Despite sparse research and misguided beliefs on parenting styles until recent years, current studies on kids of LGBTQ parents have some interesting — and positive — points to prove.
Not only do LGBTQ parents raise children just as well as their straight counterparts, but some studies even suggest that LGBTQ parents might raise happier kids overall. Whether you’re thinking about family planning or wondering about the psychological effects of your LGBTQ family structures, you’ll be happy to learn how positive the information swings. Here are six proven positive outcomes of queer parenting.
Family Planning and Intention
When it comes to heterosexual couples, unplanned pregnancies are actually at an all-time low. Even with that fact, anywhere from 45-50% of pregnancies are unplanned, which leaves families less time to consider their options and prepare for their family to grow.
However, when it comes to LGBTQ families and same-sex couples, unplanned pregnancies are less common. LGBTQ couples need to plan and explore their options when they’re both ready and excited about having a child — meaning the decision is not only intentional and mutual, but careful and considered. The nature of family planning requires much more intention than it does with cisgender, heterosexual couples, which means LGBTQ parents often have more time to plan, research and prepare to be the best parents possible.
One of the chief misconceptions about LGBTQ families is that a child needs a heterosexual mother and father to grow up healthy and balanced. But this is a myth — research has proven that the concept is false and unfounded. Children raised by two parents of the same gender don’t show discernable statistical differences in development from those raised by two parents of opposite genders. If anything, some studies point to advantages that LGBTQ parents provide — such as higher rates of performance in primary and secondary education.
On average, LGBTQ parents are more likely to get involved in their children’s day-to-day educational and extracurricular lives. While some studies claim that this can be a result of the push for representation in schools, there are a number of reasons why a parent would become more involved in a child’s education — it can even be a result of the advantage of parental planning and intention, mentioned in the first point.
Some studies and meta-analyses actually state that LGBTQ parents tend to raise happier children than heterosexual couples, on average. LGBTQ parenting has been linked to higher self-esteem in kids, more harmonious family units, and higher rates of reported happiness overall.
Of course, this doesn’t mean heterosexual couples can’t raise happy children, but it speaks to the advantages of all different kinds of family structures.
Overall Better Health and Well-Being
While this point ties into the overall happiness mentioned above, kids raised in LGBTQ households tend to exhibit better health and well-being than the average child raised in a heterosexual household. On average, kids from LGBTQ families self-report a higher physical, mental, and social well-being by a margin of at least 6% when compared to the general population.
LGBTQ parents and their families tend to get along better, which results in a better quality of life both for the parents and the children. Again, this can root back to the planning and desire for children, while also resulting in a number of other interpersonal factors within specific family units.
While this one might come as no surprise, it’s still important to discuss when considering the circumstances in which children are raised. Overall, LGBTQ parents tend to be much more accepting and understanding than heterosexual, cisgender households. Queer parents tend to be much more flexible about gender roles, relying on their strengths when it comes to parenting rather than prescribed roles.
This also helps kids grow up with a wide variety of examples and role models to look up to. They know they can talk openly with their parents, and it creates a more safe and tolerant environment.
The Benefits of LGBTQ Family Planning
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s a beautiful thing. While there has historically been skepticism, outrage, concern, and homophobia around the idea of LGBTQ family planning, more and more research surfaces every day to debunk those harmful and hurtful myths.
At the end of the day, the most important thing about any child’s upbringing is the ability to feel loved and supported, and any kind of family can offer that. From single parents to same-sex parents and everything in between, queer families are growing now more than ever — and we should validate and appreciate all of them.