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50 Years of Parenting - How have things changed?

PUBLISHED: 13:57 13 September 2011 | UPDATED: 22:02 21 February 2013

50 Years of Parenting - How have things changed?

50 Years of Parenting - How have things changed?

This September marks the 50th birthday of Mothercare and to celebrate they have collated a retrospective look at parenting in Britain from the baby boom of the 1960's to today...

This September marks the 50th birthday of Mothercare and to celebrate they have collated a retrospective look at parenting in Britain from the baby boom of the 1960s to today. From mums attitude to work to her lifestyle and family dynamic as well as the support available to parents and the Governments stance on benefits and maternity leave, the outlook for parents today is considerably different to what parents have faced over the past five decades.


The month of September is traditionally a baby boom period, with recent figures predicting 20% more births. The research has shown that these new babies will be born into a considerably different family environment to the babies of the Sixties. Fifty years ago, at the start of the historic baby boom of the 1960s, just 6% of mums were not married when they gave birth compared to nearly half (47%) today and mothers were, on average, two years younger (27.4) than todays mothers (29.5).

The typical family dynamic has changed too there are now nearly three million lone-parent families (nearly one in five of all families in the UK). The role of grandparents has also evolved within the family unit, with nearly one in four of modern day parents financially aided by their grandparents.

Attitudes towards parenting have shifted dramatically over the past fifty years, especially when it comes to the world of work. Back in the Sixties, mums were expected to leave work after having a baby and stay at home to bring up the children; maternity leave had not been established and remained a patchy issue until 1970. In stark contrast, the busy life of the modern mum has become a real balancing act. Most mothers today work and either want to manage a career alongside parenthood or feel the pressure to; two-thirds (66%) of UK mothers with dependent children are in work, with over a quarter (29%) working full time.

Compared to that of 50 years ago, there are new and different challenges facing not just todays parents but tomorrows too. Our lifestyles are busier than ever and with significant squeezes to child benefits in this difficult financial period and new proposals from the Government to halve maternity pay for up to half of all mothers, parents have plenty on their plate. A majority no longer live near their relatives and are consequently reliant on a wealth of information and services that didnt exist fifty years ago including the internet and extensive parental services. This wealth of information - on and offline - to help parents deal with their childcare challenges can often be useful, but can also leave some parents feeling confused and overwhelmed in terms of the choice and what is trustworthy information, whilst also pressured to have it all.

This video takes a look at just what the main pros and woes of being a parent were fifty years ago in comparison to the challenges facing parents of today, through first hand experiences and expert insight.

For more information on Mothercares 50thbirthday, visitmothercare.com

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