June 8, 2010

Lesbian parents raise healthy, happy kids sans father

According to a recent study, children raised by lesbian parents grow up just fine and excel academically.

The study, “Psychological Adjustments of 17-year old Adolescents,” was initiated by Dr. Nanette Gartrell at the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family organization in San Francisco.  Since 1986, 78 lesbian mothers volunteered to have their children monitored since birth for the study, which was published June 7 in Pediatrics journal.  The participants ranged from single lesbian mothers, separated couples and co-parenting households.

“Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment,” according the study. “These findings have implications for the clinical care of adolescents and for pediatricians who are consulted on matters that pertain to same-sex parenting.”

The participating lesbian mothers were interviewed throughout the study and were also required to fill out the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).  The checklist is a questionnaire for the parents to rate emotional and behavioral problems by their children.  The CBCL was created by Thomas Achenbach as a standardized assessment in child psychology.

“There is not a single study that has shown there are any problems in terms of psychological adjustment,” Dr. Gartrell, study lead, told Reuters Health. “The things we know that make for good parenting are love, resources and being very involved in your child’s life.”

The boys and girls, once they turned 17 years old, were also required to complete an online questionnaire.  A few of the yes or no questions asked included, “Did other kids every say mean things to you about your mom[s] being lesbian?” to “Have you been treated unfairly because of having a lesbian mom?”

Dr. Nanette Gartrell

Dr. Nanette Gartrell

According to the study, 41 percent of the children experience some sort of stigmatization by 10 and 17 years old.  “Other protective factors – changing cultural attitudes toward lesbian and gay families and peer/teacher support in response to homophobic incidents, among others – may also be involved in helping young people cope with stigmatization,” the study reported.

Opponents of same sex marriage and parenting believe that children should only be raised by a heterosexual family.  According to the Family Research Council’s website, the organization believes that “homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.  It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.”

Last February, a study released in the Journal of Marriage and Family indicated that fatherless children are not at a disadvantage, compared to children raised by heterosexual parents.  “Significant policy decisions have been swayed by the misconception across party lines that children need both a mother and a father,” said University of Southern University sociologist Timothy Biblarz, who co-authored the study with New York University sociologist Judith Stacey.

“The bottom line is that the science shows that children raised by two same-gender parents do as well on average as children raised by two different-gender parents,” added Biblarz. “This is obviously inconsistent with the widespread claim that children must be raised by a mother and a father to do well.”

—Lemery Reyes/Newsdesk

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CITATIONS:

How Does the Gender of Parents Matter?

Journal of Marriage and Family, February 1, 2010

Do Children Need Both a Mother and Father?

New York University, January 21, 2010

Children of lesbian couples do well in school, life

Reuters Health, June 7, 2010

US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents

Pediatrics, June 7, 2010

US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study

Timothy Biblarz

Judith Stacey

Child Behavior Checklist

Family Research Council

14 thoughts on “Lesbian parents raise healthy, happy kids sans father

  1. Give me a break ! This is not a true study, no mention of post adult years.
    Freaky rotten media!!

  2. I read an interesting comment that made an excellent point about this study.

    The study’s findings do not speak to the superior fitness of gay/lesbian parents any further than this:

    Gay/lesbian parents cannot have children unless they go to lengths and have the resources to do so.

    This means 100% of gay/lesbian parents WANT their children.

    Roughly 50% of heterosexual pregnancies are unplanned/unexpected and, by extension, problematic for the often unprepared parents who may or may not be up to the challenge.

  3. This study is yet more evidence that social “scientists” can cook up a study to prove any currently politically correct thing their little PC hearts desire.

    Ignored by this study are previous studies that found that daughters of lesbian couples self-identify as lesbians or bi-sexual at several times the rate of girls raised by heterosexual couples (or single heterosexual parents).

    While the authors of this agenda driven study might well find a several fold increase in self-reported lesbianism or bi-sexuality among girls raised by lesbian couples as not especially troubling, problematic or indicative of anything concerning, most agnostic and unbiased scientists are troubled by this disparity in outcomes.

  4. “Ignored by this study are previous studies that found that daughters of lesbian couples self-identify as lesbians or bi-sexual at several times the rate of girls raised by heterosexual couples (or single heterosexual parents).”

    Interesting that Donna’s implied point is that lesbian parents make you gay = bad.

    Why should those findings be troubling? My interpretation is that these children feel less likely to be ostracized by their parents for their sexual orientation and thus more likely to self-identify as lesbian or bisexual. Having lesbian parents won’t make you a lesbian any more than having straight parents makes you straight. Is it better for a woman deny her sexual orientation?

    Also, why does it matter that an agnostic scientist would be troubled by these findings? Do religious and biased scientists find them untroubling?

  5. The main problem with the study is that it contained no demographic control group. Study authors just used some data taken from non-matched averages. In most cases lesbians have higher incomes and education, which would be expected to lead to better than average performance from their children. Also, the fact that their parental performance was going to be monitored as being representative for the entire gay/lesbian population would never be expected to have any effect on what they or their children wrote in the surveys. Of course, it is completely unbiased!

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  7. I think as in any relationships there are good and bad ones to raise children. I don’t think gay/lesbian or straight relationships have the upper hand in being good parents in making all the right decisions. All three have their ups and downs. Parental performance comes from within plus what has been learned and how it applied. Think about it! I have had the opportunity to observe all three. Both parents must contribute to the relationship. J. Moses

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  9. Incredible … in all the reportage on this, never was it mentioned that the study was financially supported by a raft of LGBT organizations, and the principle researchers are, by their body of work, clearly sympathetic to the LGBT community. This raises strong suspicion of bias, and the fact that this was not reported by “reputable” journals or media outlets shows that they are absolutely not interested in science.

  10. 1. Dr. Nanette Gartrell is a lesbian in a same-sex relationship
    2. Her partner is a lesbian activist/filmmaker
    3. The information compiled for the “study” consisted solely of lesbian mothers’ opinions of their children. Far from objective.

    This so-called “study” is in no way a valid piece of research. You could pay a 12 year old kid to walk around the neighborhood asking parents what they think about their kids’ self-esteem and grades and you would get the same “quality” results.

  11. A study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy examined the past sexual experiences, sexual thoughts, and fantasies regarding the sexual contacts of 35 adult men who were sexually abused during their childhoods. The study found that among men, a history of homosexual child abuse was linked both to an adult homosexual orientation and to sexual attraction to children: “According to existing literature, gender identity confusion and gender preference are often cited as being affected by childhood sexual abuse. In this study, 46 percent of the abused men, as opposed to 12 percent of the nonabused men, defined their sexual orientation as either bisexual or homosexual. Therefore, these findings further validate previous research regarding the sexual orientation of chil¬dren who have been sexually abused.”
    • The study concludes: “Given these findings, it appears that being sexually abused as a child may affect the propensity of adult men to fantasize about young men.”
    James R. Bramblett, Jr., and Carol Anderson Darling, “Sexual Contacts: Experiences, Thoughts, and Fantasies of Adult Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 23 (4): 313 (Winter 1997).