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Benefits of Children Growing Up With Biological Parents

Updated on July 28, 2014

Children Growing up With Married Parents do Better

There are many benefits accruable to child/children growing in the presence of biological parents. Mary Parke wrote, “Over the past four decades, the patterns of family structure have changed dramatically in the United States. An increase in the numbers and proportion of children born outside of marriage has been growing up in single-parent families since 1960. These changes have generated considerable public concern and controversy, particularly about the effects of these changes on the well-being of children.” The cooperative input and influence of a male parent and a female parent is essential for proper child development.

Here are some of them:

Balanced Parenting Style

Infants can tell the difference between a male or female interacting with them. A series of studies have shown that mothers and fathers have different parenting styles. This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions—more so than for children who are raised by only one gender. John B. Wilson warned parents against spoiling their children with unnecessary display of affection and recommended imposing regular habits on them in order to instill self-discipline.

Better care

A child or children, growing in the presence of both presence, benefit/s from an increased richness of care as well as a variety of caring style than child/children growing with single parent. . Girls with involved, married fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with boys in adolescence and men in adulthood because they learn from their fathers how proper men act toward women. They also learn from mom how to live in a woman’s world. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), wrote, “Most researchers now agree that …studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their married parents… research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single, step or cohabiting parent households. (This paper can be found at:

Bigger Family network

Through their biological parents, children have access to a vast network including grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends of the family, and work colleagues. Biological parents provide links to all these aspects of the outside world, providing more experiences for children as well as practical opportunities such as job possibilities.

A better mother’s attention

If a mother can count on her children’s father to help with keeping the house clean and in a good repair, caring for the children, paying the bills, and planning for the future, she probably will be a happier and more effective parent. The support a mother receives from her children’s father can even help her be more competent and sensitive when feeding her baby. Children seem to gain the most security when they are brought up in the presence of both biological parents married and committed to a lifelong relationship.

James Q. Wilson, one of the world’s brightest and well-respected social scientists, wrote, “Almost everyone –a few retrograde scholars expected agrees that children in mother-only-homes suffer harmful consequences: the best studies show that these youngsters are more likely than those in (mother/father) families to be suspended from school, have emotional problems, become delinquent, suffer from abuse of drugs.


Today, most families rely upon the incomes of both mothers and fathers. However, fathers still provide greater share of income. Fathers are either the sole earners or the main earners in two-third of two-parent households. Moreover, fathers’ earnings are uniquely linked to many positive results for children, even when mothers’ earnings are taken into consideration.

Other benefits

Glenn T. Stanton in his article “Why Children Need a Male and Female Parent” wrote, “Fathers tend to play with, and mothers tend to care for, children….Fathers encourage competition; mothers encourage equity. One style encourages independence while the other encourages security….Both provide security and confidence in their own ways by communicating love and physical intimacy. Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence, confidence and progress. Joined together, they keep each other in balance and help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and confidence. Father’s talk tends to be more brief, directive and to the point. It also makes greater use of subtle body language. Mothers tend to be more descriptive, personal and verbally encouraging.”

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in its article “Why Children Need Married Parents” listed the following research findings as the benefits of children growing up with married biological parents. “Social Science on the Benefits that Marriage Provides to Children

  • 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,
  • 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," 2006,
  • A child living with a single mother is 14 times more likely to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child's father is 33 times more likely to suffer serious physical child abuse. ("The Positive Effects...")
  • In married families, about 1/3 of adolescents are sexually active. However, for teenagers in step families, cohabiting households, divorced families, and those with single unwed parents, the percentage rises above 1/2. ("The Positive Effects...")
  • Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the chance that children themselves will divorce or become unwed parents. ("26 Conclusions..." and "Marriage and the Public Good...") * Children of divorce experience lasting tension as a result of the increasing differences in their parents' values and ideas. At a young age they must make mature decisions regarding their beliefs and values. Children of so called "good divorces" fared worse emotionally than children who grew up in an unhappy but "low-conflict'" marriage. ("Ten Findings from a National Study on the Moral and Spiritual Lives of Children of Divorce," Elizabeth Marquardt,”

In 30 Years of Research That Tell Us, ‘Child Deserves a Mother and a Father’ by Jenny Tyree, wrote, “It’s more than an opinion. Following is documentation for just a handful of the studies that support the conclusion that children do best with their biological, married mother and father.” I quoted two below:

A diverse team of family scholars working collectively from the University of Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, Chicago, Maryland, Washington, UC Berkley, and Rutgers University reported on the multiple benefits for children with their own married parents. “In this family structure, children”

  • Live longer, healthier lives both physically and mentally.
  • Do better in school.
  • Are more likely to graduate and attend college.
  • Are less likely to live in poverty.
  • Are less likely to be in trouble with the law.
  • Are less likely to think or do drugs.
  • Are less likely to be violent or sexually active.
  • Are less likely to be victims of sexual or physical violence.
  • Are more likely to have successful marriage when they are older.”

Brookings Institute, explains, “Specifically, compared with children who grow up in stable, two-parent families, children born outside marriage reach adulthood with less education, earn less income, have lower occupational status, are more likely to be idle (that is, not employed and not in school), are more likely to have a non-marital birth (among daughters), have more troubled marriages, experience higher rates of divorce, and report more symptoms of depression. Research clearly demonstrates that children growing up with two continuously married parents are less likely than other children to experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and social problems, not only during childhood, but also in adulthood.”


There is no doubt that children growing up in the presence of both biological parents have lots of benefits than those growing with single parent or step or cohabiting families. When we disregard the gender distinctions of parental influence as unimportant or unnecessary, we seriously diminish the proper development of children. Therefore think of your child/children well-being before deciding on divorce. Reinhold Niebuhr said that parents’ lives are fulfilled through the realization of integrity in their children. Kids need the active participation of a mother and a father, and both parents need to contribute their quota.


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