There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Same Gender Parenting

In my experience same gender parents are good at parenting and their children do great. However I am a universe of just one person so what I just told you is anecdotal, not a statement borne out by statistical analysis.

But there are data out there that clearly show there is no evidence that children of gay or lesbian parents fare any worse than children of heterosexual parents. There are also data that show children with two responsible adults in their lives have better outcomes than those with only one parent.

The American Academy of Pediatrics just completed an analysis examining the effects of current and proposed statutes and amendments on the legal, financial, and psychosocial health and well-being of children whose parents are gay or lesbian. (You can find the entire article in Pediatrics, Volume 118, Number1, July, 2006.)

Why is the AAP studying statutes and amendments regarding marriage? Because pediatricians take care of children and want to know about the families raising their patients. Demographics show that nearly 25% of same-gender couples are raising children. 41% of same-gender partners raising children have been together 5 years or more compared to 19.9% of unmarried heterosexual couples.

Few differences have been found in measures of self-esteem, psychological adjustment, and attitudes toward child rearing between lesbian and heterosexual mothers. There are more similarities than differences between gay and heterosexual fathers in parenting styles and attitudes.

What about the children? Children of divorced lesbian and divorced heterosexual mothers do not differ on measures of personality, peer group relationships, self-esteem, behavioral difficulties, academic success or quality of family relationships. Children born to lesbian couples are no different from those raised by heterosexual couples. There may be some advantages to children raised by gay or lesbian parents as they show increased tolerance of diversity and a greater degree of nurturance toward younger children than those raised by heterosexual parents.

Sexual identity and orientation of children raised by lesbian or gay parents are what would be expected. For example there were no differences found between children of lesbian parents and heterosexual parents in toy or game preferences, dress, or gender of friends. The worry that children raised by gay men would turn out gay is not borne out. Sexual orientation is not learned, it is innate.

So, you readers out there who are gay or lesbian parents can take pride in your parenting especially those who are in a committed relationship so their children have two parents. Those of you who are heterosexual should think about the effects of marriage amendments on children, perhaps the playmates of your own kids. The article lists 40 ways in which marriage amendments prevent gay or lesbian parents from obtaining the legal and financial rights and benefits you have such as legal recognition of joint parenting rights when a child is born or adopted. Think about it. What if they passed an amendment saying the father had sole parental rights? This was true in ancient Rome where the father had absolute rights over the child including the right to decide if the child should live or die. Children need both legal protection and acceptance by their community which includes the legal and political community.

One more task for my heterosexual readers. Be sure that your own children learn tolerance and learn to respect and welcome diversity. By recognizing that people are different children learn to accept their own differences as well as those of their friends. Tall or short, fat or thin, black or white, athlete or nerd we are all worthy of respect as we are all humans–a herd mammal. We need each other’s skills and talents, we need a tolerant community, we need a peaceful world in which to raise our children. Peace starts with tolerance.