Family and Cohabitation Increases

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Cohabitation, where two individuals in a relationship, are living in the same household without being legally married, is a type of union that is becoming more and more popular. The rates of cohabitation have been increasing significantly over the recent decades and have developed from being a deviant behaviour to a widely accepted union (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). The purpose of this paper is to discuss whether or not cohabitation creates an instable environment for the existing children involved. The objective is to determine if cohabitation is a suitable union for children to be in, and whether marriage is more appropriate. The main areas of focus are child development and their behaviour in social experiences as well as the family’s financial situation. Cohabitation is known to be a union that is short-term, where approximately half of the relationships last a year or less, one-sixth seem to withstand about three years, and roughly one-tenth last five years or more (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). Approximately one-third of children born into a cohabiting relationship will experience their parent’s dissolution before they reach the age of eighteen (Seltzer, 2000), and this can cause a negative effect on the children. One of the main issues involving cohabitation with children is that there tends to be apparent shifts in the family structure causing a loss in resources. With this financial strain, as well as the adjustment to new lifestyles, it creates conflict between the family members (Seltzer, 2000). Typically when a mother enters and exits a cohabiting relationship, she becomes financially unstable and this has an effect on her children. In severe cases, the children may not be receiving the proper nutrition or healthcare. Kelly and Wildsmith (2004) determined from certain studies that children living in cohabiting families are more likely to experience poorer outcomes than children living in two-parent or even single-parent families. Even though it may seem...
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