Married parents best for children?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Squiffy, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    See BBC NEWS | Education | Selfish adults 'damage childhood'

    And also comment here -> BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Easton's UK

    I remember a discussion on this same topic a while ago, and a fellow forumite thought I was "outrageous" for suggesting the very same thing. That single or unmarried parent families were not the best environment for children.

    I'm not having a pop. My mum was unmarried and single when I was born. But I just wonder how long till the PC brigade jump all over this report? It happened on radio 5 this morning, when one of their experts was saying that it was wrong to criticise single parent families, and in any case he didn't believe the report as he knew many single parent families that were perfectly happy.
     
  2. Steven

    Steven
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    Every childhood is different. Every family circumstance is unique. Every family unit is individual in how it functions.

    The two parent, two children "nuclear family" connotation is outdated. It is a fact that there are significant numbers of single parent families and divorces in this country. Did you know that one of the principles in the Family Law Act 1996 is that marriage should be preserved? Yet the case law concerning children, families, and divorces are long, far too many in number and some of the hardest work I have done in my degree.

    Asking questions or seeking answers is not tarring everybody with the same brush. I am sure there are a good number of people who manage. But there will also be a good number of people where that does not apply. Saying "oh well I have known a neighbour and a work colleague for 10 years so this is rubbish" does a disservice to those families to whom that does not apply

    I didn't have a "nuclear family" upbringing. My mother's values are that "just enough" should be said to the children. Then rest I learned by drawing inferences and very loud telephone calls. Everybody copes differently. How does a child cope when his classmates ask "what it is like?" And then adding "I live with a mum and a dad. Do you?" Or "Why do you not take part in Mother's/Father's Day?"
    Children being children know the power of words, but do not know the power of words. Some children can draw inferences. Others do not know when to stop their questioning

    I was no saint growing up, gave my mum the usual teenage grief and then some more but she did a damned hard job to instil values in me. And she always invited the teachers to let me know what-for should I step over a line and she was not around :D I've turned out OK enough

    The point is that there is an ideal. But sometimes that is just not possible. Divorces bring out the worst in people. When there are children they are at the centre. Children are the most vulnerable and require support and help. As this is an independent inquiry and the report is not out until the 5th, I will reserve judgement. But if they have made findings then I would want them to be published at large to stimulate debate. That some may not agree with them, or not want to hear them is neither here nor there
     
  3. xit2050

    xit2050
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    Call me old-fashioned, but I believe every child needs a mother and a father (they don't have to be married and a step-parent can also do the job very well).
     
  4. Liquid101

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    What every child needs is happy parents. If this means that they live apart, then so be it. What a child definitely doesn't need are parents that bicker and argue and are clearly unhappy with each other.

    Anyway, as far as I'm concerned marriage is a waste of time and money, and is virtually irrelevant in modern society.
     
  5. Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
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    With separated parents I have found that neither wants to discipline their child because they don't want it to get back to their ex, especially the Dads because they only see their kids for a few days a week as it is and don't really want to make the child feel miserable by shouting at them or giving them a smack. So what you get is an unruly child with no sense of limits and boundaries.
     
  6. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    Well, the research seems to indicate it is far from irrelevant. Children up to 3 times more likely to have behaviour problems if not in a married family?

    And that figure of course will be including those unhappy, bickering married families.
     
  7. xit2050

    xit2050
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    Over here married couples get tax benefits.
    :D
     
  8. andykn

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    Who was this "expert member" of "the PC brigade"?

    Are you sure it wasn't just a representative of single parent families rather than an "expert member" of "the PC brigade"?

    The media aren't usually too fussy about the qualifications and experience of who they get to comment on stories, witness the number of times the hapless "Taxpayers Alliance" and "Victims of Crime Trust" get quoted.
     
  9. evilgenius

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    Theres been many psycholoical studies on this subject and unfortunately they all seem to favour the family approach of mum and dad working together. Im not saying theres something wrong with having one parent but studies do suggest kids who have both are better adjusted emotionally, intellectually and socially comnpared with kids who do not. But both parents have to be on the same page if you know what i mean.
     
  10. WillieCocker

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    I'd agree with that.Would also add grandparents to that.
     
  11. kav

    kav
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    It's impossible to make sweeping statements on this without raising heckles. However, for what it's worth, a traditional viewpoint may be that the institution of marriage denotes that two people love and respect one another, and want to demonstrate this to the wider world. Marriage, done right, can therefore be viewed as a solid and secure environment for bringing children into the world and raising them according to the same values that the marriage was built on: love and respect.

    Children need appropriate role models - whether they're married or not, or indeed whether or not they are even the child's biological parent, has less relevance than their day-to-day behaviour does. If an individual with responsibility for raising children is aggressive, disrespectful, rude, short-tempered, sneaky, conniving, incapable of basic manners, whatever the case may be - then what chance does the child under their care have, unless they can address these faults for the sake of their child?
     
  12. Jenn

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    I don't know if married people would call it a waste of time (and the money it all depends on whether what you got was worth it or not).
    I didn't waste my time, I had a great time, superb setting and food and of course I did it with my best friend, the person I love most.
    If you don't want to marry then fine and good for you but don't go calling what other people might value a waste.

    As for children I too believe it's better to have parents who are separated but happy rather than parents constantly screaming at each other.
    The key I would imagine is how you deal with a separation and how you explain it to your children, making sure they understand it (like it's not their fault etc.).
     
  13. Liquid101

    Liquid101
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    Independent or not - The fact that this report was commissioned by the Children's Society, and that they are heavily affiliated with the Church of England, makes the content rather questionable. IMHO of course. :)

    The day that the government make it more financial advantageous to be married (again) will be a sad day indeed.

    A child's upbringing is down to individual sets of parents, whatever the circumstances. The findings here are misleading, and judgmental and typical of the kind of brainwashed rubbish some people like to buy into.
     
  14. kav

    kav
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    Yeah, like, for example, don't pretend mam has gone away to help care for old folks in a nursing home and that's why she can only see you once a month and your sisters are too young to figure it out but you know there's something going on and it all comes out on the day of your confirmation when your sister tells your mother that your granny called her a bitch and then after many tears you discover that they were lying and it wasn't a nursing home at all it was another man and your mam is never coming back and your father is destroyed and will probably never recover from this. :rolleyes:

    :D
     
  15. Noggin1980

    Noggin1980
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    The report says that step parent familys are the worst, worse than single parent families. It also says that cohabiting parents are twice as bad as married parents. Personally I find both of those extreamly dubious.

    It's common sence that having two people that care for you, love you and have time for you is going to help.

    I take huge issue with them saying it's an independant study, they are allied to the church and base their principles (their words) "on the Christian principles of love, justice and forgiveness", just the title of the study searching for values in a competative age shouted out that it was written by a religous organisation.

    Still I support the vast majority of what they say and do but it's important to see where they are coming from when looking at their results and not just take them at face value.
     
  16. Noggin1980

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    beat me to it, spent too much time reading the report to find their "evidence" before posting.
     
  17. kopchoir

    kopchoir
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    I can easily relate to this for a number of reasons i have 2 children with 2 different women:rolleyes: I am unmarried for another 26 days and have been with my current partner for over 6 years my 4 year old daughter has grown up with both of us around.
    We decided that it would be best for my partner to only work part time and because i worked for the nhs who have flexible family friendly hours I could be at home when she was at work, my daughter is now at nursery 5 days a week now and we have been told she is advanced for her age i acredit this to having a stable loving family at home grandparents and great grandparents spending quality time with my little girl she knows the values of family life.

    With regards to my son who is 8 this year who i do not see(not my choice) he has a step father who he calls dad who is now married to his mother, after spending around 10k on court fees solicitors fees going to specific places to see him and getting nowhere.
    What was more heartbreaking was listening to lie after lie and having your son tell you his mother wont allow him to see his father because he beat his mother :suicide:
    Now at the moment i dont know how things are progressing within himself :( what bothers me the most is not that he is living with another man as i know for all my ex has said she is still his mother and loves him dearly.
    Its when he grows up being brainwashed on what his father has supposedly done bothers me the most what effects that has had on him as a child

    Someone said once all you need is love its true but you also need a lot of stability
     
  18. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    I can see how you read it that way, but I didn't mean that he was an expert member of the PC brigade. He was just one of the experts they get on to try and represent both sides of the argument when talking about these issues. He was firmly on the side of saying the report must be wrong, because his personal experience said so.

    And I agree on the comments made about treating the report with a pinch of salt. Except of course that it is evidence based, and nobody so far has produced any evidence showing that childrens outcomes are not affected by their family circumstances.
     
  19. Noggin1980

    Noggin1980
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    We'd have to pay to read the full report, but while their conclusions are based on evidence it is far from a scientific study.

    Lots of their data comes from children filling in postcards with few questions on then they took a small 2% sample from the 5000 cards they recieved back, then they did something I didn't really understand to move up to 20% calling coding, I didn't feel it was properlly explained and could easily mean they were picking and chosing which cards to use.

    We don't get to see the evidence they used to determine how children under 3 living with a parent and step parent were 3 times more likely to have problems than living with mum and dad, though maybe the evidence is availible if you pay.

    why would anyone need to prove childrens outcomes arn't affected by circumstances? they almost certainly are. I'm sure everyone thinks it's benefital to have 2 parents around (though one parent can still do a fantastic job) However when a group allied with the church brings out a report that says marriage halves the problems on young kids compared to the 2 parents still living together but not being married you have to be very dubious about their motives. There is very little reason if any at all for this to be the case.
     
  20. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    But reason does not equal evidence.

    Surely there must be a study somewhere that shows the parents marital status makes no difference?
     
  21. quarry2006

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    That aside, whilst I think an ideal situation is for a child to have two parents to bring them up (I can't imagine how I'd raise my two whilst still holding down my two jobs) every situation is different and love is the first priority for any child. If a couple is seperated and they don't let that affect the time they spend with their kids then it shouldn't matter.

    Having said that, whenever a single parent asks us how we get on in terms of getting the kids to bed at night and just the basic disciplines of everyday life, and we tell them that we have very few problems at all, we always get the same old answer: "Yes, well it's easy for you because you've got each other."
     
  22. Liquid101

    Liquid101
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    Of course, it's perfectly reasonable to suggest that if I was to get married to my partner, our children (5 and 1) will magically become more balanced, and half their chances of developing behavioral difficulties. But then maybe the damage is already done?

    However, to suggest that marriage suddenly makes you more effective parents is right up there with believing in fairies/god.

    Why not just strip the marriage/cohabiting/single element out, and accept that some parents are just better at being parents than others.
     
  23. evilgenius

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    Religious crap aside, theres tonnes of studies to say 2 parents are better than one, no matter how hard that is to swallow by some ppl, it has been proven in many studies.
     
  24. Liquid101

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    I agree. But you don't have to be married to each other to be effective parents.

    I stand by what I said. To me, marriage is outdated and mostly irrelevant. It would have zero impact on my life, my finances, the relationship with my partner or indeed my ability to be a parent.
     
  25. Miyazaki

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    Many cultures and communities bring up their infants in many different ways with mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, strangers all contributing to upbringing. All of these methods of child rearing are capable of producing healthy, productive citizens.

    The traditional convention in this country is for mother and father to bring up the child.

    I really think that there are more factors affecting how children are raised other than the parent. Children profoundly influence their own cognitive development, as do peers.

    The biggest one is that if a single parent is bringing up a child they are less likely to be affluent and susequently are disadvantaged.
     
  26. Noggin1980

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    evidence doesn't equal fact though, I'll take my reason ahead of a non scientific study from people with an agenda especially when their conclusion doesn't make logical sence.

    As someone else has just mentioned any study comparing married to non married to single parent would need to be very careful not to skew it's results heavily based on age and income, if your study isn't scientific it's very likely to be skewed by these factors. The quality of single parent familys will be pulled down by large group of poor teenage mothers for instance. There is probably a very significant correlation between age, wealth and marrage.

    We don't have their evidence to look at at all, how did they determine that children under 3 with cohabiting but non married parents have double the behavioural difficultys of those with married parents?
     
  27. Noggin1980

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    As far as I'm concerned pretty much everyone agrees that 2 loving parents are better than 1 loving parent. I've never heard anyone say otherwise.

    People just argue rightly that single parents can be great parents.
     
  28. quarry2006

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    Two loving parents are better than one, though.

    And I never said that marriage makes a difference where parenting is concerned but I think to come out with such statements as marriage is irrelevant, just a bit of paper and all those other old saws is as fatuous and offensive as saying religion is load of old nonsense. Clearly to many it isn't, so, please have a care and show some due respect to those of us who are married/believe in god.
     
  29. andykn

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    So the "expert" saying the report must be wrong because of his own personal circumstances was anything but (expert). 1 is hardly a valid sample size.
     
  30. Ian J

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    I don't believe that anyone is saying that marriage per se will make someone a better parent but perhaps it might be something to do with committment as those unwilling to make a committment to their common law partner might not be quite as committed when raising children as those who are married.

    It costs about £70 to get married
     

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