Friday, March 15, 2013

[New Zealand] - Does Gay Parenting Work - Karina Abadia -

As marriage equality marches to the inevitable and wonderful final chapter in New Zealand, there are still those people who question our ability to parent.  Their arguments are wrong, dodgy and usually full of bigotry and sexism.  But they still make them.  Here is a recent piece by Karina Abadia from New Zealand.

[Source: Original Article]

Is it essential for children to have both a mother and father in their lives?

Simone Colwill is not against same-sex couples getting married but says if the bill on gay marriage is passed, the law should not be revised to enable gay people to adopt children.

She made a submission against gay adoption as part of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

Her father died when she was a baby and she has spent the past two years researching the impact that not growing up with a father has on a child's development.

"It's not just your childhood, every milestone is affected by the loss of that parent."

She says single parents do their best but one person cannot fulfil both male and female roles.

"Mothers respond to the needs of the child and show concern for their emotional and physical safety. A father's play takes a more rough-and-tumble approach. That teaches self control, respect for emotions and that violence is not acceptable."

Auckland University professor in clinical psychology Fred Seymour agrees male and female parenting styles are different but he puts this down to socialisation.

"If you have a man bringing up a child on his own, he learns those skills which are more strongly associated with a mother."

The main factors which determine a child's well-being later in life are the quality of parenting and the relationship between at least one parent and the child, Dr Seymour says.

"Every child needs a parent who is crazy about them. That can be one parent, two parents or in fact an extended family."

On that basis a gay couple can provide for a child's needs, he says.

"If a child has been brought up with gay parents who live in harmony and who love their child then that is going to be just fine."

Otago University professor David Fergusson is the director of the Christchurch Health and Development Study, a 35-year study of a birth cohort of 1265 children born in Christchurch in 1977.

In 2007 he published the paper: Exposure to Single Parenthood in Children and Later Mental Health, Educational, Economic, and Criminal Behaviour Outcomes in Archives of General Psychiatry.

Dr Fergusson says it is not single parent families that put children at risk but related issues are risk factors. These include comparatively lower education levels, personal difficulties, family violence and levels of poverty.

"We've had attempts in social policy in the past to discourage single parenthood. It can't and won't work because that isn't the problem.

"Our research suggests that where there are no other difficulties children brought up in single-parent families do no better or worse than children brought up in two-parent families."

But the literature around whether being brought up by a gay couple has a detrimental effect is not conclusive, he says.

Mrs Colwill says not fitting into the traditional family model means many children of single parents find it difficult to understand or verbalise the issues they face.

"There's a stigma you're raised with. You are acutely aware that things are different with you than with those around you."

She is in the process of organising a public march along Queen St to give the children of single parents a voice.

[Source: Original Article]

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