The Pew Research Center announced this week that one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or has never been married. What is that communicating to our children? Well at the least it is suggesting a changing picture of what being a family looks like. Remember if that is what you have known, it becomes your “normal”.
I know that one of my children's best friends grew up in a wonderful single parent family because the one parent provided love, structure, rituals and the resources as best they could. In fact my child loved spending time at that loving home. Most of our family friends are still in intact marriages but that is not the norm today. So where is this all headed? The pew Research report just said that 39 percent of Americans say that marriage is becoming obsolete. In 1978 only 28 percent felt marriage was becoming obsolete. The US Census Bureau data in September 2010 reported that marriages have hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and older.
This all suggests that there are now many different ways of living together as a family in today’s economy, history of more divorced parents, and changing roles for men and women. But is marriage no longer desired? The Pew study suggests that 67 percent of Americans were upbeat still about the future of marriage and family. About half of all unmarried adults say that they want to get married and among those living together 69 percent want to walk down the aisle. We will have to see how this all shakes out as the variations on living together have their trial. In the meantime what I know for sure is that no one really wants to be alone for long. Love , companionship, shared experiences, sex with a regular safe partner, mutual deep understanding and shared joy are irreplaceable.
So whatever form the nuclear family takes today, certain needs still exist. People living together want commitment, communication on all levels, resolving of differences and perspective, ongoing appreciation , love and lastly building a life together with meaning and satisfaction. If this happens in all these households, maybe the children still will be okay.
After all we don’t want to be alone.
No One Wants To Be Alone