Kids of Lesbians Are Psychologically Well Adjusted
A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics has reaffirmed what other studies have already suggested; that kids of lesbians are psychologically adjusted, have fewer social problems and less aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors.
The study was almost twenty-five years in the making and followed lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations. Researchers assessed the children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews.
"There are so many places in the United States where same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt or foster children in need," said Dr. Nanette Gartrell of the University of California, San Francisco, who started the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study in 1986.
''Contrary to assertions from people opposed to same-sex parenting, we found that the 17-year-olds scored higher in psychological adjustment in areas of competency and lower in problem behaviors than the normative age-matched sample of kids raised in traditional families with a mom and a dad," Gartrell said.
In addition, kids in lesbian families scored higher in academic, social and total competence, and they had lower rates of rule-breaking and aggressive problem behavior. Gartrell said that maternal involvement could explain the findings, as could the fact that the pregnancies were planned.
More than 270,000 U.S. children were living in households headed by same-sex couples in 2005, according to Gartrell, and nearly twice that number had a single gay or lesbian parent.
Gartrell stated, "There is not a single study that has shown there are any problems in terms of psychological adjustment" of the child, she said. "The things we know that make for good parenting are love, resources and being very involved in your child's life."
It is unclear why kids of same-sex couples would be in better psychological shape than those of heterosexual parents. While the researchers are still analyzing the internet questionnaires, Gartrell said one reason could be that lesbian mothers had planned their parenthood carefully and were prepared to help their children though any discrimination they might face.
More research will continue to see why children lesbian parents have fewer social problems and less aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors and Gartell wants to study same sex males and rearing children.