One Psychologist's Perspective on Gay Parents

Syndicated

While I have strong opinions, I have never felt qualified to write a blog post about same-sex parents. It was not until I saw this particular video of a very successful college student in Iowa, who just happened to be raised by a lesbian couple, that I finally felt qualified. I felt within my realm.

I am a nationally certified school psychologist. Many times throughout my blog, I have tried to hide that fact because I prefer to keep my professional and personal life separate. Not today. Today, I am proudly going to state my profession, because I have the professional right to be heard.

Here's what I have to say:

I am passionate about gay rights, mostly because I have gay and lesbian friends. Friends who I would at the drop of a hat, hand off my {future} son or daughter to, even last minute. Friends who, I hope, will be able to share their love and compassion with their future children. Friends who {I hope} will get the chance to raise amazingly open-minded and kind children. Trust me, their children will change the world.


Gay Parents
Image: Jean Michel Mart/Maxppp via ZUMA Press.

I see children every day and determine if they have an educationally related disability. A huge part, if not the most vital, is obtaining background information and conducting family interviews.

Has their home life disrupted their ability to thrive?

Is there a family history of an educational disability?

Do they have a strong support system at home?

Frequently, I encounter a case in which the family environment had major influence on the child. This type of environment usually involves drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or many other awful scenarios that has now manifested into a full blown disability that is interrupting this student's access to education. There are so many stories I have heard. None of which I will describe on this blog. However, I can say with 100% certainty, that all of these stories involve irresponsible parenting. None of which involve sexual orientation.

Even if a child was impacted by a situation out of their control, maybe a brother is in prison, or their grandfather passed away, parental involvement and support is crucial to see that student become resilient. You can have bad things happen to you and still come out on top because of a loving and supportive family atmosphere. If all of these people are women, or all are men, it does not matter. What matters is the level of support.

There are many different types of families. There are married families in which the father is always on business, so the mother raises the children. There are families in which the two older brothers raise the younger siblings, simply because the family has a low socioeconomic status and the parents have to work. A student can still succeed in these varied situations as long as they have support. Someone helping them do homework at the end of the day, someone for them to cry to, and a person the teacher can rely on when they need to communicate to someone from home.

A students' family can nurture a child to success. Research states that the more parental involvement there is, the higher the student will achieve to their ability. Their race, sexual orientation, family dynamics, or anything else does not matter when it comes to whether or not that family can help a child succeed. It's their ability to nurture and encourage that child.

When people say that same-sex couples cannot get married or raise a child, they clearly do not know the facts. It is true discrimination. I see different-sex parents who make mistakes with their child every day. I also see wonderful parents. To think that people believe same-sex parents cannot have the same wonderful impact on their children is ludicrous.

Some people will criticize me by explaining that the student will be bullied because of their same-sex parents. Students are bullied every day for a variety of reasons. Often, they are bullied for no reason at all. They are bullied simply because the bully needs a sense of control and the school is not doing anything about it. Plus, as stated above, if there is high parental involvement, student achievement will be higher. This includes academic and social-emotional achievement. Parents and schools need to partner up and become a team.

As a community, we need to lead by example. If we, as adults, believe one thing, it will trickle down to our children. I promise.

Let's start the acceptance.

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