Divorce rate down? Cohabitating couples with kids need more help than ever.

26 10 2008

David Crary of the Associated Press reported that marriage experts say the divorce rate in the United States is down. In fact, Crary says that the divorce rate is the lowest it’s been since 1970. But don’t cheer just yet, because the marriage rate is also down – by 30 percent. The rate of people living together without marrying has increased more than tenfold in the same period of time.

Still, whenever couples live with children from previous relationships, stepfamily dynamics are present whether the couples are married or not. When an unmarried couple is sideswiped by the particular challenges and feelings that occur in stepfamilies, they may have no idea how to handle them. They may not see themselves as part of an official “stepfamily,” and so they don’t see their experience as similar to what other stepfamilies go through.

 

Crary also writes that other researchers believe a dip in divorce rates is indeed occurring among wealthy educated couples, but not among couples who are financially strapped and less educated. Couples need to know about the help that’s available, no matter who they are or where they live.

 

When a couple breaks up, married or not, it feels like divorce to a kid. Research indicates that kids of divorce are more likely to falter in school, smoke, drink, do drugs and have sex at young ages. Plus, they are 50 percent more likely to divorce themselves. But YOU can have a big impact on helping those kids become healthy adults.

 

You’re reading this blog. To me, that’s an indication that you’re interested in getting the tools you need to succeed. But don’t stop there. If you know someone who is living in a stepfamily situation, married or not, reach out to them. Tell them the things you’ve learned. Show them the resources you’ve found. Give them the number of a counselor you admire.

 

When we help each other, we end up healing ourselves.

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