Young People's Question Time

MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


a) Can you give me the definition of 'dysfunctional household'? b) Can you tell me what evidence you have to support your view that there is a difference in 'the physical size of the brain of a kid being brought up in a dysfunctional household compared to a kid who has a happy stable family' as you stated in your answer to questions about 'crime in London' at Young People's Question Time in September?


Answer for Young People's Question Time

Answer for Young People's Question Time

Answered By: 
The Mayor

There are too many children in London being brought up by parents with chaotic and unstable lives. There are children raised with a constantly changing male presence, or no father figure at all or by parents with substance abuse problems. The statistics clearly show that some, though by no means all, children brought up in such households have severely reduced life chances, as well as an increased likelihood of offending and anti-social behaviour. My Time for Action strategy, engaging with partners across local and central government and the voluntary sector, aims to raise such children's aspirations and give them more opportunities to turn them away from a culture of anti-social and criminal behaviour.

There is evidence that there is physiological and neuro-anatomical consequences from an aggressive upbringing. It appears that brain development, function and behaviour can be affected by emotional and physical stresses on children.