Family responsibilities

Family responsibilities are central to the British way of life. Most of us have a ‘family tree’ and memories of growing up within a family environment. This basic principle begins with responsibilities for your own child or children, but it also encompasses any other family member with whom you have shared many experiences, such as a sibling.

Parental responsibility for and rights over a child are enshrined in law under the Children Act 1989 and includes providing a home, protection and care, and arranging for education and medical services. It is also expected that parents make efforts to socialise the child and encourage him or her to participate in cultural activities.

Children’s responsibilities towards elderly parents is a role reversal, whereby the adult child takes care of a parent or parents who are having difficulty in looking after themselves. They may have them move in with them, or organise accommodation in a nursing home. In the not-too-distant past, families lived in the same area, making it much easier to pop in and see each other, but the sense of family ties is as strong today as ever, even though communication may be mainly over the phone or the internet.

(Image: brfcs at

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