advertisement
Updated 07 August 2015

Gay parents, straight kids dilemma

Social pressure for gay parents to raise heterosexual children can make it harder for gay children of gay parents to get the support they need, says an expert.

0

Social pressure for gay parents to raise heterosexual children can cause stress for these families and make it harder for gay children of gay parents to get the support they need, says an expert.

Research shows that children raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents are psychologically healthy and often do better at school and have a lower incidence of social problems than their peers, according to family therapist and social worker Arlene Istar Lev of Albany, NY.

But many gay parents still feel that in order to prove they're good parents, they have to raise heterosexual children, Lev explained in an article published in the journal Family Process.

"Gay parents [just like heterosexual parents] may struggle with having gay or transgender children, in part because they identify with the obstacles their children will face, and in part because of the societal pressure they feel to raise 'normal' children," Lev said.

'It's ok to be gay'

She added that gay parents who see their own identity as an advantage, instead of something to be overcome, have a unique ability to nurture their children's emerging selves.

"If it is okay to be gay then it has to be okay for the children of gay people to be gay also," Lev said.

Most children of gay parents are heterosexual and some are not, just like the children of heterosexual parents, noted Lev, who's been working with gay families for nearly three decades.

Gay parents' differences should be acknowledged and honored, rather than pressuring them to be "just like" straight parents, she advised.

"We need to stop saying that being [gay] has no influence on children's identities; of course it does. Maybe whatever it is that we are doing 'differently' is the reason our children are doing so well," Lev suggested. (September 2010)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Contraceptives and you »

Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents'

7 birth control myths you should stop believing

Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control.

Your digestive health »

Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system

Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder

With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.