Cohabitation is a growing problem with people cohabiting in record numbers. Not only are there greater problems for the adults who cohabit but also for the children living in these cohabiting households.
I think a key factor is the self-centered focus of these relationships. Cohabiting provides many with what they view as an escape hatch. It's the "Things may change" or "I'll have to see how it works out" approach. The lack of commitment means less stable relationships and when children are present they can easily be viewed as an irritant to getting what "I want" which means the likelihood of child abuse increases.
As one person noted:
Ultimately, many of the sexuality and reproductive issues, e.g. surrogacy, egg selling, type of sex education taught, marriage definition, etc., tie into the problems children are having in unstable family arrangements. The ideal is a child raised by both biological children in a lifelong relationship, e.g. marriage. Any policies which encourage deviation from the ideal shouldn't be promoted.
"I've seen many cases of physical and sexual abuse that come up with boyfriends, stepparents," said Eliana Gil, clinical director for the national abuse-prevention group Childhelp.
"It comes down to the fact they don't have a relationship established with these kids," she said. "Their primary interest is really the adult partner, and they may find themselves more irritated when there's a problem with the children."
Of course, some will say "But that's not reality. " "We can't roll back the clock." That doesn't make sense. Of course we can't roll back the clock but we also don't have to accept the status quo if the status quo isn't good. What are the strategies for insuring more children are raised by their biological parents in a marriage relationship is the question we need to be asking.