This was reported in the UK Telegraph.
Children brought up by single parents and in step families are three times as likely to suffer from mental health problems, a major study has found.
Research on more than 10,000 children found that those brought up by both natural parents are far less likely to suffer severe emotional and behavioural problems.
The major study by University College London shows large differences in the well-being of children, depending on their upbringing.
Experts said the findings added to “a mountain of evidence” about the damage caused by family breakdown, with children left stressed by marital breakdowns, or falling into poverty which could increase their risk of psychiatric distress.
The Millennium Cohort Study examined the mental health of 10,448 11-year-olds living in the UK.
Overall, 6.6 per cent of children living with both natural parents were found to have severe mental health problems, compared with 15 per cent of those living with single parents, and 18.1 per cent of those living in step-families.
[…]Higher levels of mental health problems were found among boys, who were more likely than girls to suffer from conduct problems, hyperactivity and inattention.
[…]Children brought up in low income households were also more likely to suffer mental health problems, with a four-fold difference between the wealthiest and poorest households.
So, from a Christian perspective, here’s what I want to say about the harm caused to children when men and women choose to make babies with people who are not capable of making a commitment.
First, the Christian view of dating and courtship is not very popular today, even among conservative Christians. Instead, most people have embraced the “feelings-driven” model of dating and courtship, where relationships are viewed as a vehicle for experiencing fun and thrills. The Christian model stresses self-control, by requiring strict chastity – no sex before marriage. But, if you ask feminists, they will tell you that women should engage in premarital sex for recreational purposes, and that women should not think about the harm that could result from an unplanned pregnancy (abortion or fatherlessness). If a woman thinks that recreational sex is OK, then she will attract a man who thinks that relationships are about personal fulfillment, not about commitment. When you take premarital sex off the table, the focus of relationships becomes about making a match based on commitment, not fun. Men who get into relationships for recreational sex are the exact kind of men who want relationships to be about fun, not commitment. And that’s why women should not choose them, because as the study shows, children suffer.
Second, the Christian model requires the man to provide financially for his family. Christian women are expected to favor men who focus on their studies, choose jobs that pay well, and save their money for their future families. In fact, fathers are supposed to guard their daughters from men who do not work, do not save and are not financially prepared for marriage. Again, this view is not embraced by most people. Most young women believe in feminism, which is the view that men and women are interchangeable, and men have no specific duty to provide for others. So, when women choose men, they are not choosing them according to this requirement to provide. Instead, they choose men who let them rule, or who are fun, or who don’t expect anything out of the woman except sex. A man who makes no demands is valued higher than a man who earns money and requires emotional support for the stress he incurs from working and saving. And naturally, when children arrive, these women find that men who were unemployed or underemployed are not able to take responsibility for their children.
Commitment takes self-denial and self-control
So, there are two reasons why people are not staying together. And both of these are embraced by women today. Women see premarital sex as something they can give to a man to get his attention without having to support him in a feminine / supportive way. And women see a weak man who does not work and save as having no authority over them to lead them. The desire to avoid the judgment and leadership of marriage-minded men causes women to choose losers who are easy to control and manipulate – men they won’t have to listen to or support. The problem with those men is, of course, that they don’t keep commitments. And that’s why we have this problem of broken homes.
It would probably help if we were not paying women welfare in order to have babies before they are married, too. After all, you get more of what you subsidize, especially when our new emotional view of morality makes moral judgment of single mothers impossible. Almost every single mother chose to have sex with a man who did not commit, the only exception being rape. But instead of blaming women for their poor choices, we pretend that they can do as they please, and that men must enable their irresponsible choices. When we cut off the funding for women who choose to become single mothers (by choosing to have sex with men who cannot commit) then children will do much better. Children are more important than women or men. We have to shame the grown-ups into restraining their wildness, so that children get what they need from both of their parents.