Your Kids Aren’t Necessarily Benefiting From Your Marriage Status

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In these modern times, marriage is becoming less and less of a prerequisite to having children. We’re seeing more and more couples that choose paths that are more suited to individual relationships rather than tradition; many couples are opting for marriage post-baby, domestic partnerships, or neither at all. But regardless of what your own insistence is, some new research out of England has revealed that simply being married doesn’t necessarily mean that a child will develop any better. Rather, the study highlights more nuanced factors that married couples often possess that generally are more conducive to childrearing. Nevertheless, these same factors are not exclusive to married people.

The Guardian reports that a couple’s education has proved to be a lot more influential on a child’s development while a mere marriage certificate does not:

The work by the IFS [Institute Of Fiscal Studies] accepts that those who marry tend to be relatively better educated and relatively better off. But the institute points out: “differences in outcomes between children whose parents are married and those who cohabit may simply reflect these differences in other characteristics rather than be caused by marriage.”

IFS noted in their research that getting married could undoubtedly change relationship quality as well as change income, which could positively impact a child’s development. And although being married would imply that a couple is stable, loving, respectful, and committed, a marital status alone cannot attest to such qualities. The “staying together for the kids” tactic does little to benefit children when the home is obviously sinking into turmoil, and even though old attitudes may linger about “unioned” parents being ideal for childrearing, emerging research points to other components.

Marriage does give parents better legal access to their children, which is just one of many reasons to support same-sex marriage. But if we’re talking what makes children feel safe and helps them thrive, the aforementioned relationship characteristics are capable of being achieved regardless of rings, wedding dresses, judges, or what you write in under “marital status.”