Before I return "Family Secrets" by Deborah Cohen to the library I wanted to share one paragraph with you because it made me smile. I don't know how often I have read about how bad today's society is - moral decline, increased violence, more divorce, increase in one-parent families, more delinquent children etc..
I think this is the cry of every generation - because in 1940 they bemoaned the same story - in fact what is written below could fit today!
First detected in the 1930s, the breakdown of the family had become nearly a truism by the following decade. There were the so-called "problem families", whose acute poverty and neglected children brought them to the attention of authorities. Even worse, though, were the signs of a moral breakdown among the populace at large. Skyrocketing rates of illegitimacy; a huge rise in the number of divorces; an epidemic of juvenile delinquency, personified by the spectacle of degenerate and rebellious Teddy Boys; an influx of colonial subjects with their own distinctive patterns of familial life; bombed-out families doubling up and getting on each others nerves: everywhere the fragility - but also the centrality - of family life was apparent. . . . Britain was in serious trouble. (page 197 "Family Secrets")
The answer to the moral woes of the 1940s . . . the introduction of family counselling with Marriage Guidance Centres set up across Great Britain. Did these centres stop the moral decline and halt divorce? No, divorce continued to climb. I remember my brother reading me a line from a book written several centuries prior about the moral decline of the younger generation and how badly they were behaving. I think we often look at previous generations with rose-coloured glasses, however I do think each generation is slipping a little further. But I do think with the internet and television we are "seeing" the moral decline whilst, in the past, the seedy underground was much harder for "nice" ordinary people to see or hear about.