In a report issued by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), important details outline the challenges facing single-parent families. "When an unwed couple has a child, the resulting family faces heightened vulnerability to a variety of economic and social problems affecting the couple, the parents as individuals, and the child. In particular, there is a high risk they will be unsuccessful in forming a sustained and close family unit. Because of these well-documented risks and the consequences of nonmarital childbearing for parents and children, these families are now commonly called 'fragile families.'"

This same report goes on to say, "research shows that children who grow up with married, biological parents have better outcomes than children raised in a different family structure. On average, the former are more likely to be healthy, to complete high school, and to become economically self-sufficient adults; and in turn, they are less likely to be involved in drug and alcohol abuse or juvenile delinquency, or to become teen parents."

At Christmas, when we focus our eyes on what will bring joy to our children, the best present we can give is right within reach. This is the perfect time to recommit to our marriages. Married couples, attending marriage seminars, kissing under the mistletoe and holding hands in front of the hearth are building the perfect gift for their children, a secure home today and a vision for their children of what their own future could be.

The best Christmas present under the tree this year will cost the least. But its value to our children is priceless.

A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez ( is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column titled "From the Home Front." Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.

© 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.

For more articles to help your family prepare for Christmas, visit's special Christmas section.