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Running Head: HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING AND CHILD BEHAVIOR

The Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Child Behavior and Social Development


Jessica Blosser
Jordan Spitler
Bridgewater College
FCS 400 - Child Development

HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Abstract
The main focus of this project of gay and lesbian parenting is to show the social
development of children with gay or lesbian parents to reflect and inform how these
factors can influence the child while growing up in a non-traditional family. In this
research project we are looking at not only the child, but the parents as well. We have
examines five categories that we felt fit the best to help explain our research. These
categories include: socialization (interactions), self-esteem, school, relationships, and
parenthood. We conducted a mixed method study that is mainly quantitative and also
qualitative. In our method part of the project, we gave out the survey to all different age
ranges to reflect on the views of gay parenting over time generationally. Our study is
considered a case study because we are only giving the survey to one person with lesbian
parents. The survey consists of question in which people strongly disagree to strongly
agree scale to let the questions not be pressure of the participants taking the survey. From
the data that we collected, we found that people are either one way or the other agreeing
on homosexual parenting. We found that younger people are becoming more considerate
of it since they are growing up with it. Also, we found that no matter what age young or
old, many people agreed that children with homosexual parents could have high
achievement in school and self-esteem. Our research paper will show that generationally
the viewpoints on homosexual parenting.

HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Introduction
Gay parenting has become increasingly more popular over the last decade. Studies
show that 1 out of 9 million children have same-sex parents. There are about 594,000
same sex households in the United States and 27% of those have children (Linville,
2013). The rise in same-sex parenting has increased due to the growing number of
options to allow same-sex partners to start families. The child is usually biologically
related to at least one parent, but there are other ways they can start a family. There is no
research to suggest that having same-sex parents has any negative effects on children. In
fact, research has shown that children in these families are more open to talk about social
issues and feel more connected (Linville, 2013). The main focus of this paper is the
interest of the connection of gay parents and children, and the social issues in children.
This is the idea of how heterosexual parents of gay and lesbian individuals fits in the
realm of social interactions and how they get along in society. The particular topic is an
interest in the research world currently because the research is relatively new so they are
constantly finding out new information. This proposes the idea that parents of gay and
lesbian have difficulties in the social interactions and how they can fit in with society and
how others view these people. Social interactions focus on the communication between
children, relatives, friends, acquaintances, and strangers (Glennon, 2012). The
information to do this study to inform people that the aspects could be relevant to them at
some point in time and to show others the social interaction experiences that gay and
lesbian individuals go through. Many people have different views on the gay and lesbian
parenting in the present day. The social interactions include the identity of the child,
parenthood, and the childrens perspectives that look at all aspects that influence the

HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT

child. We will conduct our study by doing a case study that is qualitative and quantitative
and taking the information and looking at them in groups of age. This will help us look at
the generational viewpoints of gay or lesbian parenting and the current perception of this
topic. This will display the main point of our project that is to prove that gay or lesbian
parenting has the same effect as heterosexual parenting styles do in society. The goal is to
show the social development of children with gay or lesbian parents to reflect and inform
how these factors can influence the child while growing up in a non-traditional family.
Literature Review
Socialization (Interactions)
Socialization is the defined as the mixture of socially interacting with other people
such as children, relatives, acquaintances, and strangers (Glennon, 2012). Many people
are under the assumption that parental sexual orientation can have an effect on the social
life of their children. Some research has suggested that the underpinnings that
demonstrate the understanding of parents of gay and lesbians include three dimensions,
ambiguity, hostility, and privacy; which is affected by the individuals social interactions
(Glennon, 2012). The stigma holders vulnerability to stressors from their efforts to
manage confusing complexities (ambiguity), their hurt from experiencing others hostility
towards those carrying the stigma (hostility), and stressors and feelings of lower selfesteem and careful management of communications (privacy concerns) (Glennon,
2012). Research characteristics display being anxious about interactions in making bad
impressions or intergroup interactions suggests that anxiety might lead to behavior aimed
to protect self-image (Glennon, 2012). On the other hand, young men and women who
were raised by lesbian mothers were no more likely than those who were raised by

HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT

heterosexual mothers to experience depression or anxiety (Wainright, 2004). The


research can sway from one position to the other but it all depends on the persons point
of view on homosexual parenting. Society has a fixed image on how homosexual
parenting effects the social life of child, because they feel that the child will not
understand their own identity or could possibly view other childrens lives different.
Young children do not recognize the difference in a traditional family vs. a nontraditional family if that is what they have grown up with, they just think they have a
different family structure and that how it is supposed to be. In general, society puts a lot
of pressure on homosexual parenting and socialization can have an effect on the
interactions that occur with other families and children.
Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself and the way it is portrayed to the
world. Self- esteem is a major factor in the realm of homosexual parenting on children
and can have effects that last a long period of time. Huggins reported no differences in
adolescent self-esteem as a function of mothers sexual orientation (Wainright, 2004).
No matter the sexual orientation of the parent they can still provide a positive example of
having high self-esteem. For example, daughters of lesbian mothers also had higher
self-esteem if their mother had a romantic partner who lived in the home, if their fathers
did not display negative attitudes about the mothers sexual orientation (Wainright, 2004).
It is interesting that most research has stated that the effects of homosexual parents do not
really affect self-esteem in a harmful way. Qualitative findings suggested that
participants expressed strong love, loyalty, and protectiveness toward their mothers, and a
desire for others to understand the benefits of having a lesbian mother, such as an

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increased sensitivity to prejudice (Wainright, 2004). These aspects of love, loyalty, and
protectiveness are all very important for adolescents to have in their lives whether or not
it is in a homosexual family or a traditional family. It is shown that even though the
children grew up with homosexual parents, they still achieved the high self-esteem
emotional support that will expand throughout their lives. There are some downfalls of
society that have negative self-esteem patterns such as, informants describing worries
about losing friends or being judged by others and their need to keep their mothers
sexual orientation a secret from at least some people external to the family (Wainright,
2004). It seems to be a challenge for the children with homosexual parents to maintain a
positive self-esteem role when others on the outside are judging the family dynamics.
The main research shows that self-esteem is showed as a positive in heterosexual families
and same-sex parenting families.
School
Since not every child is the same, they are going to have different
personalities that will make them smart and want to learn or not want to learn. Does the
family life have any effect on this issue? According to Potter (2012), children living with
same-sex parents had no negative effect on their academic outcomes. These children did
just as well as their peers that came from a traditional family of a mother and father, and
did better than children who came from a single parent, or divorced home. Research
shows that youth living with lesbian mothers tended to feel more connected to school
(Potter, 2012). There was no difference with these children and children with same-sex
parents in grade-point average or discipline problems. Research came from a longitudinal
study of kindergartners that were observed until 8th grade. The group was of 20,000

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children that came from a variety of home life backgrounds. Academic achievement was
noted though assessment scores in math. The test was given to each participant
specifically for the longitudinal study. Findings indicate that students from the same-sex
families on average scored lower than their peers (Potter, 2012). However, the result does
not come from the family structure itself, but the transitions associated with these
families. Similar conclusions were found in children with divorced and single family
homes. Research says that these children were affected by the transitions they went
through. There were various transitions that some children went through such as a step
parent, widowed parent, single parent, cohabiting parent, and other various forms. The
research shows that the children who went through the most transitions, had a lower score
on the assessment test (Potter, 2012). From this article we can see that the family
structure does not have an influence on academic achievement, but the transitions that a
child could go through in life can effect.
Relationships
Children who grow up in same-sex homes can have a hard time forming
relationships or interacting with their peers. The main problem that these children are
finding is that people have negative attitudes toward gay people and are taking it out on
the child. Out of fifty-nine young people, only four could say that they have never
encountered a negative attitude toward them for having gay parents (Fairtlough, 2008).
Prejudice for these children came in forms of hate mail, jokes, fear of their parents losing
their jobs, or awkward feelings when having to explain to others that their parents are
gay. Children who accept their parents sexuality find it easier to talk to them. They have
better relationships with their parents and learn to respect people for who they are

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(Fairtlough, 2008). If one parent became divorced because of the other spouse becoming
homosexual the child either thought negatively of the news or felt like they were gaining
another care taker. Either way, the child learned to deal with the other parent being gay. A
child that has homosexual parents tends to be more open minded about life and is not
quick to judge (Fairtlough, 2008).
Parenthood
Raising a child in a single-sex home has become increasingly more
common in society. Many couples are trying to raise their child like different sex parents
would. According to Goldberg (2012) homosexual parents are splitting up the
responsibilities and dividing the labor (Goldberg, 2012). Most homosexual couples are
choosing to have one partner be the biological parent, some are still choosing adoption.
No matter the process of getting a child, homosexual parents will still divide up the
same responsibilities as heterosexual parents. Homosexual parents will split up
housework more equally than heterosexual parents (Goldberg, 2012). The biological
mother in a lesbian couple will spend more time with the child than the non-biological
mother. Factors that could effect this are breastfeeding and the pregnancy itself. They will
also get maternity leave longer than the other mother. Parenthood is slightly more
different with couples that adopt. Neither partner has the same attachment as a biological
parent because they did not breastfeed or go through labor. Most of the time the parents
are extremely involved in the childs life because they have taken this step and sometimes
have waited many years to become a parent. Both partners divide up the labor equally as
far as child care, but there was no research to say the same for housework. Gay men will
tend to specialize in certain tasks with or without a child (Goldberg, 2012). Other

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findings show that homosexual mothers like to have a father figure in their childs life.
They were afraid of how their child would be received without a male involvement. They
also saw the value in male role models and were more concerned with this issue. In
Goldbergs 2007 article one mother wrote that she wanted to be fair to her child and not
make them feel like they were missing out on something by not having a father figure.
They could remember how important their own father was to them and wanted their
children to feel the same way (Goldberg, 2007).
Procedures and Methods
Our study is mainly a case study that deals with a small number of people. We
chose a case study to specifically display the results of homosexual parenting. There are
not many people in this area to give them a survey, but to include more information we
will give the survey to random people and compare the answers of our questions. We
will specifically interview people with gay or lesbian parents to get correct feedback for
the purpose of our project, and include random people as well. This research is qualitative
and quantitative and we are displaying our information by looking at age groups 30 and
below, 30-50, and 30 and above that are male and female starting at the age of 14. Our
goal sample size is between 20-30 people. We also just gave out our survey to people in
these age groups for a more appropriate sample size to show our information sufficiently.
Our survey will be particular questions in which people can select a range of strongly
agree to strongly disagree. We constructed this survey in this format to let the participants
feel relaxed and no pressure to answer the questions, rather than having them answer
short answer questions about personal topics. Since this issue has become more
controversial, we decided that opinion questions would be more appropriate than yes or

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no questions. We chose to ask the questions in a statement form to get a sense of how the
person actually feels about the subject. We can gain more insight to their opinion by
knowing if they strongly disagree, disagree, are neutral, agree, or strongly agree. The
statements show a variety of information that we would like to gather. We want
information on how the subjects feel about the adults, children, and academic
achievement, social and behavioral issues. We plan to take our information to further
understand it by reviewing and displaying it in way the will be most sufficient and to go
along with homosexual parenting. We will display graphs that will be divided by the age
groups and measuring the questions in our survey that match our main topics of gay or
lesbian parenting. For example, there is a question about self-esteem, academic
achievement, relationships, depression, and comparing to heterosexual parenting. We
will display this information in five different bar graphs according to the questions. In
addition, there is a bar graph that will show the main themes throughout the perspective
on homosexual parenting that will tell what the main theme is in current society.
Results
Displayed in this section are the graphs that will show our data and explain what
we found on homosexual parenting. We conducted the data in six different graphs with
the sample size of 25 people participating. This graph displays the results of the
question, children of gay or lesbian parents do as well academically as children who have
heterosexual parents.

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Question 1
7
6
5

Age 30 and Below

Age 30-50
Age 50 and above

3
2
1
0
1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

This graph about academics in gay or lesbian parenting shows that the majority of
people in all three age groups agree with this statement. There are a few people that
disagree in all ages as well. The data is displaying that no matter what the age group, the
majority of people think that children of gay or lesbian parenting do as well academically
in school. We expected that the outcome would be this way, but we were not certain that
this many people would agree.

This graph displays the opinion of children that have homosexual parents can
form as close relationships with their peers as those of heterosexual parents.

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Question #4
7
6
5
Age 30 and Below
4

Age 30-50
Age 50 and Above

3
2
1
0
1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

This bar graph is interesting because the highest bar is the age 50 and above, the
older generation, that is surprising since they have not had a homosexual parenting
around when they were growing up so we assume that they are thinking in the parenting
sense. Also, the middle age group 30-50 is high in that they agree with forming close
relationships, which also may come from the parenting sense as well. This graph was
intriguing that the majority of the people agreeing with this question in middle to upper
people.

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This bar graph displays that children of homosexual families are more likely to
grow up to be homosexual than those of heterosexual families.

Question #5
4.5
4
3.5
3

Age 30 and Below


Age 30-50

2.5

Age 50 and Above

2
1.5
1
0.5
0
1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

This bar graph raises an interesting multivariate answer to the question and a
turning point on our data. The question raises the perception of opinion if children of
homosexual families are more likely to grow up homosexual, and the majority of all three
age groups disagree with the statement. This information displays that the people that
participated in the survey think that children will not be gay or lesbian if they grow up in
that environment. This is an agreement generationally over time, which puts in
perspective what people believe that children will not always turn out like their parents.
This is interesting that the data shows homosexual parents will not always influence or
turn out different than the opposite parenting styles.

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This bar graph shows the opinion of young men and women aged 12-18 who are
raised by lesbian mothers are no more likely than those who are raised by heterosexual
mothers to experience depression or anxiety.

Question #7
7
6
5

30 and below
30-50

30 and above

3
2
1
0
1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

This data shows that most people agree that the children of homosexual parents
will not experience depression or anxiety. Generationally, all of the age groups from 1468 show that mainly they agree that children will not experience anxiety or depression on
the graph. This helps show that people think that homosexual parenting will not have a
negative influence on the child. On the other hand, there were some people that
disagreed with this statement so that shows that people feel opposite. This data shows
that the 30 an below age group disagreed, which is interesting since it is more common
for homosexual parenting to occur during this generation, but also it can show that they
may know people and watch them struggle with homosexual parents.

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This bar graph shows that children who grow up with homosexual parents can achieve
high self-esteem and emotional support that will expand throughout their lives, just like a
child who grew up with heterosexual parents.

Question #10
7
6
5

30 and below
30-50

30 and above

3
2
1
0
1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

This bar graph shows the data that the majority of people of all ages agree or strongly
agree that they can achieve high self-esteem. It is interesting to see that no matter what

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the environment may entail, people still feel that homosexual parents can give their child
motivation to have high self-esteem just as heterosexual parents. There were not many
people that disagreed with the question. This depicts that the vast majority of people that
participate in our study thought that children of gay or lesbian parents can prosper and
still think highly of themselves just as children of heterosexual parenting.

This is a bar graph that represents the main themes of perceptions of homosexual
parenting. Dark blue represents that heterosexual parenting is the norm, red represents
that homosexual parenting is becoming more common, green represents that homosexual
parenting is uncommon, purple represents neutral, and light blue represents that these
answers were left blank.

1
2
3
4
5

After look through all of the themes in the surveys, the main ideas were
heterosexual parenting is the norm, homosexual parenting is becoming more common,
homosexual parenting is uncommon, and people that were neutral of left it blank. It is

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not a surprise that the majority of participants in our survey states that heterosexual
parenting is the norm and homosexual parenting is becoming more common. It is
interesting in the amount of people that left the written question blank, it could be that
they didnt want to write anything or didnt feel comfortable expressing their opinion.
Overall, this graph is to show the main themes that we gathered throughout our survey
answers on their perception on homosexual parenting.

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Appendix
Title of Study: Perception of Homosexual Parenting
Principal Investigators:
Jessica Blosser
Jordan Spitler
Bridgewater College
Background:
You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you take our survey it is
important you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please
take the time to read the following information carefully and as the researcher if there is
anything you have questions about.
The purpose of this study is: To get various aged peoples opinion on the subject of
children with gay parents. We want to know your opinion about certain parts of our
research such as behavior issues, academic issues, and general concerns.
Study Procedure:
Your expected time commitment for this study is: 10-15 minutes
Please read each statement and circle which opinion best fits your views. Please write a
full detailed answer for the two short answer questions on the back. Please write your age
when you are finished.
Risks:
The risks of this study are minimal. These risks are similar to those you experience when
disclosing work-related information to others. The topics in this survey may upset some
respondents. You may decline answers to any of the statements or questions and stop
taking the survey at any time. If you find it offensive please stop taking the survey
immediately.

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Benefits:
There will be no direct benefit to you for your participation in this study. However, we
hope that the information obtained from this study will help us to determine if the
research is what the public also thinks.
Confidentiality:
Please do not write your name on the survey, but please fill out your age. Participant data
will be kept confidential except in cases where the researcher is legally obligated to
report specific incidents. These incidents include, but may not be limited to, incidents of
abuse and suicide risk.

Survey
Perception of Homosexual Parenting
Please indicate your opinion on the following statements below.
1. Children of gay or lesbian parents do as well academically as children who have
heterosexual parents.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

2. The biological mother in a lesbian couple family has a stronger mother attachment to
the child than the mother that is not biologically related.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

3. Children raised in a homosexual family should have some influence from a person of
the opposite sex of the parents.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

4. Children that have homosexual parents can form as close relationships with their peers
as those of heterosexual parents.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

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5. Children of homosexual families are more likely to grow up to be homosexual than
those of heterosexual families.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

6. A common societal belief is that people are under the assumption that parental sexual
orientation can have an effect on the social life of their children.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

7. Young men and women aged 12-18 who are raised by lesbian mothers are no more
likely than those who are raised by heterosexual mothers to experience depression or
anxiety.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

8. No matter if the parents are homosexual or heterosexual, they can still provide a
positive example of having high self-esteem.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

9. A child that has homosexual parents can still feel a strong love, loyalty, and
protectiveness toward their mothers.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

10. Children who grow up with homosexual parents can achieve high self-esteem and
emotional support that will expand throughout their lives, just like a child who grew up
with heterosexual parents.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

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11. It seems to be a challenge for children with homosexual parents to maintain positive
self-esteem when others on the outside are judging the family dynamics.
Strongly disagree
Agree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly

12. To what extent do you think heterosexual parents are the common norm in our
society compared to homosexual parenting?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
13. Do you know any homosexual parents? If so, in what ways has it changed our
perception of homosexual parents?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Thanks you for taking the time to complete our survey!

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References
Fairtlough, A. (2008), Growing up with a lesbian or gay parent: young people's
perspectives. Health & Social Care in the Community, 16: 521528 doi:
10.1111/j.1545-5300.2010.01323.x
Glennon, B. (2012). Heterosexual Parents of Gay and Lesbian Individuals: Social
Interaction Issues. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 4: 332353. doi:
10.1111/j.1756-2589.2012.00138.x
Goldberg, A. E. and Allen, K. R. (2007), Imagining Men: Lesbian Mothers Perceptions
of Male Involvement During the Transition to Parenthood. Journal of Marriage
and Family, 69: 352365. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00370.x

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Goldberg, A. E., Smith, J. Z. and Perry-Jenkins, M. (2012), The Division of Labor in
Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual New Adoptive Parents. Journal of Marriage and
Family, 74: 812828. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00992.x
Linville, D., ONeil, M. (2013). Same sex parents and their children. Retrieved from
http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/consumer_updates/Samesex_Parents_and_Their_Children.aspx
Potter, D. (2012), Same-Sex Parent Families and Children's Academic Achievement.
Journal of Marriage and Family, 74: 556571. doi: 10.1111/j.17413737.2012.00966.x