Lesbian and Gay Parenting Post-Heterosexual Divorce and Separation

Abstract

This chapter begins by discussing initial research on same-gender parenting, which addressed theoretical questions on the influence of parenting on children’s social development and empirically investigated pragmatic concerns raised by restrictive divorce settlements. These early studies concurred that children raised by lesbian mothers or gay fathers did not differ from children with heterosexual parents on key developmental outcomes. Other early studies of same-gender parenting post-heterosexual separation and divorce considered stepfamily formation and the coming out processes that families undergo. Subsequent research and scholarly commentaries have challenged the field to use social constructionist and queer theory paradigms. These paradigms have increasingly led researchers to consider the different social realities experienced by children growing up with lesbian or gay parents and suggest that children may engage in a more open-minded consideration of their own psychosexual development. The research field awaits consideration of how parenting post-heterosexual divorce may differ from planned parenting by lesbian and gay parents. Future research studies will need to conceptualize diversity and fluidity in parental sexual orientation and consider contextual variation in parenthood utilizing a variety of different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesBirkbeck University of LondonLondonUK

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