Why Children Need Married Parents.
As of 2004, 68% of children lived with two married parents. Family Structure and Childrens Living Arrangements," Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, In 2004, 23% of children lived with only their mothers, 5% lived with only their fathers, and 4% lived with neither of their parents. (Family Structure. ) Only 45% of all teenage children live with their married biological parents. ("The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts," Patrick Fagan, Children in single-parent families comprise 27% of all American children, yet they account for 62% of all poor children. ("The Positive Effects. ") The three most significant reasons children are raised without their married mother and father are unwed pregnancy, cohabitation, and divorce. ("The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2006," David Popenoe and Barbara Whitehead, National Marriage Project, http://marriage.rutgers.edu print version p.33) Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less likely to be raised in poverty. ("Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences," Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html) Children receive gender specific support from having a mother and a father. Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g., to nurture) and fathers (e.g., to discipline), as well as complex biologically rooted interactions, are important for the development of boys and girls. ("Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles
Church Teaching and Pastoral Response. There are two inseparable ends of marriage: the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. The education of children in faith, love, and wisdom is a vital task of married parental love At the 2006 World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that the love of a mother and father provides security for children and educates them about the beauty of faithful and eternal love. Pope John Paul II spoke of parents as co-creators and educators, highlighting the fundamental example of self-giving love and personal communion that married parents supply to their children. Married parents present children with their first experiences of the love of God and the Church.