Dads may be important, but having two moms doesn’t seem to negatively impact a child’s development, according to a new study.
The findings are based upon research done on 154 lesbian mothers and interviews the researchers conducted with them and their 78 children, ages 10 through 17.
Through the followup interviews, the researchers found that lesbian mothers rated their 17-year-old children significantly higher in social, academic, and total competence than typical American children, as compared with Achenbach’s normative sample of American youth.
According to these same interviews with the lesbian mothers, the researchers also found the children had significantly fewer social problems, and less rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts.
The mothers of 78 boys and girls in total responded to questions in interviews and completed questionnaires. The questions concerned the social skills, school performance and behavior of their children. The young people also completed questionnaires.
In comparison with a control group that was made up of peers with heterosexual parents, the children in the lesbian families scored significantly higher in their social, academic and general skills, and significantly lower with regard to aggressive behavior, violating rules and expressing problem behavior.
The findings show that teenagers who grow up in planned lesbian families enjoy a healthy psychological development.
The research is part of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running study of lesbian families in the United States. The families have been observed since the time the children were conceived (all by donor insemination). The average age of the children is seventeen years old.
Previous research has suggested that 270,313 American children were living in homes headed by same-sex couples in 2005. The same research has found that twice as many children are raised by a single gay or lesbian parent.
The research was conducted by Dr Nanette Gartrell from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Dr Henny Bos from the department of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam.
The study was published in Pediatrics, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.