Happy Marriage Makes for Happy Kids. (Society)

Article excerpt

On average, children in single-parent families are more likely to have problems--including depression and behavioral and social problems--than the majority of children who are reared by both parents. A new study by the research group Child Trends stresses the importance of a child reared by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage for future health and happiness. Among the study's findings:

* Two married biological parents are best for kids. On average, neither cohabitation nor marriage of a parent and a stepparent is as beneficial to children as marriage between two biological parents. Raising children alone also has its disadvantages for the child. The study stresses the importance of preventing teen pregnancies and nonmarital childbearing among adults for reducing the number of children growing up with single parents.

* High-conflict marriages, even between biological parents, are detrimental to children. Domestic violence can be very destructive to children's development, and children growing up with parents in a high-conflict marriage are worse off emotionally than children whose parents are in a low-conflict marriage.

Promoting and sustaining low-conflict marriage and raising children within that context by biological parents may be difficult, especially for disadvantaged couples, and research on how to accomplish these objectives is thin. Child Trends' report concludes that the birth of a child may be the best time for communities to promote marriage between unmarried biological parents. …