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Negative Effects Of Cohabitation

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Cohabitation is when a couple is living together, but not legally married (Bulanda and Manning, 2008). Cohabitation hasn’t been studied in depth until recently which leads studies to experience inaccurate samples of the population. Moreover, many forms of families, like single parent families or previous divorced families, are adopting cohabitation as a new family form. According to the Bureau Census of 2001, in the U.S it is one of the fastest growing family forms (Bulanda and Manning, 2008). I argue that children of cohabitation experience different life outcomes as children of married parents due to the negative life outcomes associated with cohabitation. Negative life outcomes for children of cohabitation families may result from the fact…show more content…
It is unjust to say that cohabitation directly causes negative life outcomes for children living in these households. Due to this fact, I will be focusing on three factors that contribute the greatest to negative life outcomes. These factors include instability, economic status, and lack of institutionalization.
Cohabitation is believed to be an unstable family form creating family instability (Raley and Wildsmith, 2004). Instability creates negative life outcomes in children of cohabitating households. Social scientists, such as Julie Artis, argue that a lack of marital ties creates a rise in instability. Instability may also arise due to cohabitating partners spending less time with the children (Artis, 2007).
A lot of research tends to focus on mother-partner cohabitation and its effects on children’s well-being and life outcomes. There is a trend in research that shows that mother-partner cohabitation with multiple partners creates much more instability for the family, which in turn negatively affects the amount of stress put onto the children (Brown, 2010). Children also have the stress of not knowing if the relationship will eventually end for their parents, whereas marriage is referred to as a non-ending family bond with a two parent household
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Even when cohabitating partners seem to be involved, studies have shown that teenagers tend to not benefit from the presence of the cohabitating partner (Manning, 2003).
There are consequences from the negative life outcomes associated with cohabitation. Cohabitating parent’s children tend to have many differing life outcomes than married parent’s children. Studies show that children engage in early sexual initiation, tend to have problems in cognitive aspects of school, and display behavioral problems.
Children in cohabitating couple families participate in earlier sexual acts (Bulanda and Manning, 2008) possibly reflecting the opinions or action of the parents at home. Cohabitation is not a traditional family form, therefore the cohabitating couple may have non-traditional ideals of sex and relationships. The child may observe these ideals and also form a non-traditional view on relationships (Bulanda and Manning, 2008). In result of the earlier sexual engagement, teen birth rates are also increased in cohabitation couple families (Bulanda and Manning,
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