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What does the Shannon Matthews Case Suggest about Family Life in Modern Britain

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What does the Shannon Matthews' case suggest about family life in modern Britain? This essay will examine and discuss whether the Matthews family is a typical representation of family life in modern Britain. It will take a look at social class and investigate whether this effects the morals and mechanics of family units today, taking into account contributing factors such as financial issues, the benefit system and changing values in the 21st century. Nine year old Shannon Matthews from Dewsbury, West Yorks, went missing for a period of 24 days in February this year, in a suspected kidnapping. Shannon was found a short distance from her home, and later media coverage informed us that despite her publicised pleas for Shannon's safe return, her mother Karen, had known of her whereabouts the whole time. Since her release Shannon has remained in the care of social services. Her mother has been charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice. Shannon's stepfather Craig Meehan was charged with possessing indecent images of children. Public and media speculation suggests that the kidnapping was little more then a publicity stunt that went wrong. Police officers are examining alleged similarities between Shannon's disappearance and a storyline from the Channel 4 drama series 'Shameless' that was shown shortly before the nine-year-old vanished. ...read more.


are trying to get back on their feet, but also; layabouts, high school drop outs, drug addicts and those involved in criminal activities. Many of the underclass are quite happy to live and raise their children on state benefits. Through an attempt to help the needy the welfare state has created a dependency culture with no incentive to work, marry or educate themselves and who expect handouts to survive. The benefit system highlights the perks of not working, recipients not only receive free money from the state but can also be entitled to free health care, interest free loans and free or discounted accommodation and council tax. Council housing estates increase the segregation of the underclass from the rest of society and creates a never ending social circle of crime, dependency and insolence. People who live on these estates rarely have any positive influences around them, grouping deprived families together in one community leaves them with nobody to learn from except each other. "Council estates became places of last resort for people who had failed to keep up. They have been given this label of the 'underclass' ....and begin to act like worthless people. ...read more.


Conclusion Shannon Matthews family is not a valid representation of family life in modern Britain. Families now come in many shapes and sizes and are defined by much broader categories. It would be stereotypical to assume that untraditional family units or those that are further down the social ladder are more likely to have come from an unstable family background and themselves incapable of creating and sustaining a successful family life. Despite the fact that modern life has altered the mechanics of the family unit, many families/parents are still striving to provide for their children in the best way that they can, regardless of social status. Parents from lower and underclass backgrounds are just as likely to provide loving and caring parenting and create insightful and ambitious children as those from other classes. In comparison, those from the upper and middle classes are just as likely to create dysfunctional family units where the children feel neglected and unloved because of their parents busy lifestyles. It is the ignorance of individuals that play the main part in the creation of dysfunctional families and the negative psychological issues this then creates for those within that family. Overall an individuals personal strengths, weaknesses and morals are what cause them to make their choices in life regardless of nature, nurture and social grouping. ...read more.

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