Archives › Child Development

Discredited Researcher Testifies Against Same-Sex Parents

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Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin testified this week in a federal case to determine whether same-sex couples can adopt and/or marry in Michigan. The bad news? He’s a thoroughly discredited researcher whose work was backed by money from religious conservatives. Or maybe that’s the good news.

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Study: Children from Intact Two-Mom Families Have Higher Self-esteem, Fewer Conduct Problems than Those from Intact Mom-Dad ones

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A new study has found that adolescents with lesbian moms had higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of conduct problems compared with peers in families that have a mom and a dad. Importantly, this is the first study to compare adolescent–parent relationships and well-being in families where the parents — both lesbian and straight — were all continuously coupled. This is key to combating some of the apples-to-oranges comparisons that have plagued right-wing analyses of lesbian and gay parenting — and seems perfectly timed to help fight a federal case that starts today.

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Breastfeeding: One Lesbian Mom’s Experience

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Whether you’ve breast fed, bottle fed, or adopted kids after they were weaned, you should go read “Failing at Feeding” over at Brain, Child. In it, writer Paige Schilt offers some excellent thoughts on maternal stereotypes and expectations, being the lone lesbian in a mothers’ support group, and the physical and emotional toll of having difficulties with breastfeeding.

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Grown Children of Lesbian Moms Talk About Their Moms

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Two pieces caught my eye this week that take a nuanced and unflinching look at the challenges and joys of having lesbian moms. Personally, I love reading pieces by grown children of LGBT parents. It’s useful to read things by other LGBT parents, of course — but the perspectives of those who have LGBT parents help me better understand how my son might view certain things in his world as he grows up. (Not that everyone who has LGBT parents will think the same — but they help me realize some of the possibilities.)

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The First Time a Child Asked My Son “Where’s Your Dad?”

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I have a new post up at HuffPo that I hope you’ll pop over and read (and please “Like” it over there if you enjoy it): “In the Sandbox.” It’s a revised version of an old piece from when my son was younger, describing the first time another child asked him, “Where’s your dad?”

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Think Kids Don’t Understand Marriage Equality? Think Again

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Think kids will be “confused” or harmed by learning that same-sex couples can marry? Think again. This delightful video from The Fine Bros “Kids React” series shows children ages 5 to 13 responding to viral videos of marriage proposals of same-sex couples — and clearly, most of them are not only okay with it, but excited for the couples. They give me hope for the future.

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Kids with Two Moms Score Higher in Citizenship, Study Finds

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Dutch pre-teen children raised by two moms scored higher on “core principles of democratic citizenship” than their peers with different-sex parents, according to a new study. But is the takeaway that children with two moms are better citizens? I don’t think so.

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New Study: How Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents Overcome Stigma

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A new study looks at how children of gay and lesbian parents — parents who came out after their kids were born — overcome stigma and create a positive family identity. While most of the messages they heard about their families were negative, the children used a variety of methods to minimize the impact of such messages.

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2 Great Examples of Parents Supporting Gender Nonconforming Children

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Two recent stories show parents supporting their gender nonconforming children in pretty awesome ways. One will infuriate you with the bias the mom and her child had to face; both will inspire you with the strength of the moms.

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A Gay Dad Explains Why He Doesn’t Like the Phrase “Motherless Parenting”

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From the “how could I have missed this” files: While studies show [and they do] that children with same-sex parents are just as well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents, they might lead us to overlook the full experience of adopted children, wrote Frank Ligtvoet in the New York Times a few weeks back. Ligtvoet, a gay dad with two adopted children, reminds us that “motherless parenting is a misnomer.”

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Study: Parents’ Relationship More Important to Kids’ Development than Sexual Orientation

Charlotte Patterson

A second study published within the past week has concluded that how adoptive parents relate to each other is more important to their children’s development than their sexual orientation is.

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More Evidence: Having Same-Sex Parents Is Unrelated to Child Adjustment

Dr. Abbie Goldberg

Yet another study has confirmed what many of us already know: having same-sex parents doesn’t predict how well-adjusted a child will be. This new study is notable, however, for looking at adopted children who were placed in their adoptive homes at a very young age.

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World’s Largest Study of Children with Same-Sex Parents Finds They’re Doing Just Fine

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The world’s largest study of children with same-sex parents, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, has released initial findings that show the children are doing just as well as any others—and better on some indicators. Before you dismiss this with an “I could have told them that,” read on for why this is important, and why we must use it with caution.

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Supporting Our Children’s Gender Expression: Two Good Reads

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Two thoughtful pieces this week reflect on supporting our children’s gender expression, and both are worth a read.

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College Students with LGBTQ Parents Wanted

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I’m posting a call to participate in a study about college students who have LGBTQ parents but are not LGBTQ themselves. I’m not involved in it myself, and don’t know the researcher, but heard of this through reputable channels. Please pass along as you see fit!

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“Do You Miss Not Having a Father?”

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Australian filmmaker Maya Newell gave one of the best responses I’ve ever seen to the mistaken assertion that all kids need a mother and a father.

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New Video (and More) on Gender Identity and Expression in Children

Image credit: ParaDox

There have been several great items this week on children and gender identity and expression, including a terrific new 15-minute video from TransActive Education & Advocacy. Have a look.

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New Gender Spectrum Lounge for Families with Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Children

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There’s a new place online for families with gender non-conforming and transgender children to share their stories and experiences: the Gender Spectrum Lounge. The Gender Spectrum organization has been around for a number of years now, and also runs the yearly Gender Spectrum Family Conference.

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Teens of Lesbian Moms Are Good Students and Happy: Study

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The latest results from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running and largest study of American lesbian families, show that almost all of the teens in the NLLFS are academically successful and say they are happy with their lives. That’s great news—but brings with it one matter for concern.

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Kids of Lesbian and Gay Parents Play in Less Gender-Stereotyped Ways

Dr. Abbie Goldberg

A new study has shown that adopted children of same-sex parents are “significantly less” gender stereotyped in their play habits than adopted children of opposite-sex parents. That news is likely to be seen as a Bad Thing by many on the extreme right—but as the study notes, many scholars, parents, and educators today believe a more flexible attitude towards gender roles is less limiting to children’s development. Such openness may thus have psychological benefits—and that’s a Good Thing.

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Birthday Pride

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My son is turning nine soon, and it frightens me. Nine is perilously close to ten, first of the double digits, rubbing shoulders with that phantasm of every parent’s nightmares, puberty. Nine seems like the last hurrah of young childhood before it gradually starts to give way to the moods, interests, and concerns of an older phase of life.

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Gender Spectrum Conference for Gender Nonconforming Children, Youth, and Their Families

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I’m passing along this information about the Gender Spectrum Family Conference, a yearly gathering for gender nonconforming children, teens, and their families. I’m not involved in the organization myself, but I’ve heard many good things about it.

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Lack of Male Role Models Has No Negative Impact on Teens of Lesbian Moms

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New results from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running and largest study of American lesbian families, have shown that the lack of male role models “did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment of 17-year-old teens raised in lesbian-headed households.” The findings directly address one of the key criticisms leveled at same-sex parents: that the lack of role models of both genders will somehow hurt children’s well-being and development.

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Paper Claims Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents Face Negative Outcomes: Don’t Believe It

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A right-wing author has published a paper that claims children of lesbian and gay parents face many negative outcomes—but several leading LGBT organizations are calling his work “flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound.”

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

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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.”

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