A census conducted in 2000 revealed that anywhere between one and nine million children are being raised in families that are headed by same-sex parents. While that figure has likely jumped considerably with the legalization of same-sex marriage, family life for these children has likely remained the same as it is for those raised by parents of the opposite sex. Many of these families are living in New York, which has supported these types of marriages for some time.
While there may have been concerns in the beginning that children raised by same-sex parents are at a disadvantage due to societal issues, studies are showing that children who are raised in these types of households may have a slight advantage in certain aspects of life. Adolescents who are living in families headed by gay couples tend to report feeling more connected to peers and are more likely to engage in conversations dealing with emotionally sensitive topics. These children also tend to exhibit more compassion and tolerance of others. These adolescents also showed a high level of resilience when needed.
In addition, the challenges that heterosexual parents face are no different than those that same-sex parents must address. Raising a child requires the same level of commitment, acceptance and discipline regardless of the family dynamics. There are some additional pressures that these families may face, including negative reactions from society and even from within the extended family. There are avenues that can provide assistance in the form of therapy in situations in which counseling may ease difficulties and pressures that these families may face.
Along with the normal challenges that same-sex parents may handle in the course of everyday issues, there may be additional stresses whenever these families are made up of blended families or have been formed through adoption or foster care. There are a variety of issues that may apply only to these families and can include same-sex divorce, adoption, second-parent adoption or related matters that pertain specifically to these families. New York residents do have access to experienced professionals who can provide information and assistance whenever they face situations that require involvement of the family law courts.
Source: aamft.org, “Same-sex Parents and Their Children“, Deanna Linville, PhD, and Maya O’Neil, MS, Nov. 27, 2017