Researchers at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute this week wrapped another chapter of a 24-year study on American lesbian families. They reported that lesbian parents are not bad parents but very good parents, partly because lesbians as an entire category of caregiver do not abuse their kids. In the country at large, the horrible fact is that 26 percent of adolescents report parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3 percent report sexual abuse. None of the 78 children of lesbian moms in the study reported any physical or sexual abuse. The researchers also found that lesbian moms’ kids are on average more open and well-adjusted and that gay moms don’t turn their kids gay.
According to the report, children raised by lesbians report being gay at the same percentage as does the larger population. They begin having sex significantly later than their peers and they’re more open to same-sex experimentation as adolescents.
The Institute researchers argue that lesbian parents model so-called family values, including homes free of violence:
“To the extent that our findings are replicated by other researchers, these reports from adolescents with lesbian mothers have implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, social service agencies, and child protection experts who seek family models in which violence does not occur.”
The researchers say that what seems to make these homes safer for children is the absence of straight men, who are the main physical and sexual abusers of children the world over.
In the language of the report:
One possible explanation for the discrepancy between the NLLFS adolescents’ reports regarding abuse and the NATSCEV victimization data might be that most of the NLLFS adolescents grew up in households in which no adult males resided. Since the sexual abuse of children that occurs within the home is largely perpetrated by adult heterosexual males, growing up in lesbian-headed households may protect children and adolescents from these types of assault. In addition, corporal punishment is less commonly used by lesbian mothers as a disciplinary measure than by heterosexual fathers. Research has shown an association between corporal punishment and other types of abuse.
Although lesbian moms separate at a higher rate than straight parents, on average, they’re much better divorced parents too. Lesbian moms share child custody at greater rates and their children show none of the usual statistical dip in wellness and thriving after the dissolution of the moms’ relationship. In fact, kids with lesbian moms seem like all around stars.
[O]n the standardized Child Behavior Checklist, the daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence, and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their peers in the normative sample of American youth
Read the Williams Institute summary here (pdf).