Marriage is Still the Best Environment for Kids – Divorce and Children
Marriage may be getting a bad rap but one thing remains true: Marriage is the best and most stable environment in which to raise children and ensure their well-being.
Numerous studies on divorce and children show that kids who are raised in a healthy and happy marriage are more likely to do well in life. They are more likely to be successful at school, in the job market and in their own marriages than kids who are raised by cohabiting or divorced parents.
Why is this?
First of all, people who marry differ significantly from people who do not marry. Well educated people with high incomes are more likely to marry. Their kids, therefore, benefit not only from their parent’s marriage but also from their education and higher income.
Secondly, the qualities that are required for a happy marriage such as patience and commitment are very similar to what it takes to be a good parent. Therefore, married couples are better at parenting and they pass on these good qualities to their kids.
No Substitute for Marriage
Many people today think that cohabitation is as good as being married when it comes to raising kids. However, this isn’t true.
Cohabiting couples are more likely to break up during the first few years of parenthood than married couples. This is because contrary to popular belief, married couples are more committed to each other than cohabiting couples. Only those couples who are most committed to each other marry. The rest cohabit because it enables them to retain some independence, just in case the relationship fails.
Married couples also feel a greater sense of obligation to stay together. The consequences of a divorce are much greater than those of a breakup – even when a couple has been cohabiting and has children together.
Divorce and Children
The effects of divorce on children vary depending on their age. Infants may become more irritable and experience changes in their eating and sleeping habits. Toddlers may have a difficult time being apart from one of their parents and this may cause them to lose some of the skills they have acquired such as potty training.
Kids who are old enough to understand what is going on may feel abandoned by the absent parent and blame themselves for the divorce. They may also withdraw from their friends and hobbies and begin to lash out at their parents. The concepts of love, marriage, family and commitment may also be ruined in their eyes.
Many researchers have conducted studies on divorce and children and they all agree than marriage is still the best environment in which to raise children. No other environment – including cohabitation- comes close to producing a similar number of well adjusted, educated, high income happily married adults.