Same-Sex Parents Spend More Time With Children, Study Shows


A study out of the University of Texas developed as an effort to confront prejudice against same-sex couples who have children, has found that in families with two moms, parents spent 40% more time with their children than heterosexual parents.

Ashitha Nagesh, writing for Metro UK, reports that in families with two fathers, the time spent with kids is about the same as the amount spent by straight mothers with their children.

‘Our study suggests that children with two parents of the same sex received more focused time from their parents – 3.5 hours a day, compared with 2.5 hours by children with different-sex parents,’ lead researcher Dr Kate Prickett, from the University of Texas, said.

This could be because same-sex couples have to spend so much time on processes that are necessary if they are to have children, including partnering with a person who already has a child, artificial insemination or surrogacy, or adoption. These are not simple efforts and may contribute to the strong desire to become a parent.

For the study, the researchers focused on child-centered tasks such as reading, playing, helping with homework, bath time, and healthcare appointments. They did not include passive activities such as TV-watching or being near a child but not actually interacting with the child.

It seems, according to the study, in a family with two mothers, both mothers normally give as much child-focused interaction as mothers who are in heterosexual partnerships. It was found that fathers with female partners spend approximately 50% less time with their children, report Emily Dugan and Lucy White for IOL News South Africa.

The report adds that women spend about 100 minutes per day engaged in child-centered time compared to 50 minutes for heterosexual fathers.

The report’s author, Kate Prickett, said, “Our findings support the argument that parental investment in children is at least as great – and possibly greater – in same-sex couples as for different-sex couples. Our study suggests that… children with two-parents-of-the-same-sex families received more focused time from their parents – 3.5 hours a day, compared with 2.5 hours by children with different-sex parents.”

Another reason for the differences between heterosexual and homosexual parents could be based on the fact that parenting is still a gender-related process. Fathers with women as partners are still likely to be the major earners, and their partners still tend to take on the domestic responsibilities.

Jane Czyzselska, the editor of the lesbian and bi-sexual magazine Diva, says the fear that their child might be discriminated against by heterosexual parents and teachers may cause some same-sex parents to increase the interaction with their children to a level higher than heterosexual parents.

Tor Docherty, the Chief Executive of New Family Social, works at supporting LGBT adoptive and foster families. He explains that spending time with adoptive kids in order to nurture attachment is essential, and the ability to develop confidence and self-esteem skills is an area where LGBT people can excel. For children who need to “make sense of their place in the world”, same-sex parents are well-equipped to do so.

The results of the study are published on the Child and Family Blog. Data for the study was from the US Census Bureau with over 40,000 parents responses used as a sample.