The Daily Mail is reporting on a new study carried out at the London School of Economics where researchers relied upon the records from more than 1,000 British children who were born to single mothers at the turn of the Millennium.
Researchers discovered that when single mothers were joined by the child’s biological father, and the family stayed intact, the children were as likely to do as well as children from intact families where both the mother and the father were present.
But if a stepfather joined a family that had been headed by a single woman, the children tended to grow up with the same problems as children from single-parent homes. They were found to be less likely to do well in school or keep a job and more likely to become involved in teenage pregnancy or crime.
The research, led by Elena Mariani, said that a large body of evidence has found that “children who grow up in a household with two married biological parents do better overall than those growing up with a single mother”; but thus far, no one considered what happens to the child when a man, either the biological father or another partner, moves in. This study attempted to answer some of those questions.
By relying on reports provided by the Millennium Cohort Survey, which followed the lives of nearly 20,000 children born in the UK between the year 2000 and 2002, researchers were able to find that “consistent with existing evidence, children who were born to lone mothers belonged to a lower socio-economic group than the children who were born and grew up in families with two biological parents.”
However, when a biological father joined the family, children “fared better” and “did almost as well as children who have lived continuously in a two-biological parent household since birth.”
On the other hand, those who experienced a parental break-up or where a stepfather moved into the home “had outcomes similar to children of continuously lone mothers.”
Researchers found that, “the benefits of improved resources and parenting input are being offset by the difficulties in adjusting to a new situation in the child's home environment when a stepfather joins the family. The benefits of a father's entry for children's outcomes in different areas are clearest if the father is biological and the union is stable.”
"The study also checked on the health of children up to the age of seven by looking at whether they were obese; at their test scores for recognizing words, arithmetic, and patterns; and at their “socio-emotional well-being,” the Mail reports.
“The study said that these indicate well-being in later life. Intellectual skills, it said, predict future earnings and employment, while 'socio- emotional' records show the likelihood that children will grow up to get a degree, whether they will smoke, become pregnant as teenagers, or get involved with crime. Obesity indicates the likelihood of future serious illness and early death.”
Supporters of traditional marriage and family were encouraged by the findings.
Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website, said: “This report shows how important biological fathers are to their children's development,” said Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website. “It is not just father figures who matter but fathers. The constant destruction of the nuclear family by governments has had a detrimental impact on children and should stop now. . .”
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