Raising adopted children, how parents cooperate matters more than sexual orientation

A new study by psychology researchers suggests that working well together as a couple and supporting each other in parenting is linked to fewer behavior problems among their adopted children – and is more important than their sexual orientation.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Virginia report their findings from this first empirical examination of differences and similarities in co-parenting among gay and straight adoptive couples and associations with child behavior in the July/August issue of Child Development.

The study suggests that lesbian and gay couples may be creating new ways to raise children outside of traditional gender roles, and results are important to adoption professionals and others who work with adoptive families. Further, the research is informative for those debating legal, political and policy questions about family dynamics and outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples.

The researchers discovered that lesbian and gay couples were more likely to equally share childcare tasks, while heterosexual couples were likely to specialize, with mothers doing more work than fathers in these families. In addition, from the videotaped observations of family interactions, it was clear that other aspects of co-parenting, such as how supportive parents were of each other, or how much they competed, were connected with children’s behavioral problems.

This study was supported by the Williams Institute at UCLA and the Lesbian Health Fund.

Article adapted by Proud Parenting from original press release