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Children do well when raised by lesbians

This in From yesterday’s New York Times from Lisa Belkin about children raised in Lesbian Families!  Kids continue to do well.  This is no surprise to this lesbian mom and rabbi who knows lots of kids raised by lesbian moms.  These are wanted kids. These are treasured kids.  Families have had to go through hoops generally to raise them, get them, birth them, adopt them, or hold on to them! Kids know they are wanted and nurtured as a result and can grow secure in themselves.  You can read another account of this longitudinal study here on MSNBC.

This should be the legacy for all children. 

In particular I know that this long-term study echoes the work of other studies done by researchers. It must stick in the craw of the Focus on The Family types.  They want to continue their false claims and lies that be a gay person or lesbian automatically disqualifies from parenting.  But the studies and proof continues to be that children do really well when raised in gay and lesbian headed households!!!!  Take that right wing nuts. 

June 7, 2010, 2:15 pm <!– — Updated: 2:15 pm –>Family Studies


Families are treasure troves of data, but mining them is slow, incremental work. What happens within countless individual households both reflects and creates change in society as a whole, yet studying family dynamics is intrusive (often requiring a researcher’s constant presence in the house) and time-consuming (following families over decades, as children grow).

I wrote about the results of one such study last week, for which researchers watched every waking moment inside the homes of 32 families, recording how time was spent. (They found that women are still doing far more child care and housework than men.)

Other studies that burrow into how time is spent are the subject of a front-page article, “Hooked on Gadgets,” in today’s New York Times — showing minute by minute how technology and multitasking shape our days and our brains. (After reading all 3,700 of Matt Richtel’s words, plus several sidebars with a few Blackberry interruptions, I came away thinking that I probably don’t multitask nearly as well as I think I do.)

And, finally, a report released online today by the journal Pediatrics quantifies the dynamics of lesbian families, with either single mothers or same-sex couples. The study, “US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents,” is the latest from Dr. Nanette Gartrell, a psychiatrist who teaches at the U.C.L.A. School of Law and who has been tracking 186 lesbian mothers through a longitudinal study since 1986. There are now 78 adolescents in that group who have reached the age of 17.

The only way to measure the effects of a nontraditional upbringing is to wait until a large enough cohort gets old enough, so only in the past few years have there been data on whether children raised by same-sex parents were measurably different from those raised by heterosexual parents.

The answer is that these kids continue to do just fine. Better, in fact, although Gartrell is hesitant to trumpet that adjective. Consistent with the other research that is emerging as this population reaches critical mass, these children were found to fare better in measures of academic, social and psychological competence than a comparable group raised in more traditional homes. They were less likely to be rule-breakers or to exhibit aggressive behavior, though those who had felt “stigmatized” by outsiders because of their family structure were somewhat more likely to have behavior problems.

The reason, Gartrell and her co-authors theorize, is that families raised by lesbian mothers are more likely to be deliberately planned. These mothers are more likely to have the resources to raise them and the time to devote to them.

This portrait of lesbian parenting is not entirely new. Research has hinted at this already, and I have written about that before. These results are confirmation and codification, rather than a surprise, says Dr. Joseph F. Hagan, of the University of Vermont, in an editorial accompanying the study. The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on children of lesbian parents already says that  ”in young children, adjustment is largely determined by family functioning: regardless of their parents’ gender or sexual orientation, children fare better when their parents are compatible, share responsibilities, provide financial stability and have healthy interpersonal connections.”

But it is nice to have additional evidence that gay and lesbian parenting will not “put an end to family life as we know it,” he writes.

Next up — more data in the pipeline on children raised by gay men. There are researchers gathering it as you read this, part of the ongoing exploration of private moments that reflect and influence public shifts.