Lots of kids grow up watching Disney movies of princesses kissing a frog, marrying her prince, and living happily ever after. All of the Disney movies I can think of end there. That’s the happily ever after- marriage (to a prince of course!). Well what about the kids? Disney should do a Beauty and the Beast Part II or a Sleeping Beauty 19 kids and Counting- we need to see what happens when kids come from these “happily ever after” marriages, right?
Well the good news is that research has done that for us- sort of. A new report that just came out by ChildTrends found that quality of parents’ marriages is positively associated with child and family outcomes. Not too shocking, huh? Happy parents make happy families- Cinderella and Prince Charming would have well-behaved, well-adjusted children that are great communicators with their parents. Well research has shown this before, but mostly for well-educated and higher socioeconomic status (SES aka richer) families. The nice thing about the ChildTrends study is they are showing these same findings across all types of families. The findings that happier families have children with better child development outcomes holds regardless of the child’s gender or age, regardless of the family type (married or cohabiting) , race and ethnicity (white, black, Hispanic) parent education, family income, or immigrant status. So rich or poor, Black or White, college degree or not, parents who report that they are “completely happy” or “very happy” in their marriage have children who show higher levels of social competence (e.g., respect for teachers), school engagement (e.g., caring about doing well in school), better abilities to control externalizing behavior (e.g., bullying, arguing, etc). So make your marriage a happy one for both you and your kids! It’s a win win for everyone! Here is a nice article about 5 Things Super Happy Couples Do Everyday.
To read the Report Brief click here and then under Resources: Research Briefs click on the Parental Relationship Quality and Child Outcomes across Subgroups link for the PDF.