In The News
Unmarried With Children. The New Normal?
More women are having children outside of marriage, according to a recent New York Times article, stating “It used to be called illegitimacy, now it’s the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold and more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.”
But what does it all mean? What does it say about the institution of marriage and what effect will this have on children of the next generations?
I’m all for independent women taking charge of their lives. A friend of mine who is 40 just had twins, and she is not married. She is a successful woman who decided that it was time to have a family, not dictated by whether or not she met the “one” and had a ring on her finger. But what concerned me about the statistics is that this is not the scenario for most of the women.
The women interviewed, said things like, “it’s just a piece of paper and it doesn’t work out anyway”, or “their children were largely unplanned, a byproduct of uncommitted relationships”, and “if they married, their official household income would rise, which could cost them government benefits like food stamps and child care.”
This article made me sad, for the state of marriage and for the children. I know marriage is not the answer for everyone, but I still believe in it. I think it’s important for children to have a family unit. Not to say that you need to be married to be a family, but I think there is something to be said about making a commitment and setting that example for your children.
And while some would argue most marriages end in divorce anyway, I don’t think anyone ever wants to get divorced. Marriage is hard and sometimes things happen and you can’t always be the ideal family unit. If that happens you make it work, but for many women they don’t even consider it an option.
What disturbed me the most is research has shown this shift is affecting children’s lives- finding that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.
I think people should have the freedom to live their lives the way they want, but once you decide to become a parent, it’s not just about you anymore. All your actions will have an effect on them and we need to keep the needs of our children in mind. If this trend continues and it truly does become the new normal, then next generations will only repeat what they know. What do you think?
You might like these other posts on single motherhood:
- The Last Time I Went on a Date, I Got Pregnant