Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How does Family Structure Affect Children, and What can We do about it?
This document was published by ‘Child Trends’ a US secular research institute as a summary of research evidence on the effects of family structure on children, as well as the key trends in family structure of the previous decades.
They identified the following trends on Family Structure and children’s living arrangements:
1. Rising divorce rates have led to increased single parent families.
2. There has been a steady increase in births to unmarried women following WW2, accelerating in 1980s
3. Cohabitation has increased markedly over the last few decades
4. Overall, the proportion of children living with two parents has declined. Welfare reform is only one factors that may explain this.
‘Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers and children in step families or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes than do children in intact families headed by two biological parents. Parental divorce is also linked to a range of poorer academic and behavioural outcomes for children. There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents’
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