What to Read Next

Half a million children 'unhappy'

12 January 2012

A happy childhood — mysterious for so many, but reminisced about for others — is proving elusive for half a million children in the UK according to a report from The Children’s Society.

By interviewing more than 30,000 children aged eight to 16 about what makes them happy, the charity identified essential elements for a happy childhood.

The biggest impact comes from having choice and family, according to The Good Childhood Report 2012 findings.

While politicians and faith leaders talk about the importance of marriage and two-parent families, this research shows that it is not structure, but the relationships within a family that matter most to children.

Loving relationships between a child and their family were found to be ten times more powerful than family structure in increasing well-being.

[Relevant: Desperate need for foster care for older children]

Stability was also found to be a priority when it comes to children’s happiness; children living with changing family members were twice as likely to suffer low well-being, the charity said.

It found low levels of well-being among children who have moved house more than twice in the past year.

Children's age was also a factor. As children get older they experienced higher levels of unhappiness, with children as young as eight being aware of financial issues within their family. Children living in households where incomes have fallen were more likely to feel sad about it.

Friendship groups and bullying can also have an impact on how happy children feel. Children like to feel similar to their friendship groups so those who have a lot less money, fewer clothes or look different have lower levels of well-being, according to the report findings.

About a third of children interviewed worried about how they looked and this increasesd with age. More girls were affected by this than boys.

The impact of an unhappy childhood is profound, the charity said. Children are less likely to enjoy being at home with their family, feel safe with their friends and feel positive about themselves and their future.

Unhappy children are also more likely to be victimised and become depressed or have eating disorders.

Elaine Hindal, The Children's Society's campaign for childhood director, said: "We are calling for a radical new approach to childhood, placing their well-being at the heart of everything we do.

"We know that, right now, half a million children are unhappy. We have discovered the key reasons for this unhappiness and what we can do to make it better.

"We want our country to be the best place for our children to grow up. Yet unless we act now we risk becoming one of the worst and creating a lost future generation.”

The Children’s Society has identified six priorities for a happy childhood and has recommended how they should be adopted by government. These are:

  • The right conditions to learn and develop.
  • A positive view of themselves and a respect for their identity.
  • Enough of the items and experiences that matter to them.
  • Positive relationships with their family and friends.
  • A safe and suitable home environment and local area.
  • The opportunities to take part in positive activities that help them thrive.

Children's Calpol doses reduced

Obese children to be put up for adoption

How to have the talk with your kids

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military - Takes 1 Min!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

The All-New 2016 Mazda6

Conviction. Creativity. Courage. This is the Mazda Way. Learn more.

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Missed Open Enrollment? You can still buy Medigap!

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period isn't the only time to buy Medigap coverage. You can actually buy at any time of the year.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Earn Up To 40,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. Apply Now!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Scary story origins for frightful fun

Scary stories are one of those things that get a rise out of everyone. But did you ever wonder about there ever being any truth to these stories?

10 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

The New Fuel Behind Oil's Death Spiral

A stunning breakthrough in chemical engineering has unleashed a massive supply of fuel that could hand the United States 100% energy independence.

Update Your Look: Bell Sleeves

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.