Which is the best wedding for kids?
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By Laura SeamanWashington Times StaffWASHINGTON — In the age of the smartphone, the most important question parents and grandparents face is whether to introduce their children to a marriage.
But how many times have you had to ask your grandkids?
And when they ask, they tend to be hesitant.
In the United States, nearly 70% of Americans have had to answer the question.
But according to a new study, the answer may be much different for children.
The new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University at Buffalo found that, for the first time, a majority of kids under the age 18 have to answer when asked if they want to get married.
The study, published online in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found that the majority of teens said they would not want to marry if they did not have permission from their parents.
In a similar survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year, more than half of 18-year-olds said they didn’t want to go to a wedding.
But when asked whether they would want to be married if they had permission from parents, a clear majority said no.
Researchers say these are all different questions for different people.
For many, parents will ask whether their kids will like the ceremony.
For others, they will be more cautious, and will ask their children whether they will go.
For kids who are older, they may have to tell parents about their intentions.
The survey results also suggest that young people are much more willing to ask questions, especially if the parents are already married.
“The question of whether to marry someone younger than you is really not an especially salient one for kids in this age group,” said Laura Seeman, assistant professor of communication at the Penn Graduate School of Journalism and the lead author of the study.
“In many cases, parents may have already decided that they don’t want children to marry anyone younger than they are.”
The study, “Why kids should be asking if they can marry,” included interviews with 1,800 kids ages 14 to 18, ranging in age from 13 to 18.
It found that nearly half of the kids said they wanted to get engaged if they didn- t have permission.
Of the kids, about half said they planned to marry or marry their friends.
About a quarter of the teens said the same.
When asked about how often their parents had asked them to get involved, about 40% of the parents said they had never asked, but about 36% of teens answered that they had asked.
When the survey asked about whether they thought it was okay for kids to get in a relationship with someone older than themselves, a slightly higher percentage of parents said that was okay than said it was not.
But the researchers also found that young children were much more likely to have had a conversation with their parents about marriage.
About two-thirds of kids said that if their parents asked them about their plans for getting married, they would be OK with it, compared with less than half among their parents and about a quarter among their friends and siblings.
Some parents, of course, will tell their kids that they should not marry.
But Seaman said that this was an issue for many kids and could become a bigger deal if teens started thinking about marriage as a family responsibility.
“It may be that these kids are just not ready for marriage yet,” Seeman said.
“They may not even know that marriage is a family activity.
They might not be aware of that.
And they might not have heard that parents can get married for them.
So this is an issue we need to be paying attention to.”
More information:The study is part of the Penn Family Health Initiative and the Health and Humanities Research Institute at Penn, which funded the research.
The Penn Graduate Study on Children and Families is published in the April 7 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
By Laura SeamanWashington Times StaffWASHINGTON — In the age of the smartphone, the most important question parents and grandparents face…
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