. And a 'stable family life' can mean a miserable household, with the stability coming from the certainty that each day will be as bad as the last.

Nobody wants to see children in care, but care is by no means the most likely outcome when a marriage breaks down.

Anniebach Sun 29-May-22 11:12:46

Chardy that is not a stable family life

Galaxy Sun 29-May-22 11:14:47

I think it's the experience for a lot of women though annie which is why many are opting out. I think it's mostly women who instigate divorce if I remember rightly.

Blossoming Sun 29-May-22 11:16:23

I seldom agree with Peter Hitchens. This is another such occasion.

Casdon Sun 29-May-22 11:17:25

Good grief. Get women back in the kitchen where they belong. If ever there was a right wing diatribe about male patriarchy this must be it. I’m only surprised that it wasn’t written by Jacob Rees Mogg.

Grandmabatty Sun 29-May-22 11:17:47

What a load of tosh.

MaizieD Sun 29-May-22 11:19:51

Children in care are in a Dickensian hell because the tories have cut funding to LA care homes and social services and outsourced care provision to private providers who only look at the profit margin.

Many children of broken families have a loving and stable upbringing with care divided between both parents and sometimes including extended families. Hitchens is stirring things... Making the complex appear to be simple...

Kandinsky Sun 29-May-22 11:24:44

Poor ( or terrible ) Outcomes for children have nothing to do with marriage.
Poverty, drug/ alcohol issues, mental health issues - these are the reasons.
Basically, vulnerable people who need help.

Galaxy Sun 29-May-22 11:28:59

Well children in care would still be in a disadvantageous position even with the highest level of funding. I agree he is making very simplistic points here, on a very complex subject. I have worked in care and yes it was a different world under Blairs government, but care cannot replace the advantageous of a family (in whatever form) no matter how good it may be. It's obviously better than a dangerous abusive home.

rafichagran Sun 29-May-22 11:49:16

I dont agree with him, my daughter is a single working parent, her son has a wonderful life. He see's his Father, has travelled alot and has the best of both worlds.
A friend of mine has Grandchildren who are in a good marriage with 2 children, its wonderful for the children but many are not that lucky and staying in the marriage could be detrimental to all concerned.

DaisyAnne Sun 29-May-22 11:52:19

Why do these awful far, far right men, think they can dictate what is right for everyone else?

lemsip Sun 29-May-22 12:40:06


Why do these awful far, far right men, think they can dictate what is right for everyone else?

It's for Debate as in the headlines!

not much else going on is there

DaisyAnne Sun 29-May-22 12:54:00

That doesn't stop the views put forward to start the "debate" being those of a far, far-right man who thinks he can dictate what is right for everyone else?

Nor does it stop my contribution to the "debate" being the denouncing of him for being that person.

Doodledog Sun 29-May-22 12:55:05



Why do these awful far, far right men, think they can dictate what is right for everyone else?

It's for Debate as in the headlines!

not much else going on is there

Not much else going on? There's the dismantling of democracy, goodness knows how many women feeling disenfranchised by politicians who prioritise the rights of transwomen, the threat of world war, a cost of living crisis, the vestiges of Covid and a possible revolt in government. That's not a slow news day in my book.

Still, let's think about banning divorce, instead of supporting families so that breakdown is less likely.

Chocolatelovinggran Sun 29-May-22 13:02:08

Not quite sure what the poster wanted me to do when my husband left me. I set to :kept them, raised them, and maintained a civil relationship with my ex and his second wife.
It's what most single parents do. No Dickensian novels were involved ( except for the ones my children read at school)

Elegran Sun 29-May-22 13:27:08

He is partly right. A stable, long-term marriage where both adults are loving and considerate to one another and to their children, and provide a safe and supportive home for them, is a great environment for children - and having grown up in that environment, they are more likely to follow the example when they have children of their own

However, an environment where the parents are always at odds with one another, or one of them is abusive or coercive to the other, or to the children, is most certainly NOT good for them, and they suffer all their lives from the experience, or they may learn from it that it is OK to treat another person badly, and carry that attitude into their own partnerships and perpetuate the abuse.

Far better to support marriages that need it, and to end those which are beyond mending, and support one-parent families through the difficulties they are likely to face.

JaneJudge Sun 29-May-22 13:37:56

says a man

GagaJo Sun 29-May-22 13:44:43

A loving, secure family unit is what's needed. Male and female role models. Doesn't have to be the nuclear family. That is a modern invention.

Marriage is good for patrilineage.

DiamondLily Sun 29-May-22 13:52:39

A happy marriage, with happy parents, has been shown to be good for children.

But, staying in an unhappy, or abusive, marriage is obviously not good for adults or children.

A single parent family, which is calm, can be the best outcome.

Some children always have, and always will, end up in care.

Having worked with the care system, I would say that care homes are best avoided. That's why social workers usually look for extended family, or foster carers, if they need to take out a care order.

Life isn't that simple, and Hitchens does take the view that the cure to all modern evils is God fearing parents, staying married, produces well balanced and happy kids.

If only.🙄