Essay on How Homosexuality affects children’s social skills
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How Homosexuality affects children’s social skills
Diversity has essentially become a common phenomenon in all facets of human society. Today, it is widely evident that there is work place diversity, transcultural families, as well as the fact that some countries and more specifically, some states in the US have ratified gay and lesbian marriages as legal. The legalization of gay and lesbian marriages in some states within the US has been without a doubt highly controversial. As Hawkins (2010) provides, there is much debate on whether gay and lesbian marriage unions which translate to the creation of gay and lesbian families have the ability to form what can be considered as socially functioning families. It is widely accepted that couples seek to enter into a union of marriage with the sole aim of raising a family.
The family as the most basic unit of human society seeks to ensure procreation to give rise to children and by extension raise them towards the continuity of humanity. The contentious debate as described by Hawkins (2010) questions as to whether gay and lesbian couples have the same, less or increased propensity to raise adopted children. This paper presents a literature review that seeks to delve into the research question; Does the perception on growing up with homosexual vs heterosexual parents affects children’s social skills in school. The research question is founded on the hypothesis that children raised by homosexual parents have a higher influence on social skills in school. As such, the paper will look into the contemporary family unit through three dimensions, growing up with two mothers (lesbians), growing up with two fathers (gays) and growing up with heterosexuals parents. More so, the paper will examine as to how the difference in family unit compositions tends to influence the social skills of such children in school which is in essence also a social institution.
However, it is important to point out that this paper does not seek to prove any underlying differences but rather point out that the proven scientific research in this regard is wanting. As such, the paper will seek to justify that there are other aspects such as discrimination and social stigma concerning homosexuals that affects their adopted children’s social skills that affect their ability to access good education and parental affection.
As Alexander (2008) provides, there have been notable increases the number of lesbian as well as gay couples seeking to raise children. Given the biological constraint that same sex couples cannot procreate, adoption is seen as the next best solution. A challenge to this option of raising a family revolves around the issue that adopted children tend to show unique sets of psychological problems (Alexander, 2008). The problems are commonly rooted to aspects associated with disrupted attachment. Such a manifested through a host of unconventional behaviors deemed as disruptive or oppositional.
The contemporary American society is such that there are numerous populations of children in the care of foster homes. The situation is common all over the country and as such, Alexander (2008) points out that well over 100,000 of such children are put up for adoption. Gay and lesbian communities and activist groups have come to be perceived as a solution to such children needing homes. The basis of the family compositions in such homes has, however, not been positively embraced by the general American populace (Alexander, 2008). Gay and lesbian couples are subject to arduous background checks. This is essentially due to the lack of political goodwill with respect to gay and lesbian unions.
There is also the issue of numerous groups, agencies as well as persons of interest who publicly denounce gay and lesbian family units as dysfunctional. It is, however, critical to clarify that Alexander (2008) offers evidence that the accredited American Psychological Association’s 1995 findings suggested otherwise (Alexander, 2008). The APA did not come across any scientific research endeavor highlighting the disadvantages of social skills to children reared by homosexual parents as compared to heterosexual families. As such, the study suggested that the home environments offered by heterosexuals as well as heterosexuals as sufficient towards the desired psychological development of the child. Alexander notes that it is important for all societal members to accept the fact that homosexual homes are presented with the same challenges as heterosexual families and thus, sexual orientation should not be considered as a contentious issue (2008).
If the case of compromised social skills in children reared by homosexual families arises, it should be clearly highlighted that adopted children tend to exhibit attachment disorders (Alexander, 2008). An attachment disorder is described as a condition where a person projects difficulties in sustaining enduring relationships. This problem arises from the fact that as children are growing up, the get attached to their maternal mothers. In the instance of a divorce death or other reason, the children will in most cases project an attachment disorder. On the same note, children in adopted families tend to display a higher likelihood of suffering from psychiatric disorders as considered to those raised in biologically constituted heterosexual families.
In a research study conducted by Hawkins (2010), an attempt was made at examining the differences arising concerning heterosexual families and homosexual families. The study sought to find out the adolescent parent relations, inter-parental relations and the associated behavior problems occurring within these families. The study incorporated a rather large study sample and results indicated that all subjects suggested that interpersonal relations were satisfactory. However, it was found out that heterosexual men found it more daunting to sustain healthy inter personal relations in comparison to gay and lesbian couples (Hawkins, 2010). The outcome was also found not to be in any way closely associate with the adolescent parent relations that determine a child’s social skill sets in school.
Hawkins (2010) research study showed that generally, parents and their adolescent children manifested high quality interactions regardless of the family composition. It was however established that in homosexuals where both partners were male, adolescents exhibited greater propensities to open communication. On the same note, in heterosexual families, adolescents showed more closeness to each other (Hawkins, 2010). Concerning behavior problems in adolescents, gay and heterosexual fathers exhibited fewer behavioral problems from their adolescents though in lesbian families, more problems from the sesame age group were noted. However, lesbian families were noted to describe and report such issues more comprehensively compared to heterosexual mothers. Social stigma and discrimination were cited as the issues which adolescents in lesbian families were more open to share (Hawkins, 2010). On the same note, such adolescents were found to be better at exhibiting honesty compared to those raised by heterosexual mothers and fathers.
The article by Ausbrooks & Russell (2011) also looks into the issue of children social skills with respect to being reared in homosexual families. The difference with this study and others is that it looked into the issue of transracial adoptions. As such, their study suggested that homosexual families are better placed to in parenting children from other races. The parents from these homosexual situations were found to accommodate diversity to a broader degree as compared to heterosexual parents. They possessed the capabilities to show higher levels of sensitivity as well as enable children to counter stigmatization and discrimination in society (Ausbrooks & Russell, 2011). Such an outcome was attributed to the fact that for homosexual families, adoption was the most appropriate option to parenting while for heterosexual couples, this was a secondary option. The study went further as to point out that the gay and lesbian families presented the society with the best option towards having children from other ethnicities adopted by caring parents. This implied that adopted children from whichever ethnic background stood to exhibit better social skills within school environments (Ausbrooks & Russell, 2011). The authors categorically pointed out that their research was in no way an attempt to prove that homosexual parents were superior to heterosexual or otherwise.
Pennington and Knight (2011) carried out a study that examined the beliefs as well as attitudes of heterosexual towards parenting as associated with homosexual couples. The Australian study provided that no current research studies had explored this particular research question. As such, the real objective of the study was to find a common ground as to the assumptions the society makes concerning homosexual families (Pennington & Knight, 2011). Most of the assumptions gathered revolved about hetero-normative agendas and homophobic inclinations. As such, the study participants exhibited a sense of concern as to the wellbeing of children raised in such families. The participants believed that such children were bound to miss out on significant developmental learning.
A good example being the traditional roles assigned to each gender role. The works by Pennington and Knight (2011) provided that some of the previous research indicated that being raised up in homosexual families did not in any way increase the child’s tendency to become a homosexual later in life. Similarly, gender confusion was not seen in previous research as prevalent in homosexual families. It was, however noted that these children could be subjected to stigmatization and more so, discrimination with respect to family backgrounds (Pennington & Knight, 2011). On this note, it was assumed that it is best for a child to be raised in a heterosexual family as opposed to a homosexual, this was considered the case so as to enable these children attract good societal outcomes in social institutions such as the school environment.
In an article published by Hicks (2005), it is suggested that children parented by homosexual couples tend to present definite differences from those reared by heterosexual parents. This was especially the case relative to sexual and gender identity. As such, this author pointed out that the research study enabled for the conclusion that the prevalence of homosexual families seeks to defeat biases championed by traditionalist social perspectives. That sexual discourses tend to determine who attains a leadership role within a family and who is relegated to play second tier. As such, Hick (2005) provides that now differences exist in the two family settings so as to result in differences in social skills in schools.
Farr, Forsell and Patterson (2010) examined parenting and adopted child developmental growth patterns. According to this research study, it was shown that teachers as well as parents similarly viewed that children developed in typical manners regardless of family background. The study measured such factors as child adjustment abilities, parenting stress, parenting approaches as well as couple relationship adjustments. It was established that such measures were not directly associated with issues concerning parental sexual alignment (Farr, Forsell & Patterson, 2010).
Similarly, the study found that issues or family variables like parenting approaches, parenting stress and couple relationship adjustments were seen as significantly influencing the child’s ability to adjust to different social situations regardless of the family’s sexual orientation (Farr, Forsell & Patterson, 2010). The findings of the study however, only served to shun the societal assumption that there is any great importance associated with the child having both a male as well as female parent.
As this literature review has shown, the general misconceptions associated with poor or enhanced social skills exhibited in children from homosexual families is unfounded. In the six peer reviewed journals examined herein, there have been no tangible association with the fact that heterosexual parents are more astute to raising socially acceptable children as compared homosexual parents. It is, however, important to once again point out that some of the literature materials discussed herein provide that some positive attributes were associated with children from homosexual families. These included more open communication for children raised up by gay parents and greater openness as to social problems by children raised by lesbian parents. All in all, the authors of the six articles have pointed out that not significant social skills are attributable to the differences in sexual orientation of parents.
Alexander, C. J. (2008). Developmental Attachment and Gay and Lesbian Adoptions. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.
Ausbrooks, A. R. & Russell, A. (2011). Gay and Lesbian Family Building: A Strengths Perspective of Transracial Adoption. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 7:3, 201-216.
Farr, R. H,. Forssell, S. L. & Patterson, J. C. (2010). Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter? Applied Developmental Science, 14(3), 164–178.
Hawkins, S. A. (2010). Family relationships and adolescent behavior: A look at families headed by heterosexual, lesbian, and gay parents. [A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Claremont Graduate University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology.]
Hicks, S. (2005). Is Gay Parenting Bad for Kids? Responding to the ‘Very Idea of Difference’ in Research on Lesbian and Gay Parents. Sexualities.
Pennington, J. & Knight, T. (2010). Through the lens of hetero-normative assumptions: re-thinking attitudes towards gay parenting. Culture, Health & Sexuality Vol. 13, No. 1. 59–72.
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