The kids are alright: government study finds kids in rainbow families are doing great!
A study from researchers at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has found children from same-sex parented families progress emotionally and educationally at the same rate as other children and the biggest challenge they face is social stigma surrounding their parents' relationship.
The study conducted by Lixia Qu, Ken Knight and Darryl Higgins drew from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) information and research papers conducted into children’s health and wellbeing,
The trio's study also concluded that same-sex parented families were a growing demographic in Australia and that acceptance of rainbow families was steadily increasing – particularly amongst young people and women.
The study also reports a rise in same-sex couples across Australia with the ABS estimating there are 48,000 same-sex couples in 2015, with the number expected to increase.
An AIFS report (Dempsey, 2013) stated that approximately 11% of gay men and 33% of lesbians in same-sex relationships have children, whether from birth by a co-parenting gay or lesbian couple, raised by a single parent, or conceived in the context of previous heterosexual relationships.
The study says there is no evidence to support same-sex parents as being harmful to children.
Drawing from research conducted in 2014 and 2013 (Crouch, Waters, McNair, et al., 2014; Dempsey, 2013) the AIFS found children in same-sex parented families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as those in opposite-sex parented families, with the children of lesbian couples experiencing higher quality parenting.
It was also found that lesbians’ sons displayed greater gender flexibility, while both their sons and daughters displayed more open-mindedness towards diversity in sexuality, gender and family forms.
The study also pointed out the harm stigma has on children’s health and wellbeing with same-sex parents suggesting social stigma could impact on their child’s physical and emotional development.