Children are socially organized with homosexual parents
Sexual minorities are more likely to face stressful situations due to their sexual orientation, such as prejudice. To date, there have been several representative studies examining the well-being of children of gay parents. A study by researchers from Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology at Cologne University It shows that children and adolescents are just as compatible with parents of the same sex as parents of the opposite sex.
It has been shown that the emotional stress felt by parents can be passed on to their children in one way or another. Homosexual parents face stress because of their sexual orientation, such as experiences of prejudice, negative reactions from friends and family, and adverse legal contexts. On average, this extra stress can lead to deteriorating physical and mental health of same-sex parents, which can lead to problems with their children’s social cohesion.
However, previous studies have been criticized for their systemic shortcomings, as the surveyed parents belong to a specific (or even community) group, not to the general population. To overcome this problem, new research has used data from the general population registration survey in the Netherlands to compare the potential differences in behavior between children raised by same-sex and non-same-sex parents.
Sixty-two children aged 6-16 were compared with gay parents, compared with 72 children with heterosexual parents with social behavior, hyperactivity, peer problems, emotional compatibility, and general behavioral problems (using “strengths and weaknesses”). The results were reported by one in two parents between the ages of 30 and 65.
There is no significant difference between external or internal behavioral problems
First, researchers compared the behavior of homosexual parents with that of children of heterosexual parents with externalization (movement, emotion, aggression) and internalization (anxiety, depression). “We did not see any significant difference in scores,” they reported. “It suggests that children of same-sex parents do not experience greater difficulty in external or internal behavior than children of parents of the same sex.”
In the second step, further analysis focuses on the following five behavioral scales: mental problems, general behavioral problems, hyperactivity, antisocial behavior, and peer problems. Finally, similar results have been reported by researchers and there is no significant difference between the two categories.
It is possible for gay parents to prepare their children for the negative reactions of different societies.
In conclusion, the authors ask why the spread of stress-related disorders among sexual minorities does not translate to negative consequences in their children. “Part of the answer may be that gay parents prepare their children to deal with heterogeneous society and to react negatively to their family situation so that it does not affect their behavior or well-being,” they explain. It is also possible that the desire for a child is usually strongest for same-sex couples, where there are many barriers to parenthood, so the standard of parenting is different.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, is a country where gay families are widely recognized and where gay parents have strong legal and cultural support. It was the first country to introduce same-sex marriage in 2001, as well as the right of adoption for same-sex couples.
However, the study has some limitations, such as it is based solely on parental statements. Furthermore, comparing homosexual families with hetero-parental families does not allow to include all the stigma parameters specified for children with homosexual parents. For example, several studies have found that children who experience homophobic stigma report more problematic behaviors. Researchers believe that future studies should move away from deficit-based comparisons between gay and non-gay families.
The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.