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How Do You Define Parenthood?

Quality in parenting makes all the difference.

On Monday the New Jersey Senate voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage. While gay marriage continues to be , so does the issue of the rights of gay parents.

When a flurry of concern is voiced over children being raised in a family with gay parents, one must ask themselves: How is parenthood defined?

Just as with marriage, you could ask: must parents really only be part of a one man and one woman partnership? Or can we look at it from a different perspective?

There is no question that a parent needs to be a loving and supportive individual; someone who provides care and nurtures a child as they grow. 

While children certainly benefit from having a loving father and mother in the home, there are scores of children being raised successfully in the homes of quality single parents. When needed, those children can look to the support of other family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or close family friends to provide additional positive relationships and a variety of influence in their life.

That being said, who is to say that two adults in a secure and caring relationship are not suitable to be parents based solely on the fact that these parents are the same gender?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "...what really matters is that children can talk to their parents about how they feel and that there is love and support in the family."

Additionally, the AAP states, "Research comparing children raised by homosexual parents to children raised by heterosexual parents has found no developmental differences in intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, or peer popularity between them. Children raised by homosexual parents can and do have fulfilling relationships with their friends as well as romantic relationships later on."

Wouldn’t a secure home with two supportive and stable parental figures be a more beneficial environment than a home with straight parents in an unstable, unhappy, or abusive relationship?

Let's face it, parenting is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Not everyone is cut out for the job. It is important to support all parents raising children whether gay or straight, or in a single parent or a dual-parental situation. 

It is a shame that there are children in the United States who struggle with unstable family and home lives. Allowing all capable couples or individuals (heterosexual or homosexual) to care for their children properly is in everyone's best interest.

Defining parenthood these days can be difficult with so many families living outside of the neat and "uncomplicated" box of what was once considered a traditional or nuclear family. Keeping an open mind may only increase the rate of happy, healthy, well-adjusted children being raised in New Jersey. What is so wrong with that?

Looking for some additional information? Check out the links below:

Same-sex couples can be effective parents...

Study: Same-sex parents raise well-adjusted kids

Study: Children of lesbians may do better than their peers

Chatham and Madison Parents - We want to hear from you. Has your view of parental roles changed since you were a child? How do you define parenthood?

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