Are children of Lesbians better behaved?

June 16 2010 | offbeatbride
©2010 Brigette Sullivan/Outer Focus Photos
©2010 Brigette Sullivan/Outer Focus Photos

Time recently ran an article, Study: Children of Lesbians May Do Better Than Their Peers, which shares research findings about how children of lesbians often thrive:

…They were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.

As someone married to a guy raised by a lesbian mother, I can offer anecdotal reports that he supports these findings. A study group of one is hardly good research, so I love reading research that support my personal experience with lesbian-spawn.

The researchers have some interesting theories on why these behavioral differences might exist — it's worth reading the article.

  1. I think that children thrive in families with more than one caregiver, even if those caregivers are extended family. This way, a single parent isn't too overwhelmed and is supported. By giving the children more adults who care about them, it's like giving them a safety net of people that they can talk to and learn from. They will learn different things from different people.

    Genders are necessary, families are necessary.

      • From what I gather (from reading other articles about the study) they found that the lesbian group had smaller incomes than the control group ("the straight group").

  2. I appreciate the distinction that is made between children born to heterosexual moms who later came out, and children born to lesbian mothers. As the daughter of the former, I think it's an important difference and from my own anecdotal experience, I think kids born to lesbian parents from the start experience a different upbringing.

    1 agrees
    • Same here! My mom came out when my siblings and I were 3 and 8, and after my parents divorced, we lived with my mom and her girlfriend at the time. Mom has been with women ever since, but my dad was still very much apart of our lives and upbringing. So I'm never sure if I "qualify" as having lesbian moms or straight parents in the ways these two situations are usually presented. My siblings and I totally agree with you that we have vastly different experiences than what the typical conversation touches on. I'm so glad you commented, thank you!

  3. I didn't read the article but being too familiar with medical literature, I'm sure it is something they recorded. Either way, lesbian households tend to bring in less money than heterosexual or gay male households since women are paid less and tend to hold lower-paying jobs (social workers, teachers, etc).

    • However, if the couples volunteering for the study are from the United States, in order to afford artificial insemination many would have had to pay a pretty penny for it, which makes me assume that if they aren't affluent, they are more likely to be middle class.

      Also, since it involves parent responses, that can bias the research as well. What I am about to say is completely anecdotal, so shouldn't be taken as saying the paper's conclusions are false in any way, but the few lesbian couples with children through adoption/artificial insemination that I know are fairly relaxed parents. Not in an ignoring way, but more in the, "If my 16 year old daughter got a belly button piercing without my permission I would ground her but not consider it a behavior problem or a huge deal" kind of thing. They knew what it was like to have parents disapprove of them, so they are more understanding of rebellion in their own kids.

      That is a HUGE generalization, but what is a "behavior issue" to one family may be no big deal to another.

      2 agree
      • A surprising number of health insurance companies will cover the cost of some or all aspects of the procedure. A teacher friend mine had her entire IVF procedure covered, from the drugs to the retrieval to the implantation.

        • Wow, I had no idea! I just sort of arrogantly assumed that it wouldn't be covered (my pro-health care Canadian side was coming out lol) I was actually looking into the whole thing out of curiosity last night for my country, because I knew you couldn't pay egg donors here but I knew a couple who went down to the States and paid them almost $20 000. However, I wasn't really thinking about the huge difference between the difficulty of donating eggs versus donating sperm and thus the cost difference.

          Aka. It is a whole lot easier to pay for man-juice 😉

      • You make a good point about lesbian parents potentialy having different perspectives on what constitutes behavior issues. However, it is my understanding that the parent reporting in this study was the use of "Child Behavior Checklists". Not qualifying behavior as good or bad, but reporting what their behaviors are. It is also my understanding that the same checklist was used for the "normative sample of American youth" against which the lesbian offspring were compared. My *guess* would be that the researchers would determine behavioral problems based on established psychological and behavioral standards and norms within the field, against which the reported behavior would be evaluated – not leave it up to the parents to determine if their children had behavioral problems.

  4. SORRY! This was meant to be in response to SaraL!

    You make a good point about lesbian parents potentialy having different perspectives on what constitutes behavior issues. However, it is my understanding that the parent reporting in this study was the use of "Child Behavior Checklists". Not qualifying behavior as good or bad, but reporting what their behaviors are. It is also my understanding that the same checklist was used for the "normative sample of American youth" against which the lesbian offspring were compared. My *guess* would be that the researchers would determine behavioral problems based on established psychological and behavioral standards and norms within the field, against which the reported behavior would be evaluated – not leave it up to the parents to determine if their children had behavioral problems.

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