New Study Confirms Kids Do Best With a Married Mom and Dad

What appears to be the largest study to date  examining the outcomes of children in same-sex households has demonstrated, once again, that children do best with a married mom and dad.

After examining more than 500 children with same-sex parents chosen from an overall sample of more than 200,000 children, the study–which appeared in last month’s British Journal of Education, Society, and Behavioral Researchconcluded that emotional problems were more than twice as prevalent among children with same-sex parents as opposed to children with opposite-sex parents.

“At minimum,” Dr. Paul Sullins, the study’s author, writes, “it is no longer accurate to claim that no study has found children in same-sex families to be disadvantaged relative to those in opposite-sex families.”

Among other things, the study found children ages 4 – 17 years with same-sex parents were more likely:

  • To see a mental health professional;
  • To report higher rates of ADHD;
  • To suffer from learning disabilities;
  • To suffer from serious emotional problems.

What is particularly striking about this study is that it also found children with same-sex parents reported being bullied at a rate comparable to that of children with opposite-sex parents. In other words, having same-sex parents does not appear to increase a child’s likelihood of being bullied at school or elsewhere.

Concerning bullying and stigmatization, the author writes,

“In sum, while the experience of peer rejection, abuse or stigmatization is strongly associated with child emotional problems, it appears that the rate of abuse and susceptibility to emotional distress due to stigmatization does not differentiate sharply between children in same-sex and opposite-sex families.”

The study’s author concludes,

“Whether or not same-sex families attain the legal right, as opposite-sex couples now have, to solemnize their relationship in civil marriage, the two family forms will continue to have fundamentally different, even contrasting, effects on the biological component of child wellbeing, to the relative detriment of children in same-sex families. Functionally, opposite-sex marriage is a social practice that, as much as possible, ensures to children the joint care of both biological parents, with the attendant benefits that brings; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite.”

To put those words another way: There simply is no replacement for a married mother and father.

You can download the study here.

You can find further commentary on this study and others here.

White House’s Latest Family Program Still Overlooks Marriage, Fathers

Last June we wrote about President Obama’s anti-poverty initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper.” The initiative focuses on “access to early childhood supports; grade school literacy; pathways to college and a career, including issues arising from school disciplinary action; access to mentoring services and support networks; and interactions with the criminal justice system and violent crime.”

While the goals are noble, the program completely fails to acknowledge the role marriage plays in preventing poverty and shaping children into productive adults.

Following criticism that My Brother’s Keeper focuses on young men to the exclusion of women, the White House has announced plans for a new initiative: “Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity.”

In summarizing the necessity of the program, the White House Council on Women and Girls writes,

“Girls of color still lag behind in their performance on standardized tests, and they are more likely to be suspended from school. Women and girls of color still face higher rates of poverty and receive lower wages for their work than their white peers, and they are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. Women of color still have some of the highest rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other serious conditions, and they experience high rates of domestic violence. And when women are the primary or sole breadwinners for nearly half of all households of color, these disparities do not just affect them, but their families and communities as well.”

The initial 54-page report on the program outlines strategies for assisting girls and young women in areas of education, economic security, health, domestic violence, and criminal justice.

Here’s the problem: In all 54 pages, we could not find one mention of the word “marriage,” and we only found 4 instances of the word “father”–despite the fact that, statistically speaking, marriage and fathers have profoundly positive impacts on the lives of children.

The Women and Girls of Color initiative seeks to improve education among young women; decrease discipline problems at school; prevent crime; increase wages among young women; improve health; and decrease violence. Coincidentally, children in stable homes with a married mother and father are less likely to live in povertyhave fewer discipline problems at school; are less likely to commit a crime; enjoy better health; earn higher wages as adults; and are less likely to be the victims of violence.

The White House is repeating the same mistake it made with My Brother’s Keeper: If you want to help children out of poverty, one of the best things you can do is implement policies that maximize the possibility their parents will get married and stay married.

What’s particularly striking about this latest initiative from the White House is that it will deal in part with teen pregnancy, “supporting pregnant and parenting students,” access to fertility treatment, availability of contraception, and programs in which social workers will visit the homes of at-risk families to provide education and assistance. The program acknowledges parents and children; it focuses extensively on young mothers; but marriage never even enters the conversation.

Just like My Brother’s Keeper, the Women and Girls of Color Initiative seems to be another government program bent on solving many problems that parents and healthy marriages seem to solve or prevent naturally. I realize many people may see a program like this as a waste of tax dollars to begin with, but if you really want to reverse trends in poverty, juvenile delinquency, education, and violence, then you simply cannot afford to ignore marriage.

You Can Read the Entire Report from the White House Here.