There was a time when stability was the norm. Men courted women, married, moved in, had kids and stayed together until death do them part, literally. This was the standard order of things and anything but was seen as a scandalous taboo, however nowadays things are a bit more complex. Less people are getting married let alone staying married and as for waiting until after the wedding bells to live together and have kids, well let’s just say that more than a handful of us would’ve been the talk of the town. But could this attitude be the reason why many of our youth are heading down the wrong path? According to the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, it is.
During a study they conducted last year results showed that children of cohabiting parents are more prone to “externalizing disorders, more aggression,” as well as “internalizing disorders, more depression.” The study also found that children who get to know all of mommy and daddy’s ‘friends,’ don’t have a firm sense of stability, and will likely end up shying away from marriage altogether when they grow up. In addition it was noted that “Cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing is as much a symptom of the instability of children’s lives as it is a cause of it.” Hmmm, sound familiar? I’m sure many of us have lived this exact scenario. How many people do you know who were born out of wedlock? How many of those people are married now? How many of them are repeating the cycle and exposing their children to the same thing? Bet you know at least a handful.
For all the talk we do as a nation about how out of control our youth seem to be today, our actions do nothing to solve the issues. The number of co-habitating couples and out of wedlock children are on the rise and so are the number of children carrying out violent acts, dropping out of school and even committing suicide. Coincidence? Maybe. However, I agree with the study’s findings. We are the reason our children have issues. If children learn by example, then we are the poorest example in the bunch. Those of us who would rather live together to save money before we live together in marriage are the problem. Those of us who shrug off our out of wedlock kids because ‘Hey sh*t happens,’ are the problem. Those of us that think there is no problem are the problem. But as much as we are the cause of these ills in our children, we are also the cure. It may be time to go back to the way things used to be. It may be time to shift the focus away from one of self indulgence and convenience and towards traditional values. We need to set the example, the proper example. Perhaps the old ways aren’t so bad after all.