Children worldwide need nurturing and support, and parents in LGBTIQ+ families often face discrimination, particularly in smaller, more conservative communities.
No matter the type of marriage, parenting, community support, and belonging play a vital role in raising all children. The more inclusive and respectful the community, the better parents can navigate the challenges of raising children. Isolated children often suffer from social, emotional, and behavioral issues.
Research shows no significant differences between parents raising children in opposite-sex and gay households. Moreover, same-sex couples do better at teaching their children tolerance and dealing with adversity while also doing better academically. These parents also spend more time with their children than those in opposite-sex partnerships.
How to Raise Kids in a Same-Sex Marriage
Parenting remains one of the most rewarding experiences, and the type of parental union does not differ much in the benefits to the children. However, a lack of community support can often make it a challenging job. Therefore, the role of the community can help the children of same-sex marriages thrive.
Challenging Disrespectful Attitudes in the Community
In a small conservative community, LGBTIQ+ parents experience discrimination that often leads to isolation. These can take the form of threats or violence. However, sometimes the bias is more subtle, like when these children face inappropriate questions or not being allowed to talk about their family experiences at school.
People in these communities can make it easier for the children and their families by respecting and supporting their family experience. These are some helpful tips:
- Ask them which pronouns they prefer you to use when referring to family members.
- Use neutral language when asking about their parents. For example, instead of asking where their mom and dad are, rather ask:‘Where are your parents?’
- Be considerate when asking others about their families, and leave out questions about how they conceived.
- Help same-sex families by challenging those with negative attitudes and assumptions about what they deem ‘normal’ within the community.
- Make children aware of diverse communities.
Taking the Decision
An estimated 50% of pregnancies between members of the opposite sex are accidental. However, when same-sex couples decide to become parents, they consciously choose to adopt, foster, or have a baby through a surrogate, making them more than willing parents. This solid commitment to parenting requires more work since they cannot conceive, so the awareness of the responsibilities and dedication to parenting lead to more conscious parenting.
Same-sex parents don’t differ much in how they raise their children and rely on their extended family, childcare, and housekeepers as much as other parents. One of the advantages is that they don’t follow the social constructs of opposite-sex marriages. By doing this, they can draw on their skills and strengths to play the role of both ‘mother’ and ‘father,’ offering their children the basis of equitable relationships, love, and responsibilities within the familial home.
Maintaining Higher Involvement
Often same-sex parents are overlooked within their children’s educational environment, mainly because of bias. However, they can become an asset to their children’s communities because they are more likely to take an active role. They can also help make more people aware of inclusion and counter-bias, so they should seek more active roles by volunteering and serving on school boards and PTAs. Children of LGBTIQ+ parents benefit from this type of involvement in their education and extra-mural activities.
Ensuring Well-Adjusted Kids
A safe, happy, and secure setting with lots of love plays a significant role in raising well-adjusted children. In addition, the American Psychological Association reports that children’s mental well-being and development do not rely on the sexual orientation of the parents. Furthermore, a recent study showed that girls raised by gay fathers had less stress and anxiety than those raised by heterosexual parents.
Children living with same-sex parents can feel “different” than their peers, but their domestic situation gives them a better understanding of navigating difficult situations. They grow up understanding diversity through positive perceptions, giving them resilience. Raising children to believe in their true selves and embrace diversity leads to more empathy and tolerance. Their compassion and acceptance come from learning the importance of individuality from their parents. However, it can also stem from being bullied or ignored by others.
Raising Confident Children
Being actively involved with children allows them to grow more confident, as a 2006 study showed of lesbian families in both single-lesbian households and lesbian-couple households. According to the survey, there were no differences in the development and social behavior in children born into heterosexual or same-sex families.
Creating a loving family in a same-sex marriage requires jumping more obstacles than those faced by same-sex couples. Still, these parents don’t lack the determination and dedication to making good role models and raising confident children who understand diversity and respect others.
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