Blanket media converage greeted the news that the UK has come bottom in a Unicef study of children's well-being in 21 economically advanced nations. This report will make sobering reading for a government which in 1999 committed itself to eradicating child poverty in the next twenty years. Jim Murphy defended their record on Newsnight last night, pointing out that elements of the report are based on out of date information on issues such as the reduction of teenage pregnancy in the UK. But, as a panel of experts on the same programme engaged in a heated debate, something very worrying became clear - the truth is we simply do not know how to respond to this problem. This government has tackled child poverty by focusing on getting parents into work, but has not begun to confront the 'poverty of experience' in many of their lives. Their approach also does little to address one of the most alarming findings of the report; that UK children are bottom when it comes to the quality of their relationships with family and peers. Last night Richard Layard argued that the roots of this problem could be found in the rise of individualism, while others pointed to a lack of 'boundaries' in children's lives or simply the fact that we don't listen to children enough. The Respect agenda has failed to stem some of the public symptoms of children's alienation because it does nothing to address the root causes. The Unicef study should force us to admit that there is no silver bullet when it comes to making children happier; instead we should look again at how we can make policy with children's well being as a central aim rather than a hoped for byproduct.