Experts Agree, Parents Urged to Tell Adult Children -- Don't Delay Childbearing

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Despite public awareness, the age at first marriage continues to increase as well as the number of couples who delay childbearing. "The consequences of these decisions exact a significant emotional toll and the financial cost ($46 billion) is staggering," according to family therapist Dr. Alan Singer. Singer appeals directly to parents, imploring them to exert their influence over their adult children to slow these trends.

Too many parents approach issues in their adult child's life with the unspoken rejoinder, close your mouth and open your wallet

Media campaigns have been launched, books have been written, yet the age at first marriage continues to increase as well as the number of couples who delay childbearing. Do couples who decide to delay marriage and child-bearing fully comprehend the ramifications of their actions? "The consequences of these decisions exact a significant emotional toll and the financial cost is staggering," according to family therapist Dr. Alan Singer.

He refers to these trends as dominoes: delayed marriage--delayed childbearing--augmented infertility--elevated multiple births--increased rate of pre-term birth and caesarian sections. Infertility tends to cause isolation and frustration, Multiple Births cause financial difficulties and marital discord, Preemies are commonly born with low birth weight, and C-Sections can lead to infection and blood clots. The annual costs for these trends is $46 billion. In a column posted today on Dr. Singer's website http://www.FamilyThinking.com Singer appeals directly to parents, imploring them to exert their influence over their adult children to slow these trends.

In his column "Parents--Tell Your Adult Children: Don't Delay Childbearing" Dr. Singer encourages parents to speak their minds early in the marriage of their grown child to avoid the frustration, pain, and sometimes grief that accompanies these trends. "Too many parents approach issues in their adult child's life with the unspoken rejoinder, close your mouth and open your wallet," claims Singer. He doesn't expect parents to be telling their grown children everything on their minds. "But in matters that are crucial for their well-being, they should speak up." Singer stresses. He cites the National Survey of Student Engagement, which reveals that young adults follow the advice of both parents more than twice as much as they listen to friends.

Dr. Singer Outlines:

  • Infertility affects 7.3 million Americans. The emotional toll includes feelings of frustration, isolation, and guilt. Total cost: $3 billion.
  • Multiples: The birth rate for twins in the United States has increased 70% since 1980. Fetal risks include a higher chance of miscarriage, birth defects, and problems resulting from premature delivery. Multiple gestation is associated with depression, financial difficulties, and marital discord.
  • Pre-term infants: More than 525,000 babies each year are born prematurely. Preemies tend to have low birth weight, breathing problems, and the risk of cerebral palsy. Total cost: $26 billion.
  • Caesarian sections: 30% of babies are delivered via C-section which is triple the rate of 1975. Risks for mothers include the chance of infection and blood clots. Total cost: $17 billion.

Singer hopes these rates will not continue to increase and "With the catastrophic divorce rate in the U.S. hovering at 50%, not one more marriage will succumb to the marital stress caused by these trends."

"But as long as parents are either too shy or too worried to put in their two cents," he urges, "these emotionally devastating and costly trends may continue to surge."

Last, Singer asks parents to put their dollars where their mouth is, emphasizing, "Your offer to help your children financially in the early years of marriage can make all the difference in the world to a young couple who is determined to be self-sufficient.

About Dr. Alan Singer:
Singer is a parenting columnist in New Jersey, a family therapist since 1978, and a father since 1980. He created and writes for http://www.FamilyThinking.com

He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1995. He is an expert in family-size decision making and its impact on marriage.

For related stories to this topic, Singer can discuss:
Your Marriage and Your Children: How to Assure that Both Will Thrive
Newlyweds: When is the Best Time to Start a Family?
What is the Ideal Number and Ideal Spacing of Children?
For more information please contact Dr. Singer at 212.873.0422

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Alan M. Singer, Therapist
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