December 14, 2010
By: Echo Brooks/TRT online columnist
Recently results of a 17 year study showed that children of lesbians may do better than their peers in social development and adjustment. Another study showed that children in lesbian led families are less likely to be abused by a parental figure. These studies, while very broad, showed what I, a lesbian parent, could have told you long ago.
My partner and I have five children total. They were all conceived prior to our relationship. You might be inclined to think this difference and the influences the children have had with their other biological parents would likely change the outcome we as a family have experienced in comparison to the study families. However, it has not. When I read both articles, I was not surprised. I have always told our children, what you see here at home is not the norm. The lack of testosterone in the house from a parental figure has left more room for tenderness, compassion, attentiveness, and understanding. The typical marital arguments seem to be quieter, less aggressive, less violent and definitely less often.
Voices are hardly ever raised from one spouse to the other. When few loud, harsh words are spoken children don’t become insensitive to the sound and meaning. When I need to raise my voice with them, they get the point. Having children that respond to your verbal warnings and discipline prevent a lot of frustration on the parent’s part. Frustration is a key component in physical abuse.
Perhaps I am just lucky and have a calm and patient partner. Things do not escalate. And I think our stability helped in how the children have coped with being obvious outsiders. All the children went through a stage of hiding the family secret. It made me horribly guilty that they felt the need to bear the weight of my differences on their shoulders. I’m sure our children missed out on opportunities because they would have had to expose their family. I assume its little difference to kids who are hiding their abusive or addicted parents.
Hiding the family has since given way to embracing the stability and love. Our children all see that what makes us different as a family makes us better as a family. They notice other families that struggle with each other and have grown to appreciate that home is not a place of struggle for them. In listening to them you can hear the lessons they have learned, the morals that have been picked up and the value they place on us.
Child rearing is difficult at best for everyone. However same sex parents understand their partner on a level a man and woman could never understand each other and have overcome many more obstacles in order for the relationship to survive. Through that, morals and values are created and inherently passed down to their children. It’s no surprise to me that studies are showing these children steps ahead of their peers.