Are Lesbians Better Than Straights At Raising Children?

news-graphics-2007-_649744aOpponents of gay adoption argue that the ideal family is based around a man and a woman, and that all children deserve the best. But a new study reports that kids raised by lesbian couples (or single lesbian mothers) are actually psychologically healthier and do better in school than those raised by heterosexual parents — is it time for all children to be mandatorily handed over to lesbians for rearing? Time writes:

Children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.

“We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls,” says Gartrell. “I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn’t something I anticipated.”

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  • samthor

    Keep in mind that the Lesbians who become parents usually do it on purpose. They wait until they are older, more mature, emotionally and financially stable to be a parent. Whereas, a good portion of heterosexual couples become pregnant, by accident, whether they are ready or not.

    • Fudo love

      Children have been raised by groups of women since the dawn of Human Kind. Mothers, Aunts,Grandmothers, Sisters have always come together as a unit to raise the children. The issue here is Gender Roles and does it affect the children in an adverse way. Women raising children is not the same as Lesbian Raising children.

      Gender roles are not a human construct they are a nature construct. Some people are sexually wired differently and that is fine but when a child is involve I feel a parent should take into account the message he or she is sending out and how this may be an issue in the life of the child if the child is heterosexual.

      Now heterosexual lustful sex or loving making can produce kids. It goes without saying how this happens. That does not mean that same sex unions that do not produce children are better. More mature, etc. Of course they can do all the things you mentioned they have one of the best birth control existing besides celibacy.

      Heterosexuals can not turn off procreation at will. The high divorce rates are not a flaw with heterosexuality but with society and Family values. All this talk about same sex adoption does not change the fact that a child needs both Father and Mother.

      Everything a child needs is built right in a heterosexual relationship. That is not true for single parent or same sex unions.

      May we always do things in the best interest of the Children.

  • Cerebralcaustic

    Interesting, but one study does not establish that lesbians are better parents. I don't doubt that lesbians can be great parents, incidentally. But as samthor mentions, this article makes no mention of adjusting for other variables — were lesbian parents compared to heterosexual parents of the same age and income brackets, living in the same communities?

    Additionally, JacobSloan's yen for social engineering is obvious: “is it time for all children to be mandatorily [sic] handed over to lesbians for rearing?” The answer is “no.” Short of criminal abuse or neglect, the state has no right to take children from their families. If the state did have this right, it'd be in the best interests of children to be removed from single mother homes and placed in two-parent homes with a strong father: the evidence is overwhelming that children raised in single family homes have higher rates of drug abuse, conduct disorder, failure in school, etc:

    Sexual activity. In a study of 700 adolescents, researchers found that “compared to families with two natural parents living in the home, adolescents from single-parent families have been found to engage in greater and earlier sexual activity.”
    Source: Carol W. Metzler, et al. “The Social Context for Risky Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents,” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 17 (1994).

    A myriad of maladies. Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.
    Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Survey on Child Health, Washington, DC, 1993.

    Drinking problems. Teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households
    Source: Terry E. Duncan, Susan C. Duncan and Hyman Hops, “The Effects of Family Cohesiveness and Peer Encouragement on the Development of Adolescent Alcohol Use: A Cohort-Sequential Approach to the Analysis of Longitudinal Data,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 55 (1994).

    Drug Use: “…the absence of the father in the home affects significantly the behavior of adolescents and results in the greater use of alcohol and marijuana.”
    Source: Deane Scott Berman, “Risk Factors Leading to Adolescent Substance Abuse,” Adolescence 30 (1995)

    Sexual abuse. A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend.
    Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert P. Cardarelli, “Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment,” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Child Abuse. Researchers in Michigan determined that “49 percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers.”
    Source: Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay, “A Study of Child Abuse in Lansing, Michigan,” Child Abuse and Neglect, 8 (1984).

    Deadly predictions. A family structure index — a composite index based on the annual rate of children involved in divorce and the percentage of families with children present that are female-headed — is a strong predictor of suicide among young adult and adolescent white males.
    Source: Patricia L. McCall and Kenneth C. Land, “Trends in White Male Adolescent, Young-Adult and Elderly Suicide: Are There Common Underlying Structural Factors?” Social Science Research 23, 1994.

    High risk. Fatherless children are at dramatically greater risk of suicide.
    Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Survey on Child Health, Washington, DC, 1993.

    Suicidal Tendencies. In a study of 146 adolescent friends of 26 adolescent suicide victims, teens living in single-parent families are not only more likely to commit suicide but also more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, when compared to teens living in intact families.
    Source: David A. Brent, et al. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Peers of Adolescent Suicide Victims: Predisposing Factors and Phenomenology.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 34, 1995.

    Confused identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.
    Source: P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984.

    Psychiatric Problems. In 1988, a study of preschool children admitted to New Orleans hospitals as psychiatric patients over a 34-month period found that nearly 80 percent came from fatherless homes.
    Source: Jack Block, et al. “Parental Functioning and the Home Environment in Families of Divorce,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27 (1988)

    Emotional distress. Children living with a never-married mother are more likely to have been treated for emotional problems.
    Source: L. Remez, “Children Who Don't Live with Both Parents Face Behavioral Problems,” Family Planning Perspectives (January/February 1992).

    Uncooperative kids. Children reared by a divorced or never-married mother are less cooperative and score lower on tests of intelligence than children reared in intact families. Statistical analysis of the behavior and intelligence of these children revealed “significant detrimental effects” of living in a female-headed household. Growing up in a female-headed household remained a statistical predictor of behavior problems even after adjusting for differences in family income.
    Source: Greg L. Duncan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Pamela Kato Klebanov, “Economic Deprivation and Early Childhood Development,” Child Development 65 (1994).
    Unstable families, unstable lives. Compared to peers in two-parent homes, black children in single-parent households are more likely to engage in troublesome behavior, and perform poorly in school.
    Source: Tom Luster and Hariette Pipes McAdoo, “Factors Related to the Achievement and Adjustment of Young African-American Children.” Child Development 65 (1994): 1080-1094

    Beyond class lines. Even controlling for variations across groups in parent education, race and other child and family factors, 18- to 22-year-olds from disrupted families were twice as likely to have poor relationships with their mothers and fathers, to show high levels of emotional distress or problem behavior, [and] to have received psychological help.
    Source: Nicholas Zill, Donna Morrison, and Mary Jo Coiro, “Long Term Effects of Parental Divorce on Parent-Child Relationships, Adjustment and Achievement in Young Adulthood.” Journal of Family Psychology 7 (1993).

    Fatherly influence. Children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two parent families.
    Source: One Parent Families and Their Children: The School's Most Significant Minority, conducted by The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One Parent Families, co sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, a division of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, Arlington, VA., 1980

    Divorce disorders. Children whose parents separate are significantly more likely to engage in early sexual activity, abuse drugs, and experience conduct and mood disorders. This effect is especially strong for children whose parents separated when they were five years old or younger.
    Source: David M. Fergusson, John Horwood and Michael T. Lynsky, “Parental Separation, Adolescent Psychopathology, and Problem Behaviors,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 33 (1944).

    Troubled marriages, troubled kids. Compared to peers living with both biological parents, sons and daughters of divorced or separated parents exhibited significantly more conduct problems. Daughters of divorced or separated mothers evidenced significantly higher rates of internalizing problems, such as anxiety or depression.
    Source: Denise B. Kandel, Emily Rosenbaum and Kevin Chen, “Impact of Maternal Drug Use and Life Experiences on Preadolescent Children Born to Teenage Mothers,” Journal of Marriage and the Family56 (1994).

    Hungry for love. “Father hunger” often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home.
    Source: Alfred A. Messer, “Boys Father Hunger: The Missing Father Syndrome,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, January 1989.

    Disturbing news: Children of never-married mothers are more than twice as likely to have been treated for an emotional or behavioral problem.
    Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, Hyattsille, MD, 1988

    Poor and in trouble: A 1988 Department of Health and Human Services study found that at every income level except the very highest (over $50,000 a year), children living with never-married mothers were more likely than their counterparts in two-parent families to have been expelled or suspended from school, to display emotional problems, and to engage in antisocial behavior.
    Source: James Q. Wilson, “In Loco Parentis: Helping Children When Families Fail Them,” The Brookings Review, Fall 1993.

    Fatherless aggression: In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.”
    Source: N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children's Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

    Act now, pay later: “Children from mother-only families have less of an ability to delay gratification and poorer impulse control (that is, control over anger and sexual gratification.) These children also have a weaker sense of conscience or sense of right and wrong.”
    Source: E.M. Hetherington and B. Martin, “Family Interaction” in H.C. Quay and J.S. Werry (eds.), Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979)

    Crazy victims: Eighty percent of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from broken homes.
    Source: J.B. Elshtain, “Family Matters…”, Christian Century, July 1993.

    Duh to dead: “The economic consequences of a [father's] absence are often accompanied by psychological consequences, which include higher-than-average levels of youth suicide, low intellectual and education performance, and higher-than-average rates of mental illness, violence and drug use.”
    Source: William Galston, Elaine Kamarck. Progressive Policy Institute. 1993

    Expelled: Nationally, 15.3 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 10.7 percent of children living with a divorced mother have been expelled or suspended from school, compared to only 4.4 percent of children living with both biological parents.
    Source: Debra Dawson, “Family Structure…”, Journal of Marriage and Family, No. 53. 1991.

    Violent rejection: Kids who exhibited violent behavior at school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers and six times as likely to have parents who were not married. Boys from families with absent fathers are at higher risk for violent behavior than boys from intact families.
    Source: J.L. Sheline (et al.), “Risk Factors…”, American Journal of Public Health, No. 84. 1994.

    That crowd: Children without fathers or with stepfathers were less likely to have friends who think it's important to behave properly in school. They also exhibit more problems with behavior and in achieving goals.
    Source: Nicholas Zill, C. W. Nord, “Running in Place,” Child Trends, Inc. 1994.

    Likeliest to succeed: Kids who live with both biological parents at age 14 are significantly more likely to graduate from high school than those kids who live with a single parent, a parent and step-parent, or neither parent.
    Source: G.D. Sandefur (et al.), “The Effects of Parental Marital Status…”, Social Forces, September 1992.

    Worse to bad: Children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school. Children in single-parent families are nearly twice as likely to drop out of school as children from two-parent families.
    Source: J.B. Stedman (et al.), “Dropping Out,” Congressional Research Service Report No 88-417. 1988.

    College odds: Children from disrupted families are 20 percent more unlikely to attend college than kids from intact, two-parent families.
    Source: J. Wallerstein, Family Law Quarterly, 20. (Summer 1986)

    On their own: Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families.
    Source: N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, Americican Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)

    Double-risk: Fatherless children — kids living in homes without a stepfather or without contact with their biological father — are twice as likely to drop out of school.
    Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Survey on Child Health. (1993)

    Repeat, repeat: Nationally, 29.7 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 21.5 percent of children living with a divorced mother have repeated at least one grade in school, compared to 11.6 percent of children living with both biological parents.
    Source: Debra Dawson, “Family Structure and Children's Well-Being,” Journals of Marriage and Family, No. 53. (1991).

    Underpaid high achievers: Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes.
    Source: “One-Parent Families and Their Children;” Charles F. Kettering Foundation (1990).

    Dadless and dumb: At least one-third of children experiencing a parental separation “demonstrated a significant decline in academic performance” persisting at least three years.
    Source: L.M.C. Bisnairs (et al.), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, no. 60 (1990)

    Son of Solo: According to a recent study of young, non-custodial fathers who are behind on child support payments, less than half of these men were living with their own father at age 14.

    Slip-sliding: Among black children between the ages of 6 to 9 years old, black children in mother-only households scored significantly lower on tests of intellectual ability, than black children living with two parents.
    Source: Luster and McAdoo, Child Development 65. 1994.

    Dadless dropouts: After taking into account race, socio-economic status, sex, age and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.
    Source: Ralph McNeal, Sociology of Education 88. 1995.

    Takes two: Families in which both the child's biological or adoptive parents are present in the household show significantly higher levels of parental involvement in the child's school activities than do mother-only families or step-families.
    Source: Zill and Nord, “Running in Place.” Child Trends. 1994

    Con garden: Forty-three percent of prison inmates grew up in a single-parent household — 39 percent with their mothers, 4 percent with their fathers — and an additional 14 percent lived in households without either biological parent. Another 14 percent had spent at last part of their childhood in a foster home, agency or other juvenile institution.
    Source: US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Survey of State Prison Inmates. 1991

    Criminal moms, criminal kids: The children of single teenage mothers are more at risk for later criminal behavior. In the case of a teenage mother, the absence of a father also increases the risk of harshness from the mother.
    Source: M. Mourash, L. Rucker, Crime and Delinquency 35. 1989.

    Rearing rapists: Seventy-two percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. Sixty percent of America's rapists grew up the same way.
    Source: D. Cornell (et al.), Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 5. 1987. And N. Davidson, “Life Without Father,” Policy Review. 1990.

    Crime and poverty: The proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rate of violent crime and burglary, but the community's poverty level does not.
    Source: D.A. Smith and G.R. Jarjoura, “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 25. 1988.

    Marriage matters: Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.
    Source: Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994.

    No good time: Compared to boys from intact, two-parent families, teenage boys from disrupted families are not only more likely to be incarcerated for delinquent offenses, but also to manifest worse conduct while incarcerated.
    Source: M Eileen Matlock et al., “Family Correlates of Social Skills…” Adolescence 29. 1994.

    Count 'em: Seventy percent of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations.
    Source: Alan Beck et al., Survey of Youth in Custody, 1987, US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1988.

    The Main Thing: The relationship between family structure and crime is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.
    Source: E. Kamarck, William Galston, Putting Children First, Progressive Policy Inst. 1990

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    • Sdfsdfasdfasdf

      Most of these studies seem almost or entirely irrelevant, insofar as gay female parents are usually plural. Most of these studies talk about the lack of a father, or single-parent homes, etc, rather than two parents who happen to be the same biological sex.

      • 5by5

        Precisely analysed, Sdfsdfasdfasdf. The major factor in the cases presented by Caustic were single-parent homes, where one person must juggle a two person job.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      Very informative….Thanks!

  • senkise

    I'm not against gay child adoption at all but claims such x are better parents than y simply don't make a sense

  • 5by5

    I suspect that Steven Pinker would dispute these results as they are built on the premise of the “blank slate child”, where researchers tend to draw causal relationships about such child development issues, even though none really exist.

    However, I will also say that it's more than likely that Lesbian parents are no WORSE than straight parents either.

    An argument could also be made that children of gay male parents are more likely to be successful, because as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his book “Outliers” the most prominent indicator for future success — even above IQ — is the wealth of the parents, and gay Dads, by virtue of having two male incomes and the fact that the society still pays more to men than women for the same job, would have more disposable income.

    I would say as well that the fact that for either gay or lesbian parents, the shear fact that they not only have to think BEFORE they procreate, and indeed jump through many hurdles as second class citizens in the current ridiculous legal structure, would make them more LIKELY to be thoughtful parents who've simply considered the consequences of raising a child and more prepared for it. That one factor would give them an edge in many respects.

  • oman28

    While I have no problem with gay parents as such I do find broad ranging statements such as this disturbing when the statistics are so undefined.
    How about – Rich people make better parents than poor people
    White people make better parents than black people
    Christian people make better parents than non christian people
    American people make better parents than Mexican people etc

    I'm sure that carefully mined and sufficiently skewed statistics could be found to support such generalisations and be greedily swallowed by all whose beliefs are aligned.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/I4GDCZ2Q3FD6PFPR22KYWWQZCY Danke Khot

    So, we have sperm 'donor' who does not give a damn about his offspring and a lesbian female who does not give a damn about the child knowing or having the benefit half of his/her biological family. In essence, the sperm donor is a freeloader psychopath who is willing to abandon his children, providing 0 contribution to their upbringing, and the female choosing to reproduce via 'donor' sperm is a selfish psychopath of a sort, although a lesser psychopath. Given that these negative social traits (read the definition of ‘psychopath’) passed by sperm ‘donors’ and reproducers who deny their children of half of their biological kin are in no small part genetic, how will the next generation look like? The proportion of narcissistic psychopaths in the population will be far greater thanks to use of 'donor' sperm and self selection for reproduction by those who are willing to deprive their kids of half of their biological family. Moreover, it is questionable that on average lesbians could be good parents due to high level of drug use and high prevalence of severe psychological problems in the lesbian 'community'. Moreover, the majority of so called stable lesbian relationships are too short and unstable for the involved parties to provide stability that children require. Moreover, contrary to what many lesbians would proclaim, the hatred of men is common in the lesbian community, and it manifests itself in skewed birth statistics – even though more boys than girls are born naturally, more girls than boys are born by the lesbians, which implies sex selection at birth. Perhaps the next study should look at the prevalence of sexist indoctrination (misandry) of children who are under the control of lesbians.

    • Heroh

      Henry Makow, is that you?

  • justagirl

    gay parents are self-centered snobs and their children are unruly brats.

    • http://www.myspace.com/santosramos Fabian_Ramos

      ha

  • http://www.yamaha660grizzly.com/ Dokemion

    It's all in the person's attitude! So please don't try to be a gender bias and point to whom is better from one to another.

    tagged: grants for single mothers

  • Mollywood

    I'm pretty sure that if you used an equally small and useless sample of children with blonde haired parents, or children with parents who are left handed, you could pull the same kind of numbers out if you were so inclined.

  • AuralHex

    The majority of these comments seem rather heterosexist. If the study showed that straight couples were better parents, would you be as skeptical? samthor, however, has an excellent point. lesbian couples with children tend to be more prepared, and, relatedly, tend to be in the higher income brackets. This alone may account for the difference. Presumably, though, the study compared straight and gay couples of similar socioeconomic status.

  • Fudo love

    What are the children rights? Is it that complicated of how they should be raise? Who are we really trying to please in these debates, children or adults? Does the Father/Mother Heterosexual family unit serve something greater than producing children? Should a child intentionally be denied one of his/her parents just to satisfy a person natalistic or narcissistic urges?

    What are the children rights?
    “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

  • Fudo love

    Children have been raised by groups of women since the dawn of Human Kind. Mothers, Aunts,Grandmothers, Sisters have always come together as a unit to raise the children. The issue here is Gender Roles and does it affect the children in an adverse way. Women raising children is not the same as Lesbian Raising children.

    Gender roles are not a human construct they are a nature construct. Some people are sexually wired differently and that is fine but when a child is involve I feel a parent should take into account the message he or she is sending out and how this may be an issue in the life of the child if the child is heterosexual.

    Now heterosexual lustful sex or loving making can produce kids. It goes without saying how this happens. That does not mean that same sex unions that do not produce children are better. More mature, etc. Of course they can do all the things you mentioned they have one of the best birth control existing besides celibacy.

    Heterosexuals can not turn off procreation at will. The high divorce rates are not a flaw with heterosexuality but with society and Family values. All this talk about same sex adoption does not change the fact that a child needs both Father and Mother.

    Everything a child needs is built right in a heterosexual relationship. That is not true for single parent or same sex unions.

    May we always do things in the best interest of the Children.

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