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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Family


Please see below selected recent family-related change.


See also: 


March 2024

  • Research showed that almost half of families are being excluded from today's modern digital society. The study by academics at the University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, and the digital inclusion charity the Good Things Foundation found that 45% of families with children lacked the online skills or access to devices, data and broadband required to participate in a technology-driven world. There is a significant digital divide across Europe, as a map of internet usage across the continent indicated. 


February 2024

  • For The School of Life, we would think parents who had spent close to a couple of decades ministering to their children would in time be keen to get them off their hands, but this would be to underestimate just how much certain parents are - in privacy - relying on their children to satisfy a range of emotional needs with which they are struggling: the need to feel powerful, to have an audience, to play a role, to exist. These are not necessarily desires it is easy to own up to. Rare is the parent who can reveal to their child that their maturity - which the child might have fought for over many years - poses a threat to their integrity, which would be better assured if the child could, somehow, agree to remain dependant for the rest of their lives.
  • However, surveys by America’s Pew Research Centre found only 9% of 18 to 34-year-olds saying their parents are too involved in their lives, despite majorities of parents admitting to texting or phoning their offspring several times a week, and giving advice on jobs, finances and health. Gen Z seem pretty relaxed with parents who can’t let go. Far from being fed up with all the intrusion, the majority say they rely on their parents for emotional and financial support.


January 2024

  • A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US explored how the size and structure of families will change by the end of the century. The researchers estimated that a 65-year-old woman living in 1950 had 41 living relatives in her extended family. By 2100, such a woman is projected to have just 25 living relatives. Middle-aged adults may come under increasing pressure, forced to care for their children while also caring for their older parents.


September 2023

  • 6.83 million Chinese couples registered to marry in 2022, down more than 800,000 from 2021 and the lowest level since the country began taking records. Zero COVID policies discouraged many from marrying over tat period, but this may also be further proof of China's slow but steady demographic decline. Meanwhile, even those who are tying the knot are more hesitant to have children, a factor contributing to China’s first population decline in 60 years, and a concern for policy planners in Beijing.


February 2023



January 2023

  • Political philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse wrote in their book, Family Values, that what happens in the family home matters as much as income levels and good schooling. They even go so far as to argue that an egalitarian liberal ought not to help their children with their homework. It is true to say that growing up in a home in which there are books and strong parental obligations are big advantages not just early in, but throughout life.


January 2022

  • A Glasgow museum invited families and people with dementia to volunteer, ahead of its reopening following an extensive renovation, The Burrell Collection turned to previously untapped sources of potential helpers. Instead of just appealing to solo adults, the Collection invited families to sign up as a group, which meant parents could contribute to their community while spending meaningful time with their children, and without needing to organise childcare. For the museum, it's an opportunity to connect with younger generations. (For more, see What's Changing? - Memory.)


December 2021


June 2021

  • The pandemic affected 10s of millions of families with young children where both parents still had to work. Mothers, especially, were under pressure, as they “turned down promotions, reported higher stress levels, and less job flexibility” with many leaving their job to care for their families and children. A surge of startups - all recently dubbed “FamTech” - claim to becoming to the aid of families, providing solutions across a myriad of categories.  “This is not only a huge market opportunity, but also a critical engine to economic growth.” explained Chian Gong, partner at Reach Capital in Forbes. “The companies that build trusted brands with families will have significant influence over the US$4.3tn in family spending.” “The trends that are exciting me the most are solutions to help recognise that the home is the most important organisation,” described Eve Rodsky, author of Fair Play in Forbes. 
  • Many families struggled to cope under household management tasks - managing, scheduling, organising and planning doctor’s appointments, dates, childcare, etc. Families were overwhelmed and women, where much of this load fell, were burned out and exited workforces. Startups that can help families manage the mental load will have a huge market opportunity, as it's a nascent space. Some early stage startups, such as Maple, a “SaaS backoffice for the family” that raised $3.5 million in early 2021, and Milo, a smart family assistant, are among companies that have popped up in this space. 


March 2021


November 2020


September 2020

  • About a quarter of the U.S. population is estranged from a close relative at any given time, according to new research conducted by Karl Pillemer, a family sociologist and professor of human development at Cornell University. And, he says, as tensions over politics, racial issues and the pandemic strain many families - and chronic stress makes us more reactive - there may be more on the way.


May 2020


April 2020

  • A Medium article argued that the coronavirus pandemic seems almost designed to showcase the farce of our societal approach to separating work and family lives. People are expected to work from home full time. And care for their children full time. And they cannot have anyone outside their immediate household help. It can’t work and people are suffering at the illusion that it does. Children may be losing out — on peace of mind, education, engagement, the socialisation for which they are built - and employers may be losing out, too. Whether the office policy is to expect full-time work or whether people are offered a lot of flexibility, work is less good, there is less of it, and returns will be diminishing the longer the juggle goes on.


March 2020


July 2019

  • For The School of Life, it is a regrettable but understandable fact that many of us have a somewhat difficult relationship with our families. Whether they are too overbearing, or too distant, whether they fight constantly, or rarely speak at all, we resent their faults, and blame them for bequeathing us our own. Once we’ve left home, many of us do our best to avoid them - or abandon them altogether. But there are reasons why family matters - chief amongst them being the knowledge they hold about ourselves. Friends, colleagues and partners, arriving at a fairly late stage of our development, see only the results of our upbringing: the people we have (eventually) become. But our relatives have a key advantage; they have known us all our lives. They know, perhaps better than anyone, the person we really are - and have always been. Though they may be the ultimate cause of our emotional difficulties, they also represent our best clues as to how to solve them.


April 2019

  • The School of Life believes that one of the most daunting obstacles to choosing a fulfilling career for ourselves can be traced back to families. For most of human history, the working destiny of every new generation was automatically determined by the preceding generation. One would become a farmer or soldier like one’s father or a seamstress or teacher like one’s mother. Choices were cruelly restricted and penalties for deviating from the intended trajectory could be severe. Much has changed in many parts of the world, but familial expectations continue to matter and to restrict the course of many people's careers. Parents may no longer have a legal power to block bank accounts or physically restrain - but they retain command over that central tool of psychological manipulation: the threat to withdraw affection in the event that children frustrate their aspirations for them.


October 2018

  • Microsoft announced that it will be requiring its suppliers to provide their employees with paid parental leave. Expanding on a 2015 initiative to only work with companies offering paid time off, this new effort will see Microsoft help their suppliers implement parental leave policies over the course of the next year. Microsoft’s partners will be required to grant employees at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave, after they give birth to or adopt a child.