Imagine that: Marriage STILL beats Shacking Up for Child well-being, relationship stability.
Cohabitation enjoys widespread social acceptance, viewed by many as a ‘test run’ that increases the chances of a successful marriage. The data doesn’t support that belief.
The cohabitation of unmarried parents is also seen interchangeably with married parents raising children, with no significant difference between the two family dynamics. The statistical impact of this difference on their children might come as quite a shock to anyone sharing this widely-held opinion.
First, lets’ look at the relationships themselves:
The reality: Couples who cohabitated before marriage are more likely to divorce. Cohabitation’s effect on marital success has been empirically tested, and the results are clear: couples who cohabit before marriage are more likely to get divorced, not less.
A 2018 article published by the Institute for Family Studies said this “premarital cohabitation effect” is so well-known, “It has a long and storied history in family science.” Contrary to popular belief, cohabitation is not “practice” for marriage. Instead, it is “practice” for lacking commitment, keeping one’s options open, and focusing on the short-term rather than the long-term. Such attitudes are antithetical to a successful marriage and may increase the risk of marital failure.
Now the impact on the children:
Most Americans believe cohabitating couples raise children just as well as married couples. Pew also surveyed people’s opinions about cohabiting couples raising children, and 59 percent of Americans declared that cohabiting couples “can raise children just as well as married couples.” Again, the younger respondents were most likely to have a favorable view of cohabitation: among adults aged 18 to 49, 67 percent agreed cohabiting couples do just as well, while 32 percent said: “Married couples do a better job raising children.”
The reality: Children of cohabitating parents face higher risks of negative outcomes. The Pew survey’s question focused on the perceived parenting skills of the couple rather than the actual outcomes for the children. The actual outcomes are notably worse for the kids.
While Americans are optimistic about the ability of cohabiting couples to raise children, a study published by the American College of Pediatricians in 2014 reported that children whose parents cohabit face a higher risk of: “premature birth, school failure, lower education, more poverty during childhood and lower incomes as adults, more incarceration and behavior problems, single parenthood, medical neglect and chronic health problems both medical and psychiatric, more substance, alcohol and tobacco abuse, and child abuse,” and that “a child conceived by a cohabiting woman is at 10 times higher risk of abortion compared to one conceived in marriage.”
So, what they are saying in this study is that, no matter how hard the social anarchists have worked to reprogram our society and culture to think otherwise, the traditional family raised with traditional morality leads to a more stable family unit with healthier and happier kids?
Well, imagine that.
What else do you suppose the cultural anarchists might possibly be wrong about?