Yesterday I attended the AFCC workshop on “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Best Interests: Smooth Sailing or Choppy Waters?” The speakers dispelled many myths about same-sex parents, and after, the audience broke into small discussion groups. So, is there really a difference in effectiveness of parenting? The consistent opinion of the participating judges, lawyers, social workers, psychologists and parent coordinators was that the sexual orientation of the a parent has little to do with their effectiveness as a parent. Homosexuality only becomes a factor to consider in the limited cases where the other parent bad mouth’s the homosexuality to the children. However, that is a negative mark against the bad mouthing parent, just like if a heterosexual parent did the same thing. The conclusion was that figuring out a parenting plan for children for same-sex parenting involves the same analysis and considerations as different sex parents.
Before we go on, you must realize the importance of the AFCC conference of being in Toronto, Canada. Toronto has acknowledged same-sex marriages for more than 10 years. So, what are the myths that people should realize are just that, myths?
Children growing up with same-sex parents
- Are confused about their own sexual orientation.
- Grow up unhappy.
- Are less intelligent.
- Are more likely to become lesbian/gay themselves.
- Will not have proper male/female role models.
- Are embarrassed to talk about their families.
Lesbian and gay parents:
- Will abuse their children.
- Are unfit parents.
- Can’t produce children, therefore, they are not meant to have them.
- Are more likely to be pedophiles.
- Will raise gay kids.
- Their lifestyle is not suitable for children.
- Are unable to sustain lasting relationships.
- Make the traditional family collapse.
All of these have been proven to not be true.
What does the research show:
- Children with same-sex parents are indistinguishable from children with heterosexual parents with respect to their psychological adjustment, quality of their peer relationships and psychosexual development.
- Children with same-sex parents experience family lives that are very similar to those experienced by children in a heterosexual family.
- The quality of the couple relationship is a strong predictor of the quality of children’s adjustment, as is the case in heterosexual families.
Here are some articles that the speakers recommended for further reading on this issue:
Wainwright, J.L., Russell, S.T., & Patterson, C.J. (2004). Psychosocial Adjustment, School Outcomes, and Romantic Relationships of Adolescents with Same-Sex Parents. Child Development, 75(6), 1886-1898.