In the developing lives module, I raised a child named Max. Max was brought up just like any child should be, with love and guidance. He was given the same opportunities as most other children. He participated in sports and he did well academically like other children. Max had close healthy relationships with his peers. He even chose a path in life to be in ‘typical’ cis-gendered relationships. He eventually grew up and chose to pursue a degree at a local college. Overall, Max was a healthy, happy, bright young man that will potentially excel in life. However Max was not raised in the most average or typical environment, he was raised with two mothers. The choice to bring a child into the world is never easy but it is especially difficult for two women or two men. You cannot just accidentally have a child, it is a very conscious well thought out choice that takes patience, love, drugs, and a lot of money.Order now
There is a stigma against same-sex couples raising children yet at the same time there is increasing acceptance. Whether it be two women using in vitro, or two men adopting or finding a surrogate to carry their baby, it is more prevalent today than any other time in history for a same sex couple to start a family. This is mainly due to the increasing acceptance of the LGBT community. There are still people who voice their concerns or are against same-sex couples raising children of course, fearing they will influence the child to be gay, or that they will not be good parents because there must be a man and woman to raise a family. These are typically the same people who are against same sex marriage, as it is ‘not natural’ or will damage the institution of marriage. That does lead to an array of questions, however. How does the nontraditional family unit affect a child’s cognitive development, intellectual ability, emotional well-being, and sexual orientation? If a child is raised in a same-sex household will the child be more likely to grow up to be gay? If a child is raised in a blended household with step-parents and half siblings, will the child have poor emotional regulation? If you want to raise a child as a single parent will the absence of a father or mother affect your child negatively? I do feel the sperm donor we chose did affect Max’s physical appearance as he was slightly below average in height and weight for a typical American male. We chose to opt for an anonymous sperm donor, nonetheless, Max did have positive male role-models in his life. Max being raised by two mothers did not appear to affect any aspect of his life negatively or positively for that matter. According to the module, he was never teased by his peers but he was also never the most popular student.
Researchers have set out to find whether there are any differences in children raised by same-sex couples compared to children raised by different-sex couples. There is concern with some of this research due to a majority, around 59%, of same-sex families originating after a person has left a heterosexual relationship after realizing they are gay or a lesbian. (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 517) This could potentially have negative effects on the child due to the stress of divorce and changes in family dynamics, not due to being raised by same-sex parents. Children of same-sex parents have reported feelings of exclusion, isolation, and teasing by peers. However, according to the text, ‘research has consistently shown that children with same-sex parents are not different from children of heterosexual parents in terms of adjustment, personality, relationships with peers, and academic achievement’(Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 518). In fact, one study conducted at the University of Melbourne found children of same sex-parents fare better when it comes to physical health and social well-being than children in the general population (Bever, L., 2014). There are countless factors and influences that can impact the success or failure of a child but the most important component comes down to parenting.
Almost every parent is concerned with if they are being too permissive or too controlling. Parents may also wonder if they are being loving enough while still setting reasonable boundaries. The idea of being too lenient or too strict is in fact a thought that comes from Baumrind’s theories. Diana Baumrind, a prominent clinical and developmental psychologist researched this very topic. She is known for her study on parenting styles where she observed and interviewed over 100 pre-school aged children and their parents (Coste, B., 2010). Baumrind differentiated between three styles of parenting relating to control and support. These styles are referred to as authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Eleanor Maccoby and John Smith widened the permissive parenting style model in the 80’s by expanding Baumrind’s approach into two distinct types: indulgent (permissive) parenting and neglectful (uninvolved) parenting” (4 Parenting Styles – Characteristics And Effects , 2018). This evolved the three parenting styles into the four we are more familiar with today. It is important to note that these parenting styles are all ‘cookie cutter’ archetypes and most parents will fall somewhere on the spectrum, not following one specific parenting style. It is also essential to remember the active role the child has in their development and how their temperament will affect the parent’s choice and outcomes.
According to Baumrind, ‘the authoritative parent attempts to direct the child’s activities in a rational, issue-oriented manner. She encourages verbal give and take, shares with the child the reasoning behind her policy, and solicits his objections when he refuses to conform.’(Baumrind, D., 1966, p. 891) Parents with an authoritative style do have high expectations for their children but they are also responsive and warm. This parent is high in demandingness and high in responsiveness. They set reasonable rules and enforce boundaries by having open communication and being rational. ‘Children with authoritative parents tend to be relatively high social and academic competence, self-reliance, and coping skills and relatively low in drug use and problem behavior.’ (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 526)
Following is the authoritarian parent, not to be confused with the authoritative parent as they are vastly different. ‘The authoritarian parent attempts to shape, control, and evaluate the behavior and attitudes of the child’s in accordance with a set standard of conduct, usually an absolute standard, theologically motivated and formulated by a higher authority.’ (Baumrind, D., 1966, p. 890). This parent is high in demandingness but low in responsiveness. These parents use reasons such as “because I said so” and employ physical punishment to control children’s behavior. They are strict and stern and insist on unquestioning obedience. “Children raised in authoritarian households tend to be relatively low in social and academic competence, unhappy and unfriendly, and low in self-confidence, with boys being more negatively affected than girls. It has been correlated with high levels of depression, aggression, delinquency, and alcohol problems.” (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 526)
‘The permissive parent attempts to behave in a nonpunitive, acceptant, and affirmative manner toward the child’s impulses, desires, and actions. This parent will consult with the child about policy decisions and gives explanations for family rules. This parent may also allow the child to regulate his own activities as much as possible \to avoid the exercise of control. This type of parenting does not encourage the child to obey.’ (Baumrind, D., 1966, p.889). Parents that follow a permissive style typically struggle with setting boundaries, enforcing rules, and saying ‘no’. This parent is low in demandingness but high in responsiveness. ‘Children of permissive parents tend to be impulsive, low in self-regulation, high in externalizing problems, and low in school achievement. They engage in more school misconduct and drugs or alcohol use.. (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 526)
The uninvolved parent ‘is low in both demandingness and responsiveness to children; they are generally disengaged. They are at times completely rejecting or neglectful of their children.’ Children of uninvolved parents tend to have disturbed attachment relationships when they are infants or toddlers and to have problems with peer relationships as older children. They exhibit a wide range of problems from antisocial behavior and low academic competence to internalizing problems, substance abuse, and risky or promiscuous sexual behavior. (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 527)
According the module, I received high scores in the authoritative category when parenting Max. He had a secure and healthy attachment to his mothers. Authoritative parenting has been linked to the most positive outcomes. However, recent research has began to stray away from the idea that parents have a single style or that parents can be placed into one of Baumrind’s four categories easily. Rather, whether parents exhibit an authoritative or authoritarian style at any given moment depends on contextual factors such as whether the child’s misbehavior is dangerous, whether the parent and child are running late for an appointment, or whether the parent and child are in a good mood. (Siegler, R. S., Eisenberg, N., Graham, S., DeLoache, J. S., Saffran, J., & Leaper, C., 2018, p. 527)
Overall, being a good parent is never easy, no matter the sex of your partner. It come with many challenges and countless questions, always wondering if you are making the right decisions for your child. Parenting plays a vital role in your child’s development and sets the standard for how they will navigate through life.