The Supreme Court’s recent ruling has put the spotlight on same-sex families. Many question whether children of such households fare as well as kids from unions between one man and one woman.
Research indicates that they’re doing just fine.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families in progress at Melbourne University (ACHESS) is gathering data on 500 children from across the country younger than 17. The preliminary findings show that youngsters from same-sex parents scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion. There was no statistical difference between them and children from heterosexual parents in such areas as emotional behavior, self-esteem and time spent with parents.
The study also reported that other factors, such as parental relationship, family income, parental education and socioeconomic status had more influence on children’s success than the gender orientations of their folks.
An extensive review of research conducted by Judith Stacey of New York University showed that teens from both same-sex and opposite-sex households performed equally well in school and engaged in similar amounts of delinquent activities.
Stacey noted that kids from same-sex families get teased about the same amount as their peers. But when they are teased, “the target is the nontraditional household rather than some other aspect of their life or identity.”
In fact, parental relationship matters more than parental gender in determining children’s ultimate success. Charlotte Patterson and Jennifer Wainright of the University of Virginia found that adolescents who had close bonds with their parents, regardless of the adults’ gender, did best in school, were less likely to use drugs, and felt liked by their peers
Children from same-sex households may even have an advantage. According to Dr. Ellen Perrin, professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, “children of lesbian couples are less aggressive, more nurturing to their peers, more tolerant to diversity and more likely to play with boys’ and girls’ toys.”
The question isn’t whether same-gender couples can be good parents. The answer is unequivocal that they are. Let’s put our energies toward promoting the environments that help all kids thrive, regardless of the chromosomes of the adults who raise them.