I don’t think it is a revolutionary declaration but I think many would agree with the Government saying that it is better for children to be raised by two parents who are married.
Research suggests children from such homes are most likely to end up with a good education and a job and the stability of parents’ relationship is key to a child’s development.
There is no suggestion that there is any thing inherently wrong with parenting in single parent families or where the parents are not married. Far from it. Those homes can be as loving and supportive as any other. I feel this relates more to the legal aspect being married brings to a household and having two parents in close proximity to help share the burden than any other factors.
This came to the fore in a Government report last week championed by former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith entitled Social Justice: Transforming Lives report. It talks about offering more support to help couples going through a difficult time stay together and ensure they are not penalised by tax laws.
I think the real focus should be on the benefits for the children in growing up in a home with both parents who are legally joined in marriage. If you look at the stats in the report, it says 28% of children in lone-parent families live in relative poverty, compared with 17% for those for "couple families". It could also be argued as well that a family is more likely – though not always – to offer a stable and nurturing environment if both parents are present and married.
This is a debate which I’m sure many lone parents or unmarried parents would be happy to wade into. As I said, I do not dispute that they can offer an equally loving, nurturing and stable environment but the statistics suggest those in more traditional family set-ups are more likely to be better off.
I think any work or additional support to help families maintain this and give an incentive for others to move into this bracket should be welcomed. There is no stigma with choosing a different path and there is plenty of help out there for those who do, but maybe it is timely to recognise the benefits for those who tread the more traditional path.