Rethinking Mom and Dad in Family Restoration

If you are ready for football season to begin, you'll be ready to read about some NFL players and their dads and moms in "Rethinking Mom and Dad," published at 42 Capital U. L. Rev. 441 (2014), and available for free download at the Social Science Research Network at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462112, discussing the latest research and evidence on parenting patterns. 
Some recent studies have claimed to demonstrate that children do just as well without a dad - or without a mom.  For example, a new study from the University of Melbourne in Australia on how kids from same-sex homes fare is getting a good deal of press. Perhaps you’ve seen the news stories and wondered if this changes the nature of the debate over the importance of the family? Let's consider the research. 

Reporting on this study the Washington Post stated that children from same sex parent families scored 6% higher on general health and family cohesion even when controlling for socio-demographic factors such as parents' education and household income.  But researcher and commentator John Stonestreet noted that sketchy methodology led to a serious research bias that flaws the outcomes.  You can read his ideas in their entirety at BreakPoint at http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/25700?spMailingID=9041076&spUserID=ODk4MzEzMDgyMDcS1&spJobID=341404420&spReportId=MzQxNDA0NDIwS0. 
Family researcher Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family’s director of Family Formation Studies, also discussed this study at http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/does-new-research-prove-kids-do-better-with-two-moms/?utm_source=nl_dalyfocus&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=186015&refcd=186015&crmlink=content-keep-reading.  He states that this new study gives the same kind of findings seen before, coming from the same kinds of studies with the same kinds of serious short-comings and method problems. You can read about the weaknesses of those previous studies here, here and here. The bottom line is that this Australian study and each study on same-sex or single-sex parenting are all derived from a sample size that is too small to render any actual evidence or generalizations, each study represents the answers and views of self-selected participants, and possesses conflict of interest elements because participants are interested in a positive outcome.
A most serious flaw of this and other studies is a general lack of normative control group utilization.  What this means is that this study and others like it tell us nothing about how kids in same-sex homes fare compared to children being raised by their married mother and father. It does not in any manner address that significant difference.  That is why "Rethinking Mom and Dad" at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462112 is so important for general knowledge on this issue.  And with football just around on the seasonal corner, it's a fun read as well.

Another family expert, Economist Dr. Douglas Allen at the Simon Fraser University in Canada, studies family makeup and its impact on children, the economy and culture.  His most recent work included a replication of a study that claimed children in same-sex households fared no differently than those raised in homes with a married mother and father.  After making several corrections in methodology, Allen and his team discovered an interesting maxim. "Gender composition matters a lot in a household... Moms probably do something that's a lot different than dads.  If you're a child there are times in your life when you really need a mom's input, and there are other times you need a dad's input; and those times are probably different for boys and for girls."  Read more on Dr. Allen’s work at CitizenLink at http://www.citizenlink.com/2014/05/12/family-experts-children-do-best-when-raised-by-their-married-mom-and-dad/.
Rethinking Mom and Dad toward family restoration requires a focus on the children as well as on the parenting formation.  (See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462112.)
Family restoration happens when children have an opportunity to be raised by their mom and dad who are married to each other.  

You can access all my work on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at http://ssrn.com/author=183817 – while you, like me, get ready for football season!

No comments:

Post a Comment