Children of Gays are A-OKResearch from the University of Virginia, proves what we have known all along, that children do best in loving homes, regardless of their parents’ sexual orientation.
The study, headed by lesbian mom Charlotte Patterson, a professor of psychology at UV, analyzed a large database from a health study collected from adolescents in the late 1990s. The study was published in the journal Child Development in 2004. The database used was called The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and more than 12,000 adolescents and their families participated.
Teen Children of Lesbian ParentsThis is the first study to look at adolescents and how same-sex parents affect their abilities to adjust to certain factors like school GPA, self-esteem, depression and connectedness to their peers. Patterson, who has headed other studies about gay and lesbian families, says, “If there’s a time when people are going to wonder if kids are going to be okay, it’s when they’re in their teenage years.”
In comparison to heterosexual-headed families, teenagers in same-sex headed families fared just as well in all the areas studied. As a matter of fact, the most important determining factor whether a child is well adjusted or not has to do with their relationship with their parents. The children who reported a good relationship with their parents were better adjusted socially, regardless of their mom’s sexual orientation.
Because the study was so large, for the first time researchers had access to a very diverse pool of families from which to draw information. “It is a national sample and as a result it is more diverse. It’s like a random sample of American teenagers who are in school,” says Patterson. “The virtue of data set is, data is data. There’s no way we could have biased it… The message of the study is what’s important to kids is their relationship with their parents… I say this research gives no warrant for discrimination against lesbian parents and their children.”
Key Findings of the Study:
- Children of lesbian parents develop as well as children of opposite-sex parents.
- Teens of lesbian parents have similar dating habits and romantic relationships as children of heterosexual parents.
- Teens raised in lesbian homes showed no more signs of depression, anxiety or low self-esteem than those raised in heterosexual-headed households.
- Adolescents raised with lesbian moms actually felt more connected at school than those raised by opposite-sex parents.
- The most important factor for adolescents in being well-adjusted, regardless of who raised them, was a close relationship with their parents.
In ConclusionThe authors of the study conclude that a parent's sexual orientation should have no bearing on child welfare laws, child custody or visitation.
Source: Child Development - Psychosocial Adjustment, School Outcomes, and Romantic Relationships of Adolescents With Same-Sex Parents Jennifer L. Wainright, Stephen T. Russell, Charlotte J. Patterson Year 2004, Volume 75, Issue 6, Page 1886