Britain’s Collapsing Families
At the start of 1914, the British Empire was at its zenith. King George v reigned a region that spanned islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to the subcontinent of India, from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Canadian Arctic down to Cape Horn. The Royal Navy reigned supreme, and London was the financial hub of the world. Yet World War i completely transformed Britain and the fortunes of the empire. Not only did the war invoke a huge cost financially and culturally, it transformed the family unit.
Around 886,000 British military personnel died during the Great War. That accounted for 6 percent of all men in the nation. Some towns lost between 5 and 9 percent of their entire populations. In the 1921 census, there were 109 women for every 100 men. This represented a catastrophic loss of fathers in the country. Those families raised a generation of men who would fight and die in the next world war, making two consecutive generations where fathers with a connection to traditional virtues were suddenly removed from society.
The world wars also revolutionized families by bringing women into the workforce. Working mothers radically changed the foundational years of children. This trend has only increased over the decades since.
Occurring simultaneously with these catastrophic changes to the family unit has been the collapse of the British Empire. Following victory in World War ii, the Empire dissolved in a short number of years. This was witnessed by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, who wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy: “Yet we are beholding before our very eyes the diminishing and evaporating of this national greatness, wealth and power. In the case of Great Britain, it is disintegrating even more rapidly than it developed! Britain has been almost overnight stripped of her colonies and her possessions—source of her wealth—and reduced to a second-rate or third-rate power. Why?”
Indeed, why? Why did the once mighty British Empire collapse into a third-rate power? Why is Britain today facing so many crises? There are other causes, but the main root cause is the shocking, painful, and gradual decline of the family unit in Britain.
The Trumpet has been warning for years about the crisis in British families. A new independent study commission by the UK government to research the state of families in Britain has some shocking findings.
In the Children’s Commissioner’s “Family Review,” Dame Rachel de Souza and her team wrote: “Data from the Millennium Cohort Study shows that of children born in 2000–2001, 44 percent do not live with both biological parents throughout their entire childhood.” Nearly half of all British school children do not live in a traditional family. Sixty-three percent of the 8.2 million families in the UK are married couples, 23 percent have a lone parent, and 14 percent are cohabitating, switching between parents in a divorce; 80,850 British children are cared for by the state in foster homes.
The lone parenting rate in Britain is much higher than other European countries, which averages 13 percent. The report continued: “Lone parents are less likely to be employed with around 50 percent of lone mothers of a child aged zero to 4 employed, rising to 75 percent when children are aged 5 to 16.” Lone parents that must work greatly affects the amount of time that children get to spend with their parents. In 2014 to 2015, fathers spent 47 minutes per day with their kids, mothers 88 minutes. This double during the pandemic, but now in 2022 has returned to the previous levels.
How are families spending this limited time together? “Families are spending more time in the same location doing things alone (‘alone-together’ time). Time-use data shows that the average amount of time families spent in the same location but doing things alone increased from 95 minutes a day in 2000 to 136 minutes a day in 2015,” the report continued. “Of total family time per day (6.4 hours) in 2015, 2.4 hours are spent on mobile devices.”
“One of the most striking changes in family life over the past two decades has been an increase in the employment rate for mothers,” continued the report, “which has steadily increased almost 10 percentage points over the past two decades, from 67 percent in 2002 to 76 percent in 2021. Over the same period there has been a slight increase in the employment rate for fathers, from 90 percent to 92 percent.” Only a quarter of children in Britain have a mom at home. More time is spent at daycare; less time with their parents.
The statistics show many kids live through multiple divorces in the course of a single childhood. According to the report, “Data from Understanding Society shows that while at any one time around 25 percent of families are lone parent family, over a six-year period, around 33 percent of families have been a lone parent family. In other words, parental separation is quite common, but parents can also get back together, or form new relationships.” This leaves children vulnerable. Twelve percent of kids deal with parental conflict on a frequent basis; 478,000 children in Britain were living with a parent who is abusing drugs or alcohol; 219,190 children need protection from their parents due to child abuse or neglect, while 168,960 kids are affected by domestic abuse (violence between adults). Most of these children overlap into these different categories. The more divorce and separation increases, the more children will face these tragic circumstances.
The report finds that kids with two parents are more likely to have higher grades at school and are able to attain higher paying jobs. Report after report has found kids are more likely to succeed if they are in a traditional family.
What these statistics can’t capture are the scars that divorce and separation from parents inflict on children. But divorce and separation not only hurt children, it threatens the very foundation of the realm.
In The Missing Dimension in Sex, Herbert W. Armstrong documents how World War i changed societies attitude toward sex and family. After millenniums of sexual repression, a moral revolution of “sexual freedoms” took place. The became known as the New Morality and especially took hold starting in the 1960s. This moral revolution is a direct mirror image of the British Empire’s decline. Mr. Armstrong wrote: “The ‘New Morality’ became accepted by society. Divorces escalated. Family and home life became almost nonexistent—yet a solid family structure is the very foundation of a stable and enduring society. There has floated abroad the delusion that whatever is new and different is ‘more progressive’ and ‘modern,’ and therefore better. Far more often it is retrogression!”
The family unit, as defined in the Bible, is the foundation of any society and nation. A country is only as strong as the character of its people. This moral revolution eroded character and eroded the institution that best instructs children, the leaders of tomorrow, in character: the family unit!
Mr. Armstrong further wrote: “Before World War i it was a rare married woman who worked away from home. I remember, during World War i, my own surprise at seeing women employed for the first time as elevator operators in the Marshall Field store in Chicago! Such jobs never had been for women!” Now 75 percent of British mothers work, either out of necessity or by choice.
The Missing Dimension in Sex was first written in the 1960s and updated in 1981. After seeing the destruction of the family unit in Britain and the United States, Mr. Armstrong gave this warning:
Since it is a basic truism that a solid family structure is the foundational bulwark of any stable and permanent society, this fact means only one thing—civilization as we know it is on the way down—and out—unless that great “Unseen Strong Hand from Someplace” soon intervenes and saves today’s sick society. …
Family life has undergone a radical revolution! … Parents have their lives, associates and friends apart from the children. Parents never think of teaching children, being with children, maintaining a family relationship! Parental responsibility is totally neglected. In due time parents are going to be brought to account for this neglect of basic responsibility.
The many forces working to destroy the family in Britain are contributing to the nation’s fatal decline. Of all the crises facing the country, this is the most fatal!
Only the Bible can fully explain why and how all these events are happening. The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains how the British Empire came to be and why it is no more. The Missing Dimension in Sex explains the Bible truth on family. It outlines the solutions, the missing dimension in knowledge, that is lacking in modern families. It also documents the family decline inside our modern nations. You can learn this vital missing dimension and build a happy family that lives an abundant life!
To learn more about why Britain is declining, and why family is so important to you and your country, please read these two life-changing books.