Can Gay Parents Raise Well-adjusted Children?
Before the emergence of gay adoption, the initial instances of same sex marriage had stirred endless controversy. With the public across the world divided on opinions concerning gay marriage, people who practice this act are either devastated or motivated by what seems to be public scrutiny on the rights of individuals. The introduction of gay parenting was not different either with the usual suspects giving divergent opinions, but on this, the hate escalated further. However, on a certain occasion, a Republican presidential contender, Rick Santorum, said that children are better off with an inmate parent rather than living with parents of same sex marriage. To add salt to the injury, Pope Benedict while citing the need of children having heterosexual homes, referred to gay marriage as a threat to the future of humanity (Gehrt 2014). The question remains at large. Can gay parents raise well-adjusted children? Research shows that gay parenting to some extent is way better than the normal marriage parenting, and this in essence highlights the need to abstain from condemnation of gay adoption.
Despite the usual challenges every family faces, research shows that children adopted and raised within gay families display the same physical and psychological adjustments as those of conservative parenting (Goldberg 38). On all occasions, gays become parents after consultations and planning before making that crucial decision, and not by accident as in most cases of heterosexual parenting. Because of the planned child adoption, most gay families are more committed in parenting and raising children with better facilities and organized structures leading to a glittering future. Meanwhile, a greater percentage of heterosexual marriages experience accidental pregnancies leading to unplanned children and eventually difficulty in upbringing (Goldberg 38). Historically, critics are ever on the necks of gay parents citing various reasons for their abhorrence toward the act although few state solid reasons for the biased perception on same sex marriage. Not only do they have an advantageous social set up but children of gay marriage also display superior traits of tolerance and flexibility in mental well-being. Because of the influence of their parents and circumstances surrounding children raised in gay conditions, they tend to inhibit a tolerant mindset about relationships and are easily sociable as a result. Different researches carried around the globe indicate that children of gay parenthood perform better in academics as opposed to the straight children whose performances are relatively low due to unstable parenting. Jeremy Dean in his blog shared the view that the success attributes of the children emanate from the perception that gay families experience minimal conflicts, which is the root cause of psychological instability in minors. Dean shares the notion that without generalizing facts about the entire gay community, family stability is mostly dominant among homosexual parents as compared to the lesbian counterparts who comparatively develop unequal feelings towards children. The major contributing factor in varied attachment levels among lesbian parents is breastfeeding, which makes the feeding parent more biologically and emotionally attached than the partner (Heaphy, Smart and Einarsdottir 11).In addition, studies show that children suffer from remorse and psychological torture because of lack of proper and well-managed economic and social status of the parents rather their sexuality. To create a lasting relationship with children, gay parents tend to lay down stable financial conditions and they cement it by spending considerable valuable time with the children. Socializing is an important ingredient of a child’s development process.
An Australian study showed that in spite of all the challenges children living in gay families face ranging from social condemnation to biological realities, they still develop healthily as kids of normal parenting, or even better. Charles Cooke shares this view in his article, “Is gay parenting bad for the kids?” Cooke further gives an impression that the behavior of such kids remains insignificant no matter how committed the harsh critics condemn their status and that of the parents. Furthermore, the study reveals that the most important ingredient for parents to raise well-adjusted children is merely to show them love because with affection, the other life determinants straighten up. To achieve the task of raising children to persevere and tolerate any form of public scrutiny or despise, it is necessary to teach them at an early stage about social diversity and why it important to embrace people of all kinds. If well formatted, such teachings promote love among children across the divide while at the same time making them resistant to bullying and molestation. During this survey, 315 gay parents representing 500 children answered questions about the health history of their children, social and emotional stability, and experiences of stigma associate with the parents’ sexual orientation. After undertaking the study, the researchers compared the results to that of children living with heterosexual parents and then analyzed the results objectively. Surprisingly, children of gay parents were the outright winners with the study showing them slightly scoring higher in behavior, health and family togetherness than their counterparts. Meanwhile, the same study showed that children of gay parenthood are slightly more likely to suffer mental torture as a result of public condemnation than those of heterosexual parents. Cooke concludes that the research report is important because it shows that regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion or cultural systems, the most important aspect of parenthood is affection between parents and children. Creating a love bond between a parent and children helps ease potential rifts and rifts that might emerge within families (Goldberg 38). To their advantage, gay families implement this theory to perfection thereby making same sex parenting run smoothly as any other family of heterosexual parents.
Naturally, the global society has struggled to embrace certain changes to its cultural system with some citing resilient moral decay as the root cause of perceived ‘evil’ acts within the society. Critics comprising of religious leaders and conservatives have continually crucified the act of gay marriage and to some extent gay parenting. Parents and children alike face society wrath and other forms of bullying in places of work and schools respectively because of their sexuality stand. For the past few decades since the first instances of gay marriage surfaced, victims of same sex marriage have faced scathing attacks from all corners including the media, which is crucial in creating a public perfection on any given situation. Tracey Hansen, a psychologist with a clinical and forensic practice and an interest in parenting, argues that a perfect family should consist of a male father and a female mother. She goes further to point out that, raising children within gay parenthood is sexually confusing and results in early age experimentation (Goldberg 39). By encouraging same sex parenting, researchers reveal that the act encourages other forms of traditionally unaccepted behaviors like polygamy. Hansen condemns this act stating that gay parents are only interested in their own interests and not that of the children. While citing the findings of a Swedish research, she elaborates that medical researches show that children who are genetically connected to their parents develop in more stable ways than those of gay parenting. The relationship starts at an early life stage and continue until adult stage because of the blood nexus of parent and children. However, there is unlimited proof on such revelations indicating that children of gay parents eventually become gay just like their parents. Critics also point out allegations of non-heterosexual children engaging in violence, alcohol abuse, and mostly likely to develop chronic diseases.
American Psychological Association says that despite the various concerns the public have raised against gay parenting, results of social science research indicates there is no proof yet that the allegations are true. Furthermore, the mentioned research suggests that sexual orientations in children are the same and their development does not depend on the parenthood. Children of both heterosexual parents and gay parents have similar features and development patterns. American Psychological Association recommends that stakeholders provide adequate scientific and educational resources to bridge the misunderstanding and misinformation that has seen children of gay parenting suffer emotionally because of unwarranted bullying.
In conclusion, having realized that the most important ingredient in a relationship with children is love, parents from across the divide should develop affection and learn to be tolerant of others’ orientations and choices in life without unfair judgment. Researches from different organizations and countries suggest that just like heterosexual parents, gay parents too can raise well-adjusted children. As observed through various studies, gay parentage has more positives than the traditional parenting and therefore the public should learn to accept diversity.
Cooke, Charles. “Is Gay Parenting Bad for the Kids? (Study: Children of Gay Couples Are Disadvantaged).” Is Gay Parenting Bad for the Kids? (Study: Children of Gay Couples Are Disadvantaged). 10 June 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
Ghert, Amy. “Amy Gehrt: Gay Parents and Well-adjusted Kids.” The Milford Daily News. 18 July 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
Goldberg, Abbie E. Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010. Print.
Heaphy, Brian, Smart, Carol & Einarsdottir, Anna. Same Sex Marriages: New Generations, New Relationships. Basingtoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.
Jeremy, Dean. “Same-Sex Parenting Does Not Harm Children, Research Review Finds.” PSY BLOG: Understand Your Mind. 2 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.