Had a post up the other day on the Progress website about the rapidly altering shape of the family formation for the twenty-first century. Observation were largely on the Alfie-gate story – you know the baby-faced UK dad who had to take time off school for paternity leave.

It was all to me remicent of the musings of German sociologist Ulrich Beck who has written: “Ask yourself: what actually is a family nowadays? What does it mean? Even parenthood, the core of family life, is beginning to disintegrate under conditions of divorce. Families can be constellations of very different relationships. Take, for example, the way grandmothers and grandfathers are being multiplied by divorce and remarriage (without any genetic engineering). They get included and excluded without any say in the matter. The grandchildren meanwhile have to make their own decisions about their families. Who is my main father, my main mother, my grandma and grandpa? And the answers may vary at different stages of life.”

Now it seems the terrified-looking (at the Republican Convention) Levi Johnson, fiancee of ex-VP candidate Sarah Palin’s eldest daughter has split from her. Sad news but illustrative again of how families ain’t what they used to be. Brisol stated in an interview in February that they “expected to get married after they completed high school.” The shotgun wedding (or should that be forced marriage?) is no longer to be but the pair are working togther on two month old Tripp’s upbringing and Levi’s quoted as being a doting dad by family members.

A case of “too much too young” perhaps (as the fine Specials hit of yesteryear put it)?