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Is it socially acceptable to have children outside of wedlock?

by Vee (follow)
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family portrait
‘Family Portrait’ by Eric Ward. Sourced from Wikimedia Commons

The other day I bumped into somebody that I used to know. We got talking as she beamed at my son. “He wasn’t part of the plan,” I said jokingly. “At least you’re married,” she replied.

I didn’t give it a further thought until I got home. I know plenty of people who have had children outside of wedlock. Though I have always been of the opinion that two people shouldn’t have children unless they are in a committed long-term relationship – preferably marriage – I just thought I was being conservative. Apparently, I’m not alone.

I am not passing judgement on those who chose to or find themselves having children outside of a married relationship. I just thought it was interesting and had to ask, do you think it is socially acceptable to have children outside of wedlock?

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Top Answers
Nowadays, yes I think it is totally acceptable.

I personally do not like it -I have two grandchildren with different surnames and I think that is unfair on the children, so while I think it is acceptable, I do not like it.
by Finy
I think by and large it is. At least there doesn't seem to be anything like the stigma attached to having kids out of wedlock than there used to be. In fact I think I read somewhere that more kids these days are born to unmarried women than married women. Personally I certainly don't judge people who have kids outside of marriage. It's not my business.

When I was pregnant and riding the bus home, standing up because nobody stood for me, I remember an old lady looking at my belly, then at my hand (for a wedding ring perhaps?) and then glaring at me (I wasn't wearing one, though I am married). I suppose it's a generational thing.
The focus as always should remain on the children. In the past out of marriage children was a stigma rooted in religious beliefs and morals. Little children do not know if their parents partnership is forged officially by law. But what they do know is the uncertainty, trauma and dislocation brought about by parents that do not love them unconditionally or that love and time is disjointed by stress between to adults who are their parents. At the end of the day children need stability and love, routine and nutrition and if two loving parents can do that consistently for the child and not harm them socially or emotionally it is neither here nor there if they are married. It never was an issue of the child it was always an issue of social norms and prejudice.
Well said.
by poppy
For people in certain cultures, having children out of wedlock is not acceptable and can land them in a lot of trouble. In the West, it is quite acceptable. In fact, we had friends who had children old enough who could help out with their parents' wedding planning and I thought that was fascinating, because when I was a young child, I had always wondered where I was when my parents were getting married.
It is socially acceptable but it is not the best thing for the family. As someone who has outside siblings, I find that the relationship with them is not as great as with those between both parents.
by Gia
I think it's fine now in most of Australia. No one has any real issues with it - and if they do, it doesn't really matter.
I think what really helps is if the children are conceived when both parents are ready to parent them, not just a relationship built on a mistake, when they were not committed to each other in any way.
That's a good point jonaj.
by Vee
I can't understand those people who belive the solution to a situation such as this is marriage. The only guarantee here is unhappiness and resesntment.
by Vee
I can't understand those people who belive the solution to a situation such as this is marriage. The only guarantee here is unhappiness and resesntment.
by Vee
There is certainly not the stigma there once was in general, although some cultures and social circles are still very judgmental. However legal marriage doesn't guarantee children good parents, a lasting marriage or a happy life.
Most important thing children need is proper bringing up, like schooling & a steady & safe home envirnment provided by the parents. Now wether they are married or not or if they are Gay or not is nobody's lookout.Parents who do this should be bold & stand firm & face the criticism head on . They should have enough courage & conviction in what they are doing . If they seem weak then the consequances are their kids being targetd in school playground or riding in a school bus & so on.In today's world all these things are not worth bothering your head about. Keep religion,society norms , out of the equation as these trends are of bygone era & that is where they belong.
well said!
by norma
Unfortunately no, it isn't unacceptable nowdays. I don't think people who have children out of wedlock should be outcasts (it happens and you can't wind the clock back), but in our PC-gone-mad society, it's all but illegal (and in some cases it IS illegal) to say anything undesirable about having children out of wedlock, yet research clearly shows children born in wedlock and growing up in a stable family environment have far fewer problems, and present fewer problems to the community. They're also more likely to have stable relationships themselves. However, our modern society doesn't seem to think of the kids first - they mostly only seem to think about them after they're born.
by kimp
Like others have said in this thread - I don't think "marriage" is necessarily the answer - it's more about a stable upbringing in a loving home, but the this is reflected in the research as being in a household of life-lasting first marriage, because they are the ones most strongly correlated with a stable loving home life.
by kimp
Like others have said in this thread - I don't think "marriage" is necessarily the answer - it's more about a stable upbringing in a loving home, but the this is reflected in the research as being in a household of life-lasting first marriage, because they are the ones most strongly correlated with a stable loving home life.
by kimp
Well said.
by Vee
Illegitimate children?
They themselves probably never get over it! Deep down, there'll always be a 'stigma' attached, irregardless of what people say.

IMO, & beliefs, marriage firstly, then children.

Too many people these days are of the 'whatever' belief.
But to each their own. They're the ones who have to live with THEIR conscience!
Our eldest daughter is now 42. She & her partner met & got together about 14 years ago. Their daughters are now 5&9 months, & the other is 1 & 8 months. I’m glad their parents didn't get married, because it saved them & us, a whole lot of money, which can now be spent on their house renovations when that time comes around. So, No, we certainly don’t mind her NOT being married. Our other daughter, on the other hand, wants to get married, (before having children,) & her lovely b/f has even hinted about that also.
They don’t have children yet as they’ve only known each other for 49 weeks, & would love to go to the USA for a 5 week holiday next year, if they can afford too.
I've just found this old question again, after about 2 years, so here's an update! Neither daughter is married. Younger daughter is still with her same lovely partner, no kids. They didn't go on holidays, as they had work commitments. (And more money saved.) Neither daughter & partner have started on their house renovations yet.
by Miro
It would seem so, but one would start asking questions when some have 5 or more children with no father figure in their life.
For me Marriage is still the way things should be.
by Vee
I really don't care if it is Socially acceptable or not. It is wrong to have Children out of Wedlock. Why do you think God Created Marriage?? It is the reason the World is in such a mess.
It's not the only reason the world's in a mess!
by donjo
Each to their own. I think as long as the children are well loved that is paramount. Just look at the divorce statistics nowadays, the broken families and families with children from the various marriages their parents have. Bearing that in mind you can hardly use marriage as a criteria for having well balanced children. Some families are happiest when there is no wedding ring involved!
sorry - should have said I think it is socially acceptable to have children out of wedlock nowadays.
by norma
Thank you, Norma, I like your reply!
by Miro
Years ago there was a lot of stigma attached to having children out of wedlock. Nowadays I feel most people aren't concerned but I have to admit I raise my eyebrows when I see mothers with 4 children to 4 different fathers and not one of them in the childrens lives
Yes, helga. I have to admit, that doesn't sit well with me either.
by Vee
Yes Helga, I feel the same. My niece (in-law) now has four children to 3 different fathers. For me I find that disgusting. Four sisters with different surnames - it's them I feel sorry for, especially knowing how nasty school kids can be when it comes to something like that.
by poppy
no, not acceptable in my eyes perhaps I am old fashioned.
You're entitled to your opinion, flaga. I tend to agree.
by Vee
The world is changing and so are we. It's horrible how women were treated when single during war years and up to the seventies. They were shunned and families were ashamed. But whatever happened to the father's of these children they got away scot free. We have no right to judge unless we have been in this situation. I'm also glad we've are being more grown up about it
Yes it's very much accepted. Of course the ideal is that they have two parents in a committed relationship, as children are a responsibility that lasts forever!
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