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Children with Gay/Lesbian Parents
There are many children living with gay and lesbian parents around the world. Some are adopted while others grow up in traditional homes where their parents subsequently realise that they are gay or lesbians. These parents either divorce when their children are grown up or divorce immediately and continue the job of raising their children with their ex-spouse.
Research in Netherlands shows that children raised by gay/lesbian parents are as well-adjusted as children raised in heterosexual famillies. The study shows results nearly identical to similar research in the United States and Canada, according to Rockway Institue, a national center for public policy and research on LGBT issues.
What children need is the love and nurturing of their parents and if their parents are aware of any special needs they may have. Since gay men and women can be as caring (or dysfunctional) as heterosexual parents, it's not surprising that their is not much difference in the mental health of their children.
Many studies have shown that there's no difference in the well being of children raised by gay/lesbian parents and heterosexual parents. Furthermore, sexual abuse is statistically less likely to happen with gay/lesbian parents.
Children of gay/lesbian parents are as likely to be heterosexual as children from traditional parents. At the same time, these children are often more tolerant of different sexual orientations and more sensitive to minority status. Most studies show that gay and lesbian parents make a special effort to expose their children to strong role models, both male and female, both heterosexual and gay.
Results of research to date suggest that children of gay/lesbian parents have positive relationships with peers and that their relationship with adults of both sexes are also satisfactory. Fears about being children of lesbians and gay men being sexually abused by adults, looked down upon by peers, or isolated in single sex lesbian or gay communities have received no support from the results of exsisting research.
Children of gay and lesbian parents face similar challenges as those by the minorities.
1. They may be teased and humiliated at school when classmates learn that their parents are gay. This can be especially cruel when the teacher, other school officials and the parents of classmates make no effort to educate themselves and their families about gay and lesbian parents.
2. Being viewed by peers as not normal and as a threat to mainstream culture can also create emotional conflict.
3. Some communities so villify non traditional families that it will be tough for children to discuss the issue outside the family and they may even be scorned by mainstream society.
4. Some children might be more vulnerable to mental breakdown, will exhibit more adjustment difficulties and behaviour problems and will be less psychologically healthy than other children.
1. Childhood trails can build the strength of character and empathy for others.
2. They may also be more tolerant and accepting of diverse family structures.
3. They'll also be more patient in their general outlook especially if their parents have integrated good moral values.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
1. Heterosexual parents can educate themselves as well as their children on gay and lesbian families.
2. By teaching respect for the values and lifestyles of other cultural groups, schools as well as parents can try to discourage teasing of any children.
3. Gay and lesbian parents face special challenges but their goals should not be to avoid all the stress. Instead they should use those negative experiences to teach their children about empathy and consideration towards others.
4. Heterosexual families should teach their children about different types of families and to value what is really important - not whether other families are different from yours but whether they uphold values your family respects.
5. Parents can talk to their children when young, explaining casually the nature of their family and how it's different from other families.
6. When children are older, parents can discuss how some people are afraid of things which are different and which they do not understand. When they are afraid, they may show by teasing.
7. Parents may also play out some scenarios to help the child decide what to do and how they can explain the nature of their family to other children in such a way that they win them over.
8. If parents are open about their lifestyle, they can also go to their children's school to discuss with the teacher how he/she feels about non traditional families, if he/she has noticed any problems with the other children and if such issues are ever discussed in class.
9. Parents must also convey respect towards the opposite sex as their attitude toward the opposite sex is also important.
10. Parents must also be well informed about local, state and federal rules as they keep evolving.
Some links are listed below for your reference. You can click on them to understand more about gay/lesbian parents and communities.