Dean City, Michigan (PressExposure) March 13, 2011 -- The key to childhood satisfaction is living in a stable, two-parent family, where Mom and Dad are married and the family communicates regularly, according to a survey funded by the British government published on February 28.
"Young people do not associate their material situation with their life satisfaction," states a summary of the Understanding Society survey's findings. Instead, "not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person's life satisfaction than their material situation." Money and things cannot make up for the lack of a happy, stable home.
The report also found that happy homes have married parents. "After controlling for a range of characteristics, cohabiting people are signi?cantly less happy in their relationships than married people," states the summary. Elsewhere it notes that "children (aged 10-15) are happier with their family situation if their parents are happier with their relationship with each other."
So setting up a family God's way leads to happiness for everyone involved!
While the study found that time in front of the tv had no effect on a child's happiness, it found that a declining family ritual does. "[E]ating an evening meal together as a family is important," the study says. "Children who eat an evening meal with their family at least three times a week are substantially more likely to report being completely happy with their family situation than children who never eat with their family, or who eat together less than three times a week."
As the Trumpet has pointed out on several occasions, eating a family meal is becoming a lost tradition in Western society as all members of the family either snack on the go or gather in front of the television.
An evening meal is a time where family members can catch up with each other, talk about their day and discuss the challenges individuals may be facing. And the Understanding Society survey shows that this communication is another important part of a child's happiness.
Children who talked with their parents about important matters at least occasionally and quarreled with them less than once a week had over a 70 percent chance of being completely happy with their family life. However, children that quarreled frequently with both parents and hardly ever discussed important matters with them had a less than 30 percent chance of being completely happy with their family life.
The survey does not state this, but it would be a reasonable guess that these children that often quarrel share few family meals.
These results are part of the first wave of results to be published from the Understanding Society survey that will follow 100,000 people in 40,000 households over the next 20 years. The survey has an initial budget of £15.5 million making it the "largest single investment in academic social research resources," according to the Guardian.
The study also shows that keeping a marriage happy is not easy-especially after children have arrived. The summary states that "for both men and women, happiness declines with the duration of the relationship, with the decline being steeper for women," and that "childless couples are happiest with their relationships and those with a preschool child are least happy, though happiness increases with the age of the youngest child."
Maintaining a happy marriage isn't easy, especially with young children around. But it creates an environment in which children thrive. For more vital information on the God-ordained purpose of this vital institution, read our free booklet Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?