A second study in as many weeks has found that adopted children are not impacted by the sexual orientation of their parents. Instead, what matters is how well parents support each other and how satisfied they are with the division of childcare labor.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Virginia, compared gay couples, lesbian couples, and heterosexual couples who had all adopted a child within the first few weeks of life after they’d been parenting for three years. It did observe differences in terms of how the couples divided labor: heterosexual couples assumed more traditional divisions of labor, with mothers doing more parenting work than fathers, while same-sex couples were more likely to equally share childcare tasks. This distinction, however, did not have any impact on children’s behavioral problems.
According to researcher Rachel Farr, it’s harmony that matters:
FARR: While actual divisions of childcare tasks such as feeding, dressing and taking time to play with kids were unrelated to children’s adjustment, it was the parents who were most satisfied with their arrangements with each other who had children with fewer behavior problems, such as acting out or showing aggressive behavior. It appears that while children are not affected by how parents divide childcare tasks, it definitely does matter how harmonious the parents’ relationships are with each other.
When there was greater pleasure and engagement between parents, children behaved better for all three family structures.
A study released last week similarly found that when parents were better prepared for their adoption and had less symptoms of depression, their children fared better. These two studies join the many others that have found that sexual orientation does not have an impact on outcomes for children. Instead, it seems, good parenting is just good parenting.