New Study: Cohabiting May Be Bad for Kids

Posted: August 16, 2011 in america, culture, current events, family, marriage, sex

Everyone knows that marriage as an institution is on the decline in the United States.  Without even venturing into the gay marriage arena, the God-ordained union (a covenant, really) between a man and a woman is obviously under attack (primarily through neglect, devaluation, and redefinition).  But it seems that some of the Bible’s wisdom has yet again found support from evaluating real life experience.

NPR reports that the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values recently released a new report noting some disturbing correlations between parents who cohabitate and the negative effects this cohabitation may have on their kids.

Brad Wilcox, a report co-author and head of the National Marriage Project, says divorce rates have steadily dropped since their peak in 1979-80, while rates of out-of-wedlock childbearing have soared. Forty-one percent of all births are now to unwed mothers, many of them living with — but not married to — the child’s father…

“We’re moving into a pattern where we’re seeing more instability, more adults moving in and out of the household in this relationship carousel.”

Wilcox says the children of the divorce revolution grew up to be understandably gun-shy about marriage. Many are putting it off, even after they have kids. But research shows such couples are twice as likely to split.

“Ironically,” he says, “they’re likely to experience even more instability than they would [have] if they had taken the time and effort to move forward slowly and get married before starting a family.”…

“Both in externalizing disorders, more aggression,” Gottman says, “and internalizing disorders, more depression. Children of cohabiting couples are at greater risk than children of married couples.”…

For Americans, Gottman says the evidence for marriage is strong. The institution’s wide-ranging benefits — better health, longevity, greater wealth — are not conferred on those who cohabit.

“Because,” he says, “they’re basically saying, ‘If you get into trouble, baby, you’re on your own; I’m not there for you.’ I think that’s the big problem.”

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