Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Why are so many twentysomethings having children before getting married?

Posted by   + Show Post


Excerpt from:

Why are so many twentysomethings having children before getting married?

The reality is that children born to unmarried twentysomething parents are three times more likely to grow up with a disorienting carousel of adults coming and going in the home, compared to children born to married parents. This kind of carousel, as sociologist Andrew Cherlin notes in his book The Marriage-Go-Round, is associated with higher rates of teen pregnancy, behavioral problems in school, and substance abuse. By contrast, "stable, low-conflict families with two biological or adoptive parents provide better environments for children, on average, than do other living arrangements."

" In fact, twentysomething women now have the majority of children outside of marriage, which-given that 30 is the new 20-makes them the new teen moms."

Full article follows.

Tie the Knot

By |Posted Monday, March 25, 2013, at 5:45 AM


A single mother at the  Rocky Mountain Youth Clinic for uninsured parents on July 28, 2009 in Aurora, Colorado.
Nearly half of babies born in the U.S. to twentysomething women have unmarried parents.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The picture of the twentysomething years painted by the pop culture-think Girls or The Mindy Project-suggests that young adults use their 20s as a kind of "odyssey years" to bridge adolescence and adulthood. Judging by Hannah, Adam, and Mindy, the 20s are about getting educated and established at work, enjoying drinks and coffee with friends, trying your hand at relationships, all before the press of adult responsibilities sets in.

This picture is largely accurate for college-educated young adults as we show in our new report, "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America," and it's a picture that ends up relatively rosy, even if the 20s have difficult moments. These highly educated adults have embraced a "capstone" model of marriage that typically leads them to put off marriage until they have had a chance to establish themselves professionally, personally, and relationship-wise. This capstone model is paying big dividends to the college-educated: Their divorce rate is low, and their income is high. We find, for instance, that college-educated women who postpone marriage to their 30s earn about $10,000 more than their college-educated sisters who marry in their mid-20s.  

130322_XX_Fig7

Courtesy of Brandon Wooten/The "Knot Yet" report

But one major and more dystopian feature of actual contemporary twentysomething life is conspicuously absent from small-screen depictions: parenthood. Hard as it might be for Hannah and Mindy-and their viewers-to imagine, most American women without college degrees have their first child in their 20s. These young women and their partners-who make up about two-thirds of twentysomething adults in the United States-are logging more time at the diaper aisle of the local supermarket than at the local bar.

 

This would not be such a big deal except for the fact that many of these twentysomethings are drifting into parenthood, becoming moms and dads with partners they don't think are fit to marry or at least ready to marry.  For instance, almost 1 in 2 babies-47 percent, to be precise-born to twentysomething women are now born to unmarried parents. In fact, twentysomething women now have the majority of children outside of marriage, which-given that 30 is the new 20-makes them the new teen moms.

The reality is that children born to unmarried twentysomething parents are three times more likely to grow up with a disorienting carousel of adults coming and going in the home, compared to children born to married parents. This kind of carousel, as sociologist Andrew Cherlin notes in his book The Marriage-Go-Round, is associated with higher rates of teen pregnancy, behavioral problems in school, and substance abuse. By contrast, "stable, low-conflict families with two biological or adoptive parents provide better environments for children, on average, than do other living arrangements."

130322_XX_Fig3

Courtesy of Brandon Wooten/The "Knot Yet" report

How did twentysomethings become the new teen moms? Progressives stress economics as a cause, conservatives stress culture, but both are a factor. Among college-educated couples who have access to stable, high-paying, and meaningful work, only 12 percent have their first child before marriage. By and large, college-educated women and men don't want to derail their professional and economic prospects by having a baby before they have established a strong economic foundation for themselves and their future family.

But 58 percent of women who have a high-school degree or some college-women we call "middle Americans" and who make up a majority of young adult women-are now having their first child outside of marriage-a rapid and quite recent development. (Among women without a high-school degree, 83 percent do.) The biggest economic issue is that men without college degrees are less likely to hold the kind of stable, decent-paying jobs that will secure their financial future. Chris, 22, a welder in Ohio interviewed for the Love and Marriage in Middle America project at the Institute for American Values, said his recent stint of unemployment "drove the final nail in the coffin" of his relationship with a young woman he was hoping to marry. "[I] was depressed; I was bored out of my mind-no income, not able to do anything. It basically was just like hell," he said.

Two cultural factors are also in play here. The rise of the "capstone" model of marriage is one such factor, as Cherlin has noted. All Americans, not just the college educated-watch the same TV shows and movies and pick up the idea that adults have to have all their ducks in a row-a middle-class lifestyle, a soul mate relationship-before they settle down.  This model sets a high bar for marriage and minimizes marriage's classic connection to parenthood. So large numbers of less-educated twentysomethings who view the capstone model as unattainable end up having the child before the marriage.

Second, as Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas point out in Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, many young adults have been scarred by the divorce revolution-which hit poor and middle American communities harder than upper- and middle-class communities-and have become gun-shy about marriage. They have seen too many friends and family divorce to have the trust required to move forward with a wedding. So, living amid a climate characterized by a trust deficit, they often choose, or drift "unintentionally" into, parenthood with partners who are not marriageable or who seem good but to whom they are not yet ready to marry.  

Melissa, a 31-year-old single mother, had this to say about why she has never married any of her boyfriends: "I just never felt that anyone's as loyal to me as I am to them," she said. "Even when I feel like I'm in a good relationship, there'll be little things that they'll do that will make me start wondering, ‘Do they really have my back?' ", according to the Love and Marriage in Middle America project, a study of Middle American relationships in a small town in Ohio. What's striking about Melissa's comment-which is all too representative-is that it's not just the bad guys who give her pause about marriage; it's also the good guys. She just seems to harbor a general suspicion about the possibility of lifelong love and the whole institution of marriage.

 

So what can be done to bring women like Melissa and the "good guys" back together? Progressives are right to point to the importance of shoring up the economic foundations of family life in middle America. New infrastructure projects, better vocational training, and the elimination of the marriage penalties built into many of the nation's public policies serving lower-income Americans are all steps that could help to boost the fragile foundations of middle American families. President Obama was right to call in his State of the Unions address for measures "to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples."

But conservatives are also right in calling for a new ethic of parental responsibility that is equally binding on all Americans and all parents, regardless of their income, education, or gender. We need a national campaign-like we have had around teen pregnancy-encompassing public, civic, and pop-cultural efforts (yes, Lena Dunham should get in on the action) to encourage twentysomethings to wait until they have a plan and a partner who will enable them to give their children the life and family they deserve. Isabel Sawhill, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says young adults need to treat parenthood, not marriage, as the capstone.

This is because becoming a parent, for both mothers and fathers, is a big deal, arguably a bigger deal than getting married. Young adults owe it to their children to try to bring them into a home with two loving parents who are ready to support them and one another in the exhausting, exhilarating, and quotidian adventure that is parenthood. And, at least in the United States, that's most likely to happen within marriage.

The bottom line is this: Today's twentysomethings need to approach parenthood with the same seriousness that they approach marriage. For some, this will mean postponing parenthood into the later 20s or 30s, after their ducks are all in row. But for others, this will mean marrying earlier to someone with whom they are in a "good relationship." But either way, contemporary young adults need to be more intentional about sequencing the baby carriage after marriage, just as the country needs to be more intentional about stabilizing the fragile foundations of family life in poor and middle American communities across the United States.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/03/marry_in_your_twenties.html

by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Replies (21-30):
jhslove
by Bronze Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 5:23 AM
1 mom liked this

I completely agree with everything you wrote. I also think a lot of it simply has to do with modeling and expectations. In my family, that's just the example we were surrounded by--my parents were 30 and had been married for nine years, and both had graduate degrees and were advanced in their careers before they started a family. The expectation, and this was communicated both explicitly and implicitly, was "You're going to go to college, have a career, find someone you can build a stable life with, and then babies come AFTER you're in a stable marriage". They were also available for us to talk to--when I was thinking about becoming sexually active, I talked about it with my mom and she took me to get birth control so that I could be safe and not get pregnant. (I went by myself to buy condoms, because my personal view is that if you're not mature enough to walk into a store and buy a box of condoms, it's a pretty big red flag that you're not mature enough to have sex.) Kids will generally rise to the level of expectation that's set for them.

They also sent a very strong message that if we had a baby out of wedlock, it would be our responsibility, financially and emotionally. They would ultimately love us and their grandchild and support us as grandparents, but they weren't going to babysit M-F while I went to work, they weren't going to let us move in with them, etc. A lot of the girls that I see having babies out of wedlock, they're only able to make it work because the grandparents essentially step in and help raise the child. Which is everyone's right--I'm not saying it's wrong--but for me, knowing that that wasn't going to happen made me take a whole lot more seriously the desire not to get pregnant. I also knew that abortion (while I'm politically pro-choice) wasn't something I would be willing to do, so even after I became sexually active, I took birth control very, very seriously.

And finally, my parents made sure that I had the facts so that if and when I did decide to have sex, I would know how to protect myself and be responsible. I used to teach high school in a district with abstinence-only sex ed, and I was absolutely FLOORED my first year of teaching at the rate with which my female students were getting pregnant. Failing to teach kids the facts doesn't keep them from having sex, it just makes it more likely that when they do, they'll get an STD or get pregnant.


Quoting lga1965:

 Based on my family and friends through the years  and our experiences....I would say that teens and girls in their twenties who have babies and no marriage have been badly raised or ignored by their parents and have nothing else in their lives but having sex and getting pregnant. It is so depressing and disturbing. College and a career and then a marriage to a GOOD man is essential.Parents need to communicate with their kids starting at a young age and make them aware of these truths.

My 16 year old granddaughters who have been carefully and lovingly raised by their parents have decided to wait until they have their college degrees to even think about a relationship and marriage and then wait to have children until they have been married for at least three years. This is not unusual among their friends who have been well raised too.

When I was a teen, I was too shy to kiss a guy and sex to me was something you waited for until you were in love, old enough and with the man you were going to marry...and not just something to do when you want to keep a guy interested.There were too many other things in my life ,....didn't have time to go with a guy and get involved.

Kids who are close to their parents and have families who TALK... will NOT have a baby when they are teens. They talk about morals, self respect, self control and reproduction, contraception. It is such a big mistake to ignore kids and let them go nuts and get pregnant.

See the difference?



jhslove
by Bronze Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 5:32 AM

I don't know about lga, but in my response I was talking about TEEN parents. I realize that the article above is talking about women in their 20s having kids, which is a different story.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I do think that children do better being raised by two committed, loving parents (opposite sex or same sex doesn't matter to me). It may be politically incorrect, but I think it's true. However, two of my good friends have been together for ten years and they have two children together. They're not married. Will they ever be? Eh, who knows, but they are creating a loving, stable home for one another and their kids. I personally wouldn't be comfortable with that arrangement, but it's not my life and they're doing right by their kids, so I'm not going to judge.

I do think that part of the trend of single moms in their 20s is the idea that women can do it all alone, we don't need a man, and if we want to have a child we can do it with or without the father. Which may or may not be true--I know a lot of women who became single parents and then thought, "Holy f*ck, this is hard." Parenthood is a lot harder than most of us think it's going to be, and I do think that we owe it to the child not to plan to do it alone. It's one thing to find yourself a single parent after a divorce or death of a spouse and then make the best of it, but a lot of women are choosing to be single parents from the beginning because they simply don't feel they need a partner. And for most people, I don't think that's genuinely the case. It's not a mark of shame to admit that a) working and providing for children, b) spending the time to give them the emotional support they need and c) maintaining a stable home environment is more work than one person can usually do alone. As I said in my earlier response, even the single parents I know who are making it work, they often can only do so because a grandparent or someone else is stepping in and providing a major form of assistance (babysitting while Mom goes to work, letting Mom and baby move in rent-free) that's traditionally provided when the baby is being raised by two parents. Not always, but often.


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

So every unwed mother in their 20's had bad parents? LOL!!!

Okay then....


Quoting lga1965:

 Based on my family and friends through the years  and our experiences....I would say that teens and girls in their twenties who have babies and no marriage have been badly raised or ignored by their parents and have nothing else in their lives but having sex and getting pregnant. It is so depressing and disturbing. College and a career and then a marriage to a GOOD man is essential.Parents need to communicate with their kids starting at a young age and make them aware of these truths.


My 16 year old granddaughters who have been carefully and lovingly raised by their parents have decided to wait until they have their college degrees to even think about a relationship and marriage and then wait to have children until they have been married for at least three years. This is not unusual among their friends who have been well raised too.


When I was a teen, I was too shy to kiss a guy and sex to me was something you waited for until you were in love, old enough and with the man you were going to marry...and not just something to do when you want to keep a guy interested.There were too many other things in my life ,....didn't have time to go with a guy and get involved.


Kids who are close to their parents and have families who TALK... will NOT have a baby when they are teens. They talk about morals, self respect, self control and reproduction, contraception. It is such a big mistake to ignore kids and let them go nuts and get pregnant.


See the difference?



sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 6:10 AM
Make sure they don't marry an idiot...but have a baby with one!!! Choosing your children's father should be more important than a mate (if you are going to have children)

But any who...back in the day these women married the men who knocked them up..regardless.

Glad we aren't forced to do that anymore

I have two sisters and I am the only one that got married first then had kids....most of my friends also had children before marrying

When we told people we were marrying, we were asked by everyone if we were pregnant ...we weren't ...people just assumed that's WHY we were marrying - sad
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 6:40 AM
2 moms liked this

 Breakdown of morals. 

momtoscott
by Gold Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM
2 moms liked this

In their 20s, people are adults.  They can do as they see fit.  By the logic of the article, though, maybe the best thing we could do to reduce single parenthood in 20-somethings is make college more affordable.  

Carpy
by Ruby Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM
1 mom liked this

Why don't they make sure they don't have babies with idiots?

Quoting pixie92:

this is just kinda dumb. So they make sure they dont marry an idiot or marry just for a kid which is good but lets make it sound bad. Also come on not all parents let people in and out of their kids lives.


randi1978
by Bronze Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 7:43 AM

The new teen moms?

How is that even remotely possible?

A woman in her twenties has more opportunities than a teen.  Even with a child in tow, she can still find a better paying job, finish college (if she's attending), manage on her own without outside help.  So I just don't see how the comparison is even possible.

Women choose to have children for different reasons.  And what this article doesn't really mention is the fact that a lot of these women are probably living with their partners and have been together for a couple of years or more.  The child still has a solid two parent family home.  Marriage is not a requirement and not being married does not mean the child will be statistically doomed, Future.

pixie92
by Platinum Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 8:17 AM
There could be several reasons. Bc fail, didnt know the man was an idiot, making sure when baby is born he doesnt turn into an idiot, they realize most men are idiots so making sure its one they can put up with and so on. There are leavels of being an idiot and as i found out with my ex some levels arent worth it. I should have stayed single and i will most likely not marry again. I didnt marry my kids dads either and im glad about that also because one became a bum and the other thought since we had kids he could become abusive. I see nothing wrong with other women chosing to wait on marriage and decideing to raise their child. Shouldnt most women just be happy they arent aborting.


Quoting Carpy:

Why don't they make sure they don't have babies with idiots?

Quoting pixie92:

this is just kinda dumb. So they make sure they dont marry an idiot or marry just for a kid which is good but lets make it sound bad. Also come on not all parents let people in and out of their kids lives.



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
lga1965
by Ruby Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 8:20 AM

 I highlighted a couple of things that I agree with.

But we didn't have a religious family, not a religious upbringing and there was no threatening that you will go to hell if you have sex. LOL...no "forcing kids to get married" talk either.

I think it was just practical thinking and knowing when to say NO to the guy you are crazy about. I had a long time boyfriend in college and had trouble saying NO to sex but it was worth it, particuarly since I didn't end up marrying him. :-)  He was not a good potential husband,in my opinion.SO I am so glad I didn't get pregnant with his baby.

I believe that decisions about pregnancies, marriages, are based on your own personal way of thinking and planning about your life decisions and also...Birth Control... that matters, that makes a difference.

Quoting turtle68:

Well...I strongly disagree.  I grew up in a loving family with the greatest parents on earth.  I lost my virginity not from peer pressure or curiosity, I actually thought I had fallen in love....and then fell pregnant and had a baby not long after, 21yo...certainly not my parents fault at all...me and my mistakes .

However my parents love and respect for one another made me grow up and see the reality of poor decisions, and showed me how it is a partnership....made me want more from a relationship.  It has NOTHING to do with them being married.

They never painted a "you have to marry or your kids are bastards" picture.  Or that only god will be pleased with you if you marry.

They showed us that a partnership built on love and respect will be a happy union that will last your lifetime.

I was certainly not raised poorly or ignored.  I had great self esteem and confidence.  I just turned a few wrong corners...the product of my own personality, the product of my upbringing was being able to see those mistakes and correct them.

 

Quoting lga1965:

 Based on my family and friends through the years  and our experiences....I would say that teens and girls in their twenties who have babies and no marriage have been badly raised or ignored by their parents and have nothing else in their lives but having sex and getting pregnant. It is so depressing and disturbing. College and a career and then a marriage to a GOOD man is essential.Parents need to communicate with their kids starting at a young age and make them aware of these truths.

My 16 year old granddaughters who have been carefully and lovingly raised by their parents have decided to wait until they have their college degrees to even think about a relationship and marriage and then wait to have children until they have been married for at least three years. This is not unusual among their friends who have been well raised too.

When I was a teen, I was too shy to kiss a guy and sex to me was something you waited for until you were in love, old enough and with the man you were going to marry...and not just something to do when you want to keep a guy interested.There were too many other things in my life ,....didn't have time to go with a guy and get involved.

Kids who are close to their parents and have families who TALK... will NOT have a baby when they are teens. They talk about morals, self respect, self control and reproduction, contraception. It is such a big mistake to ignore kids and let them go nuts and get pregnant.

See the difference?


 

Nysa
by Member on Apr. 19, 2013 at 8:30 AM

I have noticed this. I am the only one of my friends with kids. We all are well educated, and money is not a big issue. I just always wanted to be a mom. More than any career. My step daughter was also getting older, and we didn't want a HUGE gap. She was already 8 when Amalia was born.  It works out well, though, lol. My friends all spoil the crap out of my kids. They love being aunties. I'm looking forward to some of them having kids just so the insane amount of stuff stops flowing into my house.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured