>> Feb 19, 2011
This guest post was written by Sammie Jones who also writes on the topic of christian counseling degrees for onlineclasses.net
If you watched the Golden Globes last week you probably saw two things: Ricky Gervais subtly mocking Hollywood A-listers, and The Kids Are Alright racking up awards in almost every nominated category. I like to think that The Kids Are All Right didn't really win for the stellar performances of its stars Annette Benning, Julliane Moore and Mark Rufalo (because they weren't all that spectacular or funny)but rather for the refreshing and modern portrayal of American family life.
What I really loved about The Kids Are All Right is that it brought to light what many of us have been reading in news papers, blogs and websites over the last five years about gay parenting. Its become clear that the children of gay parents have proven to be better adjusted socially. They are also less likely to fall victim to gender stereotypes, and engage in anti-social behavior. Interesting if not for the fact that is the exact opposite of what many conservatives and pro-family organizations have claimed for the last thirty to forty years.
There are over one million lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender parents raising about 2 million children. Within in that population there isn't a difference between the desires of gay couples and heterosexual couples. All parents want the same things for their children; happiness, health, opportunity, prosperity and confidence for their children. A study by UCLA's Williams Institute found that “Good parents are good parents no matter their sexual orientation”. Shocking!
A recent study conducted by contemporary gender studies professor Judith Stacey, and Kate Kendall head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, found that children of gay parents were more likely to reject rigid ideals of sexual orientation. The study went on to find that these children tended to show greater interest in the activities of the opposite sex. The parent-child relationship tends to have an feminizing effect on boys and a masculinizing effect on girls. Young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers were found to be more sexually adventurous, while boys were less sexually adventurous and more chaste. The study found no significant differences between lesbian and heterosexual households in terms of the mental health of the children involved in the study.
Another study by the National Adoption Center found that thirty years of research have concluded that children raised by same sex parents perform better academically, are more confident than their peers and have fewer behavioral problems.
Despite the hard evidence that the kids are doing more than alright, they're fantastic really, somehow the general misconception remains that these children are tormented, maladjusted, purveyors of anti-social behavior. And when the subject of bullying and teasing comes up the general assumption is that social life will be harder for them. Some indicators point out that some adopted children may find it harder to adjust a gay household. But these are children who have learned society's jaded view of homosexuality. Younger children don't have this issue, and any bullying at school is more than likely offset by a strong and positive family structure at home. In both cases, however, the healthy values that parents instill more than offset any negative experiences the children may be subject to.
What most of the studies, papers, essays and subsequent articles conclude is that gay parenting should not be conducted in spite of the opposing views of organizations like Focus on the Family. Rather, parenting should focus on maintaining confidence in both the children and the parents ability to provide a nurturing environment to raise a child. It's that kind of confidence that has produced the data that supports the notion that gay parents are good parents, and in some cases, better parents than heterosexual couples.
For the record I don't see myself becoming a gay parent anytime soon(I'm straight), but I do remember being teased and sometimes bullied. As the only black kid in an almost all white elementary school in white suburbia, I like to think I can relate. In the end it's about good parents being supportive of their children, and not feeding into the cycle of anti-social behavior that makes this an issue in the first place.