Marriage Is Not So Good for Kids After All

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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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zandh... zandhmom2

I know that my parents marriage WAS important to me.  It gives me great pride to talk about their love and commitment to each other and I hope that my marriage does the same for my kids.  Married happily for 18 years now and still going strong.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

While I think marriage is important and can teach children a lot, no it is not necessary. That the parents and children are happy and basic needs are met for all, that's what's most important, but I think marriage is also important. I think you can be commited to eachother without the piece of paper, but that piece of paper solidifies it and shows that there's one more layer to a relationship. For me, it shows a deeper understanding of the relationship and the aknowledgement that IF you wanted to leave the relationship it's going to be harder than without the piece of paper and I think it provides more of a reason to try harder and put the work and effort into the relationship. Showing your kids that is not a bad thing, but staying when it's bad is not good either. I think too many people walk away from realationships too easily these days because they don't understand the work and effort required for the long haul, or simply don't want to do it. Having said that, there are a lot of relationships that don't continue with good reason as well.

nonmember avatar Gertie

Awww.. I think it is so sad when people are allegedly committed but not committed enough to make a family legal and binding in the eyes of the law.

Allison Priest Leonard

Yes, I do think it is important.


Also, it makes me so sad to hear someone talk about how marriage is "reversible." No wonder we have such a high divorce rate today.

Fallaya Fallaya

Finally!  A voice of reason.  

rerra... rerratron

"Awww.. I think it is so sad when people are allegedly committed but not committed enough to make a family legal and binding in the eyes of the law."


Really Gertie? "The eyes of the law"? I think it means more that my partner and I are committed in the eyes of our FAMILY and CHILD. I could care less about what the government thinks of my love life. And we all know marriage completely cements two people together forever, since affairs and divorce don't exist, right?


I'm with my partner because I love him and we've chosen to make a life together. Not because we caved to society's archaic standards of what family is. I "think it is so sad" when people need a legal contracts to feel secure in their relationships.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Who cares if they're married or not? The point is the child has a family who loves them. The kids don't care if their parents are married, why should we?

nonmember avatar ot

Family is not just mom and dad but also grandmom and grandfother. If you have family you have heritage you have history and you can make history.

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