Parents should treat children same-sexually

Study: Children of same sex parents are fine

THEMES OF THE TIME

Often there is more speculation than is known about the well-being of children of gay and lesbian parents. Now a representative study shows that they develop just as well as children of heterosexual couples. That makes politics sit up and take notice.

Children of same-sex parents are often mentally unstable. They have behavioral and developmental problems and have problems with their sexuality. Assumptions and fears like these are widespread in society. A representative study conducted by the Bavarian State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg does away with these prejudices - and lets research results speak for themselves: According to estimates, more than 7,000 children in Germany grow up with same-sex parents, 2,200 of them live in registered civil partnerships. which have been possible since 2001. The researchers questioned the situation of 1,059 gay and lesbian parents with 852 children in more than two years of work.

No need to worry: children of same-sex parents develop in the same way as children of heterosexual couples - if not better. Photo: VISA
The survey was about the educational commitment, the distribution of tasks in everyday life, the external image of the community and experiences of discrimination. The conclusion of the survey: so-called rainbow parents are just as good parents as heterosexual couples. The best interests of the child are preserved in them as in other families. In detail: the children develop positively, their school and professional career is normal, and there is no increased tendency to be emotionally insecure. If there are differences in the development of children in rainbow families to be observed, "then more in a positive way," says the study.

The study is particularly informative because, in addition to parents and educators, the adolescents themselves were interviewed. For the children's study, 95 children and adolescents between the ages of ten and 18 gave information to scientists from the Bavarian State Institute for Early Education in Munich about how they grow up with their same-sex parents. With a clear result: the scientists found that adolescents in same-sex partnerships have a higher self-esteem than children who grow up in other family forms. The so-called rainbow children also describe themselves as open and tolerant.

This is the result of an intensive parent-child relationship, suspects Dr. rer. pole. Marina Rupp, Deputy Head of the State Institute for Family Research: “Parents are very aware of their special situation and also of the demands that they expose their children to. They think a lot about how to prepare and support their children and explain to them that there are different ways of life. That promotes self-esteem and tolerance. "

The study also showed that children from rainbow families have more autonomy in their relationship with their parents and inform the birth parent's partner more often about their activities than their peers in other family forms. Rupp also explains this with the special energy that same-sex parents put into their relationship with the child: “The parents in rainbow families are very concerned about the child's well-being, their background and their own experiences sharpen their awareness. They put a lot of energy into being well informed about their children and try to look very carefully at what is happening to them. ”For example, some parents checked very carefully which care facility they sent their child to.

The evaluation of the child study also shows clear results when it comes to coping with age-specific developmental tasks: When dealing with friendships and intimate relationships, breaking away from parents, assessing oneself, dealing with physical changes, planning training and a career, and future goals Children in same-sex partnerships do not come from their peers who grow up in other ways of life. The same applies to their psychological development: according to the survey, depression, tendency to aggressiveness or somatic complaints do not occur more frequently than in children in other forms of life.

Open handling of experiences of discrimination
It cannot be glossed over, however, that rainbow children are disadvantaged due to the living situation in which they grow up: Almost every second child reports experiences of discrimination, especially from their peers. Experiences range from verbal abuse and the feeling of being left out to threats of being beaten. The children surveyed also reported extortion and property damage, but only very rarely.

But the scientists have something to counter this, too. "Children are teased about all sorts of things, for example because they have glasses or are too fat," says Rupp. Once again, it depends on how children and parents dealt with the experiences. And here, too, an open relationship plays a major role: 69 percent of discriminated children from rainbow families say that they talk to their parents about these experiences. This openness counteracts possible negative influences. However, experiences of discrimination would have an impact on the sustainable development of the child if they were massive, explains Rupp.

Foreign studies support Bamberg's results
In general: Much more important than the risk of being negatively influenced by growing up with two fathers or mothers, according to the study, are factors such as family instability - for example due to changing partnerships between parents or frequent moves. Conflicts between the separated birth parents and frequent quarrels in current partnerships also have a negative impact on the child's well-being. These circumstances have the same effect on all children - regardless of the way they grow up. “The strongest reactions are to the separation of the birth parents. For most children this is a difficult experience that they have to deal with, ”explains Rupp.

In contrast, parents in rainbow families describe the coming-out of a parent as "less stressful". Statements from the children are not available because the study only asked questions that were comparable with the living situation of children from other family types.

The then Federal Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries (SPD), who commissioned the investigation, wanted to enforce full adoption rights for homosexual couples on the basis of the results. So far, the adoption of a lesbian and gay child is only allowed as an individual, the partner can only be granted so-called minor custody. “Where children are loved, they grow up well. The decisive factor is a good relationship between child and parents and not their sexual orientation, ”said Zypries when presenting the study in Berlin. Zypries triggered a fierce political debate with her move: the FDP and the Greens support equality for homosexual couples, while the minister's demand is met with great opposition from the CDU / CSU.

The results of the Bamberg study are no surprise for the lesbian and gay association in Germany, which on the occasion of the federal election asked all parties represented in the Bundestag to take a position on the legal position of homosexual couples. "Scientific studies from the Anglo-American region on the reality of life in rainbow families have long attested lesbian mothers and gay fathers an adequate parenting ability and their children successful emotional, social or psychosexual development," commented spokeswoman Uta Kehr.
Nora Schmitt-Sausen

Background of the study
93 percent of the children and adolescents surveyed lived with women, seven percent with men. 78 percent of them come from previous heterosexual partnerships and have witnessed both the separation of their birth parents and the coming-out of one of the parents. Comparative data from other groups of children were used for the study. Information from children from nuclear families, stepfather families and mother families was compared with those of the rainbow children.
Deutsches Ärzteblatt plus
Study: Children of same sex parents are fine

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