Child Adjustment: Quality of Parenting, Not Family Structure, Is What Matters

Most of us LGBT parents know in our bones that the quality of one’s parenting matters more than one’s family structure in raising well adjusted children. Not everyone is so rational, however—hence the need for experts like Cambridge University psychologist Michael Lamb, who has recently published what LGBT family law expert Nancy Polikoff calls the “definitive article on child adjustment.”

The article summarize decades of work by Lamb and others on child adjustmentLamb, who gave testimony in the Prop 8 trial, among other headline cases, concludes:

Dimensions of family structure—including such factors as divorce, single parenthood, and the parents’ sexual orientation—and biological relatedness between parents and children are of little or no predictive importance once the process variables are taken into account, because the same factors explain child adjustment regardless of family structure.

Polikoff has more about the impact of Lamb’s work, notably how it should put an end to notions such as: children need a mother and a father, children do better when raised by biological parents, and children of same-sex parents will suffer developmental disadvantages.

Good stuff. And while most of us are neither lawyers nor social scientists, I, for one, find it comforting to know we have such good ones on our side.