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Is a marriage not necessary for healthy development of a child? Or do you believe...

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irenejoyner18 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM via web

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Is a marriage not necessary for healthy development of a child?

Or do you believe marriage is a prerequisite for children?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 13, 2009 at 11:57 AM (Answer #2)

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I'm not sure I agree.  For healthy development of a child, the first thing that child needs is security.  Without a two-parent household (two people who are committed to stay together "until death do us part"), that security is threatened.  There is always the possibility that one of the "parents" will leave or find someone else when the marriage commitment hasn't been made.  Does that mean that all marriages work?  Of course not.  People who are married also get divorced and have affairs, but it is not as flippant as if the commitment to stay together through thick and thin had never been made.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM (Answer #3)

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This topic will evoke some powerful discussion.  No one would doubt that all children need security and a feeling of safety in order to facilitate a healthy development.  The ideal of a couple in marriage and committed to both one another and the development of their children is vitally important.  However, there are ways for parents who do not find themselves in such an ideal to still provide for a foundation which will advance a healthy development of the child.  While there will be some gaps and a disparity that a child might experience between what should be and what is, there are many parents who are able to bridge this chasm with their children through dialogue, affection, and/ or Herculean efforts to ensure that their children do not suffer because of this disparity.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:19 PM (Answer #4)

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Marriage is certainly a beneficial state of affairs for raising a child, but it is not a guarantee of a healthy environment. Children raised in two-parent homes are statistically less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, for example. However, a child raised in a two-parent home that is filled with conflict can suffer greatly, just as a child raised by a single parent is not necessarily doomed to become a high school dropout or a drug user. The reason why marriage is a state-sanctioned institution is because the government wants to encourage two-parent families, as well as tax the institution.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 13, 2009 at 3:20 PM (Answer #5)

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A good marriage between responsible adults who love their child and are committed to that child's well being would certainly promote the healthy development of that child. However, it is not marriage that produces this desired effect. It is the behavior and commitment of the parents. If marriage itself guaranteed healthy development in children, there would be far fewer abused, neglected, and damaged children in our society. Marriage is an institution, and institutions are only as good or effective as those who compose them. The bottom line is that healthy, well adjusted children are the products of good parenting. Being married does not make one a good parent.

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sharrons | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 13, 2009 at 4:54 PM (Answer #6)

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I think ideally, a child will will thrive in a home with two loving parents.  However, I do not think that just because a child grows up with two parents guarantees that they will be happy and successful. For example, if the childs parents are in a bad marriage, the child would probably be happier if they were raised by just one parent.

Also, their are many single people who are quite capable of raising a healthy well-adjusted child.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted August 13, 2009 at 5:13 PM (Answer #7)

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A child is very delicate and vulnerable during its growing years. The protective and supportive environment of a loving and caring family, plays a very big part in development of a child. The family provides the physical resources for sustaining and protecting life and for growing. It also, provides psychological support that lets a child experiment and learn without fear of making mistakes, which is an essential part of any learning process.Family is like sheath of a flower bud, that protects the tender growing flower inside the bud from the environment, so that it can develop into a healthy fully bloomed flower.

Marriage is necessary to form this kind of family. Marriage helps to create and create and strengthen bonds of love between, not only the husband and wife, but also between parents and children, and between brothers and sisters. In the world, as it exists today, I see no alternative to marriage as the means for creating loving and supporting families as the protective sheath for growth of children.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 16, 2009 at 2:13 PM (Answer #8)

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This is a provocative topic, and I can see how strong feelings might be expressed.  My own opinion is that in order to respond to the inquiry, we need to separate the developmental aspect from the moral aspect.

From a developmental point of view, it is best for a child to be raised by two parents.  I do not think it matters particularly whether this is a male and a female, two males, or two females.  My own belief is that there are essential aspects to the two-person family.  For example, a two-parent household is a child's first exposure to the idea that there is more than one opinion in the world, more than one way of being, more than one way of interacting, and so on. A child raised by one person has fewer and later exposures to differences in people.  Another reason the two-parent configuration is important is in its ability to model for a child how people are supposed to get along with one another and have empathy for one another.  Compromise and sacrifice are learned behaviors, and the child who is not exposed to these at an early age will have a harder time acquiring these behaviors.

Now, obviously, two parents who are not modeling these behaviors are not of great benefit to a child's development, particularly if they are modeling very undesirable behaviors, and in those situations, from a developmental point of view, having one good model would certainly be better than two bad ones. 

I find I cannot even bring myself to address the morality of the issue.  People are quite rigid about their positions, and this issue is one that is exemplary of the terrible polarization in our country.  But certainly, from a developmental perspective, two parents are the best. 

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larapepe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 17, 2009 at 7:05 AM (Answer #9)

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There are many families today who have one mother or one father, one grandmother, one aunt or one uncle raising a child.  Like the above post said, from a developmental point of view, a child wil get the best by being raised by 2 parents.  With that though has to come love, support, devotion, and security.  Being a teacher you see it all.  Some children have two parents, but don't have the support and security they need.


I believe in order for a child to be developed to the best, there has to be a bond, love and a sense of feeling safe where they are.  Children growing up in a single parent family will always wonder what if I had a dad or mom, but as long as you give them all you have everything should work out.  For example, my best friend was raised with her mother and her 2 other siblings, because her father passed from cancer at a young age.  She is a well rounded person who has a loving and caring family.

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:33 PM (Answer #10)

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The key elements in a healthy home environment are love, security, attention and intellectual stimulation.  No particular form of family has a monopoly on satisfying these needs.

It is surely more difficult for a single parent than for a couple, as that one individual must provide everything.  However, as noted above, a traditional nuclear family can be toxic and a single parent home can be wonderful.

I think that a gay/lesbian couple is just as capable of providing for a child's needs as a straight couple.  In such a situation -- or in the case of a single parent -- I do think it is important for there to be good role models of the other gender in the child's life.

 

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shaunbrown1150 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:38 AM (Answer #11)

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I would agree that a 2 parent household would be ideal, However, I was raised by a single mother and have grown to be quite normal. I have friends that were raised in the ideal nuclear family and they have maladjustments and alcohol abuse problems. There is no steadfast rule that says just because there are two (nuclear) parents that the child will be adjusted normally. The parent(s) in either case need to be committed to the child to nuture, love, support and encourage development in any case. discipline and respect need to be taught at all age levels and dont be afraid to be affectionate to your child.

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maarraoui | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2009 at 7:58 PM (Answer #12)

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I'm not sure I agree.  For healthy development of a child, the first thing that child needs is security.  Without a two-parent household (two people who are committed to stay together "until death do us part"), that security is threatened.  There is always the possibility that one of the "parents" will leave or find someone else when the marriage commitment hasn't been made.  Does that mean that all marriages work?  Of course not.  People who are married also get divorced and have affairs, but it is not as flippant as if the commitment to stay together through thick and thin had never been made.

well if you're a Christian, there shouldn't be that question of adultery or divorce. That would be against the Ten Commandments.

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job518 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:23 PM (Answer #13)

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Maybe it should be a healthy marriage promotes healthy development of a child. Surely we know that marriage alone does not imply that the children will develop in a healthy manner. We all know there are some twisted and very unhealthy marriages out there that could in no way be healthy for children.  Let's be realistic ... marriage today does not imply a lifelong commitment for many people. I think that the effort and dedication required to sustain a healthy marriage would be embedded in one's character such that it would also bleed into the healthy development of their children. Most people that are promiscuous and in unhealthy relationships are carrying characteristics that do not lean towards bringing up a child that is well-rounded and balanced. Others that lean toward a life of being single and more focused on their careers/ desires are just that. They are not usually going to give the dedication, willingly, that it takes...which is why they chose the path they did. Of course there is always the other side...my parents were divorced and I am more "healthily" developed because of it. I probably would have some major issues if I had to deal with all the disagreeing within the walls of my home, rather than not really knowing. Since we did not all live in the same house, I was sheltered from much of the bickering and "bad stuff" that comes along with divorce. Marriage should be a lifelong commitment which should promote healthy development.

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phil48elpuente | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 22, 2009 at 7:19 AM (Answer #14)

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#8: if your opinion is that two parents is better than one because of exposure to more than one opinion and more interaction, shouldn't children with more than two "parents" be even better off? Such as Mormon families, multi-generational families commonly found in other countries, harems and so on.

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andra33 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM (Answer #15)

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Marriage can be helpful for a child or it can affect him strongly. It's better for a child to live in a single parent family then to be part of an unorganized one. Each parent should think about what's the best for the child; it's sad that more and more people choose to live together although there is no love or support. Perhaps, this is an individual decision. A child could develop a positive behavior even if he doesn't have a complete family, as long as he receives everything he needs from his parent.

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professorx | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 13, 2009 at 10:13 AM (Answer #16)

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One of the greatest influences in the development of a child is the environment in which they are exposed. As most of the contributors have written, it is important to find a sense of belonging in an environment that has all the good attributes necessary to raise a child. That said, perhaps a question that we should ask is if having 2 parents that are married would create a different environment from a single parent environment or a 2 parent environment without the bond of marriage? Remember that marriage is a commitment to another individual and that, by itself teaches those that are exposed to this relationship about trust, fidelity and many other great things about being in a relationship. If a child finds himself or herself in a relationship without the bond of marriage, wouldn't that child wonder or question why? 

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stacyer | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 31, 2009 at 3:18 PM (Answer #17)

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The healthy development of a child is determined more by the commitment of two people to each other rather than formal marriage. A marriage in which the two partners are constantly arguing or hitting each other is not a good environment for a child. I believe it is more important that child receives support and role models from the support people of the mother rather than emphasizing the concept of marriage. A stable home life in which the child receives the things the child needs (e.g. food, shelter, love, support) is more important that the socially acceptable concept of marriage.

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mcnovak | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 26, 2010 at 8:26 PM (Answer #18)

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I don't think a "marriage" is necessary.  I also don't think that not being married means that you aren't committed to each other fully.  I'm a divorced mother who has a daughter with my ex husband, who has chosen to have nothing to do withour daughter.  My daughter, however, does have a two parent home, as I live with my boyfriend.  He's been here for as long as my daughter can remember and she knows that he will be there for her no matter what.  I have many perspectives on this, having experienced much in my childhood with the home that I was in.  I can tell you that not everyone grows up thinking that a marriage means a deeper stronger relationship.  For me, how people show they are committed to each other, how they treat each other, the love the respect, that is what matters, not paying to tell people "hey we're together", its the smiles, the hugs, the comfort, the actually being there when things are rough to enjoy them when they aren't.  To children, its seeing these things that matter, not being able to say they are married.

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pmv51266 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 4, 2010 at 2:28 AM (Answer #19)

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When we say a "healthy development" of a child; it would include not only the physical health status but also the psychological, mental, and spiritual as well. In child's development, there are no such specific criteria as to consider an ideal model for other children to be compared and criticized in order to determine whether they are developing normally or not; specifically if the child we are referring belongs either to a married nor unmarried parents.

Based on Sigmund Freud's psycho-sexual theory, once a child born and exposed within his environment, the caretaker must provide as much as possible a pleasurable experience such as fulfillment from hunger by feeding well;kept warm and comfortable by cuddling while feeding; so that the child reflects his desirable experiences to himself that the world he is in are loving and kind. This will project towards the type of caretaker or parents. As long as the parents provide satisfactions and fulfillment to their child whether they are not married then a child will grow in a normal pattern of development.

A family is the core and foundation of a child, and as long as love and security are consistently provided from the unmarried parents; then the issue of "marriage" will not be a requirement in raising and developing a normal child.      

               

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ct-bio | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted April 15, 2010 at 1:12 PM (Answer #20)

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Is a marriage necessary for healthy development of a child?

A married couple, the parents of the child, is neither necessary nor sufficient; nevertheless, it is common  -- healthy children often come from a married couple in the USA.

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sweetirum | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 4, 2010 at 4:47 AM (Answer #21)

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marriage givez confidence,respect,patience to both d partner..so if d parents are living like body and soul -they will transfer theze qualitiez to their child--a child havig single mother are prone to more psychological problemz--nd they lack in some matterz az compared to thoze having perfect parents love

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plzdontpromise | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2011 at 5:52 AM (Answer #22)

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I don't think that there HAS to be marriage to raise your child correctly. As long as both parents are in the child's life unless one is a bad example or such. Cohabitating while raising a child is great for the child. I know many parents that are not married and their child is very smart, respectful and an asset to society now. Good Luck!

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hpus12 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 17, 2011 at 11:17 PM (Answer #23)

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In the US we are confronted over and over again with the claim that marriage is necessary for the health and well-being of children. Just last week, the New York Times magazine ran an article suggesting that while monogamy is not important for marriage, keeping marriage together for the kids IS the most important goal we can have. Quoting gay sexpert Dan Savage.

 

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cheezea | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:08 PM (Answer #25)

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a happy and stable family is most important, thus marriage is necessary. A child has to be loved by his/her parents in order to have a sense of security, where he/she can then reach his/her fullest potential, with the courage to experience and learn.

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countrygirlinthesouth | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted October 20, 2011 at 5:41 AM (Answer #26)

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When two parents are married it gives the child (or children), both a mother and father in one home. When either is missing, often the child is insecure.

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danielle615 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 15, 2011 at 4:10 AM (Answer #28)

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I think a child needs a secure married enviornment. This doesn't necessarily mean you and your spouse get along perfectly because if you try to seem perfect you will give false hope to your child saying that every marraige is perfect. If you are dating and have a kid I also don't think that is very structured but if you love your child equally and show it so much love, no matter what condition you are in that child will be fine; divorced, dating, married, single, or widow.

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thatloser | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM (Answer #29)

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My best friend's moms are gay so technically they are not married. She seems heathly to me.

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ngyunhui | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 30, 2011 at 2:43 PM (Answer #30)

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In the US we are confronted over and over again with the claim that marriage is necessary for the health and well-being of children. Just last week, the New York Times magazine ran an article suggesting that while monogamy is not important for marriage, keeping marriage together for the kids IS the most important goal we can have. Quoting gay sexpert Dan Savage, the article argues:

Given the rates of infidelity, people who get married should have to swear a blood oath that if it's violated, as traumatic as that would be, the greater good is the relationship... The greater good is the home created for children. If there are children present, they'll get past it. The cultural expectation should be if there's infidelity, the marriage is more important than fidelity."

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loraaa | Student | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted January 1, 2012 at 4:51 PM (Answer #31)

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I think..

marriage necessary for healthy development of a child and prerequisite for children...

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jessymayyo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM (Answer #32)

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I'm not sure I agree.  For healthy development of a child, the first thing that child needs is security.  Without a two-parent household (two people who are committed to stay together "until death do us part"), that security is threatened.  There is always the possibility that one of the "parents" will leave or find someone else when the marriage commitment hasn't been made.  Does that mean that all marriages work?  Of course not.  People who are married also get divorced and have affairs, but it is not as flippant as if the commitment to stay together through thick and thin had never been made.

Just because people arn't married doesnt mean they're going to find other people. They may just not have to monoey to get married, or dont want the hasstle. Once again you're reply suck...

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xamiixamm28 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:10 PM (Answer #33)

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For me, marriage is really nescessary because the child needs tender love and care from both parents. A good status of the marriage helps and supports the child to develop a healthy character especially when he always experience an all-love atmosphere thru his/her parents. The child will develop a positive outlook in life because he is living in a very happy family and it also makes the child to be more stronger by the guidance and advices of his supporting and loving parents.

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