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A Biologist Speaks about Parenting Research April 3, 2010

Posted by Geekgirl in A Biologist Speaks.
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The February issue of Journal of Marriage and Family is available online for free. Unfortunately, when I try to create a link, I get an error message. Fortunately, I’m able to attach the articles. The lead articles are very positive and show only small, inconsequential differences in parenting. Two moms tend to parent like, wait for it, moms. In fact, two moms are better than heterosexual parents. There is less data for gay men but in general they do just fine thank you. They care for their children in the way that we think of a traditional mom as well as the way we think of traditional dads. Ultimately, the lead article concludes that parents are individuals first.

The notion that children need a mom and a dad is tied to stereotyping men and women’s parenting styles. I find that sad and reflective of a conservative culture that wants to restrict all people. Our notion of the ideal family where mom stays home and dad goes to work, everyone is happy in the Leave It To Beaver world never existed. We simply went into denial about our dysfunctional families. It was so much easier to pretend that we were the families on television.

I encourage you to go to the journals website and check out the February issue. Several articles provide different view points on same sex couples as parents.

While I found all of the articles to be of interest, including the different opinons of researchers, I began to realize that the researchers who believe heterosexual parents are the best are truly grasping at straws. Some have become aware of how other hidden biases have influenced the interpretation of data. Some have not.

So what doesn’t this issue cover? Easy. That each of us, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, is an individual. There is no discussion of how children are harmed in heterosexual unions. Child abuse, neglect, parents that are just too busy, parents who cheat, parents who get divorced, teenage motherhood. We all know that there is a huge range of what children experience in heterosexual marriages.

The microscopic examination seeking out the smallest deficiency in same sex parenting is major overkill and symptomatic of a homophobic society. It is also futile as the data simply is not there.  If we really are concerned about our children, let’s focus on giving all parents the skills, support and resources that they need.

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