Over a Million Children in UK Grow Up Fatherless

July 13, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. feeble [FEE-buh l] (adj.) – lacking force or strength; weak
Example: A feeble government cannot implement laws very effectively.

2. turn a blind eye [turn-a- blahynd- ahy] (idiom.) – to ignore someone or something (e.g. a problem)
Example: The school principal cannot turn a blind eye on the children’s bad behavior in school.

3. desert [DEZ-ert] (n.) –  an area which is characterized by the absence of something, oftentimes water
Example: Some places in Australia are considered deserts due to lack of water and vegetation.

4. tackle [TAK-uh l] (v.) – to face a problem or issue
Example: The government will tackle some issues concerning family problems.

5. encourage [en-KUR-ij, -KUHR-] (v.) – to motivate someone to have  hope, courage and confidence
Example: The government encouraged the married couples to maintain good relationship for the benefit of their children.


Read the text below.
A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) report states that the number of children growing up fatherless in the UK has now passed the million mark.

The report revealed that single parent families increase by 20,000 each year and will reach more than two million by 2015. Over the past 40 years, family breakdown has been constantly increasing.

In many towns of England and Wales, over 50% of households with dependent children are headed by a single mother. Manor Castle ward of Sheffield ranked the highest with 75% of households with a single parent. Riverside in Liverpool ranks second with 65% of households with dependent children.

With the lack of fathers in households, CSJ director Christian Guy warns that some of the poorest parts of the country have already become “men deserts.” Thus, more children are growing up without meaningful relationships with their fathers. Higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy, and other problems involving the youth are also linked to the fatherlessness in households.

The CSJ criticized the government for having a feeble response to the problem and for turning a blind eye to its commitment to promote family stability. Hence, the CSJ calls for comprehensive actions to tackle existing policies for family stability.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) responded by paying more attention to programs for families. To encourage marriage, the DCLG provided work opportunities as well as tax reduction for parents. The government hopes that these measures would promote family stability and reduce crimes involving the youth.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think there are families with single parents?
·         In your opinion, why is fatherlessness linked to teenage pregnancy, crime, and anti-social behavior among children?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how can the government help reduce/lessen the increasing number of single parents?
·         What do you think are the other disadvantages of growing up without a father? Why do you say so?


July 13, 2013