Among other things, former Philippines Pres. Benigno Aquino III is known for infamously saying that he has reservations about LGBT coupled adopting because he is not sure it will be good for children to have same-sex parents as they still have “a very tender and impressionable mind.”
Well, to further debunk the way of thinking of the likes of Aquino, a research by University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Psychology Rachel H. Farr provides further support that children adopted by lesbian and gay parents are well-adjusted, not only in early childhood, but across time into middle childhood.
The findings of Farr – who studied different aspects of family life among heterosexual, gay and lesbian parents and their adopted children – were published by the Developmental Psychology journal. Her study focused on a longitudinal follow-up of nearly 100 adoptive families with school-age children as they matured from early to middle childhood. And as per Farr, parents appeared to be capable in their parenting roles and satisfied in their couple relationships over time, with no differences by family type.
This may be the first study that followed children adopted by lesbian, gay and heterosexual parents over time from early to middle childhood. Longitudinal research (such as this) offers insight into what factors may be the best or strongest predictors of children’s development, over and above information that can be gathered at only one time point.
“Regardless of parental sexual orientation, children (in the study) had fewer behavior problems over time when their adoptive parents indicated experiencing less parenting stress. Higher family functioning when children were school-age was predicted by lower parenting stress and fewer child behavior problems when children were preschool-age. Thus, in these adoptive families diverse in parental sexual orientation, as has been found in many other family types, family processes emerged as more important than family structure to longitudinal child outcomes and family functioning,” Farr said.
Farr’s research also noted “no differences among (heterosexual and same-sex parent) family types” in myriad characteristics like behavior problems, stress levels, couple relationships, family functionality, relationship adjustments over time, and other factors.
These results, which support many positive outcomes among adoptive families headed by lesbian, gay or heterosexual parents over time, may help inform legal, policy and – yes – practical realms.