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, cousinskeep
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.
1. Why do a lot of British children live with only one
2. What can you tell about the contemporary British child?
3. Are there many adults staying at their parents' place?
4. Older people take pride in their independence, don't they?
5. What is the traditional season for reunions?