Blended Family? Kids May Use Drugs and Have Sex Young

I found this truly depressing.  Adolescents who have half-siblings with a different father are more likely to have used drugs and had sex by age 15 than those who have only full siblings.

Researchers examined a phenomenon known as “multi-partnered fertility” or MPF, according to "This happens when parents who are not romantically involved with each other form new relationships and have another child with a new partner," the Web site reports.  (Hmm.  Wonder if they know Kody Brown.)

What the researchers focused on were the connections between this re-partnering and additional childbearing on adolescent drug use and early sex. They focused on mothers and first-born children who lived with their mothers most of their lives.

“For children, MPF means having a half-sibling, but it also means, for first-born children, that they usually experienced their biological parents splitting up — if they were together at all, lived in a single mother household for some time, experienced their mother finding a new partner at least once and perhaps lived with a stepfather, and finally experienced their mother having a baby with a new partner,” explains Karen Benjamin Guzzo, an assistant professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, and Cassandra Dorius, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

While it's not clear why, “adolescents with a half-sibling with a different father are about 65 percent more likely to have used marijuana, uppers, inhalants, cocaine, crack, hallucinogens, sedatives, or other drugs by the time of their 15th birthday than those who have only full siblings," quotes Guzzo. "They are also about 2.5 times more likely to have had sex by their 15th birthday than their peers with only full siblings.”

And yet, I know many blended families where the children love each other and even, in some cases, prefer half-siblings to biological brothers and sisters.  Researchers are continuing to look into why this may be so and it will be interesting to see what they come up with.


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