If you have ever believed that getting married and staying married stabilizes the house, which is "good for the kids," you might want to think again. A new study shows that as long as both parents have high levels of education, there is almost no difference in the development of children whose parents were married and parents who merely cohabitated.
The new research from the British Institute for Fiscal Studies has found "little or no evidence" that marriage itself has any effect on children's "social or cognitive" development. In fact, they found that the reason marriage only seemed important is because married parents tend to be better educated and it's actually parental education level -- not marriage -- that helps children developmentally.
It goes against everything we believe about marriage, but it also makes sense. Educated children tend to come from educated parents. There are always exceptions, of course, but in a family where education is valued, children will be well-educated. But one can be educated and unmarried.
The fact is, marriage isn't necessary to have a happy family. Personally, I think it's nicer because it gives me a feeling of stability and commitment, but for others, both of those things can be present without exchanging rings.
When I think of my life, I think of the three biggest commitments: marriage, buying a house, and having children. Of those, two are reversible. Children are not. So if you're having children together, it might feel nice to provide them with the stable base that comes from making those other two commitments, too, but it isn't necessary. The biggest commitment is already made. And the others are more for the parents than for the children.
As long as mom and dad are happy, most kids probably don't care if they have a piece of paper that legally binds them. Still, I like being married and I can't imagine having my children without having my marriage, too. But millions around the world do it and their babies turn out just fine.
This study proves it!
Do you think marriage is important for kids?
Image via epSos.de/Flickr
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