Is It Really Important for Kids to Be Raised By Their Mother and Father?

Posted on December 22, 2014 in Family, Marriage by

social scienceIs it fair to say that children do best with their mother and a father? Is that statement both specific enough and true to be made without argument? Maybe, but it might need just a little editing to make it the most accurate and true statement possible.

Of course LGBT activists would argue that children do just as good with two moms or two dads as they do with a mother and a father. They might have a solid argument if we leave the statement as is. But, if we edit the statement by adding just one word, it becomes a nearly irrefutable statement. That one word: biological.

The statement now reads: children do best with their biological mother and father.

That statement can hardly be argued by anyone considering the rapidly growing body of evidence that shows the truth in the statement. We know from decades of evidence that children with step-parents and children in single parent homes do not do nearly as well as those in homes with their biological mother and father. And try as they may, advocates of marriage redefinition have a hard time arguing that children in same-sex homes do as well as children in homes with their biological parents.

Disclaimer: there is exceptions to every rule. We are speaking on a large scale, general basis.

A couple of months ago, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins made a similar statement during an interview. He was immediately attacked for making such a non-politically correct statement. And yet the growing body of social science corroborates his statement. In response to his statement FRC’s Peter Sprigg wrote a lengthy article detailing some of the social science evidence supporting the reality that children do best with their biological mother and father. Here is some of the research he cited:

The research group Child Trends has concluded: “An extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

The anti-poverty group Center for Law and Social Policy has concluded: “Research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single-, step- or cohabiting-parent households. Compared to children who are raised by their married parents, children in other family types are more likely to achieve lower levels of education, to become teen parents, and to experience health, behavior, and mental health problems.”

The research group Institute for American Values has concluded: “The intact, biological, married family remains the gold standard for family life in the United States, insofar as children are most likely to thrive—economically, socially, and psychologically—in this family form.”

The American College of Pediatrics has stated: “the family structure which leads to optimal child development is the family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

Sprigg went on to cite some specific studies that show the benefits of children being raised by their biological mother and father. These studies show in traditional homes having lower rates of:

  • premarital childbearing (Kristin A. Moore, “Nonmarital School-Age Motherhood: Family, Individual, and School Characteristics,” Journal of Adolescent Research 13, October 1998: 433-457);
  • illicit drug use (John P. Hoffman and Robert A. Johnson, “A National Portrait of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, August 1998: 633-645);
  • arrest (Chris Coughlin and Samuel Vucinich, “Family Experience in Preadolescence and the Development of Male Delinquency,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, May 1996: 491-501);
  • health, emotional, or behavioral problems (Deborah A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, August 1991: 573-584);
  • poverty (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, America’s Children: Key Indicators of Well-Being 2001, Washington, D.C., p. 14);
  • or school failure or expulsion (Dawson, op.cit.).

So how is it possible that anyone could say that children in same-sex homes do as well, or better, than kids in traditional homes? Simply put, the research is misleading. Sprigg clears some of this up by reporting:

“On the other hand, the research that has been done specifically on children raised by same-sex couples has usually compared them only to children of ‘heterosexual’ parents—including single-parent or divorced households—rather than comparing them directly to children raised by their married, biological mother and father…The Center for Law and Social Policy report, cited above, summarized the implications of this succinctly: Children of gay or lesbian parents do not look different from their counterparts raised in heterosexual divorced families regarding school performance, behavior problems, emotional problems, early pregnancy, or difficulties finding employment. However . . . children of divorce are at higher risk for many of these problems than children of married parents.”

In other words, in order to obtain the “conclusion” they wanted, researchers compared the best-case homosexual homes to the worst-case heterosexual homes and concluded that there’s not really any difference. Well…duh. But when kids in traditional homes with their biological mother and father are compared to kids in same-sex homes, the difference becomes so obvious that many LGBT advocates don’t want to talk about it.

Furthermore, Many of the studies currently cited in support of the “there’s no difference” idea have ben debunked as inherently flawed and as having “no basis.” Spirigg reports:

“In addition, arguments touting the large number of published studies supporting the ‘no differences’ claim are misleading, because many of those studies are based on a single data set, from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS). The NLLFS website lists 21 publications which have been directly based on this study, and five more related to it. A 149-page book published in 2001 did a detailed analysis of the homosexual parenting research up to that point. The result was: ‘We conclude that the methods used in these studies are so flawed that these studies prove nothing. Therefore, they should not be used in legal cases to make any argument about ‘homosexual vs. heterosexual’ parenting. Their claims have no basis.’”

The bottom line is that there’s a growing body of study that proves that children do best when they are raised with their biological mother and father. Single parent homes, step-homes, and homosexual homes are not the best environment for kids. I’ve not discussed the reality that many single parent and step homes are better than the previous environment kids were living in as we understand there are exceptions to every rule. However, that does not change the fact that what is absolutely best for children is to be raised in a home with their biological mother and father in a low stress home. As the body of evidence for this conclusion grows it will become increasingly harder for marriage redefinition advocates to argue against. Sprigg concludes:

“So, the research supposedly showing “no differences” between children raised by same-sex couples and those raised by heterosexuals (remember, they are not usually compared with children raised by their own mother and father) is simply unreliable. The research showing that children do best when raised by their own, married, biological mother and father, when compared with numerous other family structures, is robust and clear-cut.”

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