Understanding Society reveals children’s happiness in decline

A new report by The Children’s Society, The Good Childhood Report 2013, finds the happiness of UK children is in decline, with teenagers experiencing particularly low well-being.

Using data from ISER’s longitudinal study of UK families, Understanding Society, and its predecessor, the British Household Panel Survery, the report highlights a period of rising well-being (children’s happiness and satisfaction with their lives) between 1994 and 2008. But finds this stalled – and may have begun to decline – in recent years.

Teenagers aged 14 and 15 are particularly affected as they have the lowest life satisfaction of all children, according to the report. Fourteen to fifteen percent of this age group were found to have low well-being, compared to just 4 percent of eight year olds.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“The well-being of our future generation in the UK is critical. So it is incredibly worrying that any improvements this country has seen in children’s well-being over the last two decades appear to have stalled.

These startling findings show that we should be paying particular attention to improving the happiness of this country’s teenagers. These findings clearly show that we can’t simply dismiss their low well-being as inevitable ‘teen grumpiness’. They are facing very real problems we can all work to solve, such as not feeling safe at home, being exposed to family conflict or being bullied.

It is so important that we all, from governments to professionals to parents, talk, listen and take seriously what children and teenagers are telling us."


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