‘Its not how green the grass is, it’s how happy the cow’ – The Children’s Society research shows why we need a holistic view of well-being

The Children’s Society director of research, Gwyther Rees, presents the new research

Last night The Children’s Society launched the latest findings in its ongoing programme of research on children’s well-being in the UK.

Speaking at the event, the Archibishop of York Dr John Sentamu, called for children’s well-being to take centre stage in decision-making. He argued that measuring how children feel is as important as understanding economic factors in their lives and urged politicans and practicioners to take a more ‘holistic’ view, and include the quality of family relationships, friendships and choices in their assessments.

Explaining the need to understand well-being alongside other factors in young people’s lives, referring to his rural village childhood the Archibishop said that ‘its not how green the grass is, it’s how happy the cow’.

He criticised our tendency to focus on material posessions – when the data produced by the Children’s Society research proves that ‘enough is enough’ and that the happiest children are those that feel that they have don’t have too much or too little money or possessions.

The Children’s Society research also showed how vital it is for children to have loving relationships at home and feel safe. Some of the other interesting points from the research were:

  • It is quality of relationships between children and their families, rather than the structure of the family, that most influences young people’s well-being. The quality of relationships is ten times more important than the structure of families to explain variations.
  • There is a strong link between changes in income and children’s well-being. Children living in households which had experienced a reduction in income over the last year were much more likely to have low well-being.
  • Bullying has a large effect on well-being. Children who had been bullied more than three times in the last three months were six times as likely to experience low well-being as those who had never been bullied.

Concluding his speech,  the Archibishop said that well-being matters – and it is up to all of us to make sure that it is taken seriously as a measure of the quality of young people’s lives.

To read more about The Children’s Society’s research on well-being click here.

To visit NPC’s Well-being Measure website click here.


About John Copps

John is part of NPC's research and consulting team and is the founder of NPC's Well-being Measure, a social business that provides an online tool to measure young people’s well-being. He has eight years experience of research and consulting, and is passionate about how data can be used to improve the performance of organisations. John is a regular contributor to NPC's blog and has also contributed to pieces for BBC Radio, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. John is a governor of a secondary school.
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