Non-Traditional Families the Two Scholarly Reaction Paper

Excerpt from Reaction Paper :

She also emphasizes the fact that "…the pervasiveness of social prejudice and institutionalized discrimination against lesbians and gay men" presents a powerful influence in psychological research (160). The attack on gay and lesbian parenting research is amazingly similar to the attack on climate change by the right wing (conservatives say the scientific research is biased); and it is similar to attacks on laws prohibiting lead bullets in California Condor habitat (the NRA insists the research is biased against gun owners). The pattern is clear: if a group or political party disagrees with a policy, then they attack the research as biased.

Females Raised in a Single-Parent Family: is there a Risk of Early Pregnancy?

Meantime, Lawrence Wu and Brian Martinson have conducted empirically-based research in a seemingly honest, forthright way to reach some kind of consensus on what happens in a girl's childhood and upbringing that causes her to become pregnant out of wedlock. This takes on the tired "teen pregnancy" debate but includes a great deal of math and careful digging into research that existed at the time of publication, 18 years ago. Instead of asking whether a set of gay parents (or lesbian parents) are good for children, Wu and colleague search for answers to statements like "…Family researchers have argued that two-parent families exercise greater supervision and control than do single-parent families" and hence, a daughter in a two-parent family is less apt to stray from family morals and get pregnant prior to marriage (Wu, et al., 1993, p. 212). However, this viewpoint -- from the "social control hypothesis" -- assumes that adolescence is such a "trouble-prone period" in the lives of youth it takes two parents to keep kids out of trouble (Wu, 212).

After doing an impressive amount of research, the authors admit (213) that "The empirical evidence is largely indirect" and that "particularly little" is really known "about the long-term consequences" of family instability. But they go on to embrace data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) to provide a "probability sample" of what might cause a young woman to get pregnant out of wedlock. From the NSFH data, they studied 3,372 white women, 978 black women, and 426 Hispanic women; 10% of white women had a baby out of marriage; for blacks it was 50% and Hispanics 25% (214-215). Moreover, for white women raised by two parents, 2% got pregnant prior to 18 years; for blacks it was 25%; Hispanics, 13% (Wu, 224). What does this mean? Actually until a similar study is done in 2012, and the numbers are compared, these are data from 18 years ago that may not hold true or be valid today.

The interesting aspects of this peer-reviewed article are the many interesting hypotheses backed with later data. For example: a) children raised in "chronic instability" are at risk of "problem behaviors"; this would seem to be very obvious and predictable; and b) a premarital birth may reflect a "rational response" by a young woman to an unstable family; she escapes from the "undesirable family" by creating a family of her own (this is sad, and the women's life is unlikely to be smooth, but this makes sense as an explanation for teen pregnancy).

In conclusion, so much has changed in the years since these articles have been published, and yet so much remains the same. Teenage girls still get pregnant and researchers continue to study the background into those issues, albeit teen pregnancy has faded from view as a topic of discussion at the national level. As for the sexual orientation of parents, six states now allow legal same-sex marriages plus the District of Columbia, and clearly public opinion shows that Americans are becoming more tolerant of the idea, and less harsh on gay and lesbian parenting. Gallop Polling in May, 2011, shows that "…a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid" (Gallop, 2011). That is not to say that the public believes gays and lesbians can raise children with the same values as heterosexual parents, but clearly the change in attitudes can be seen and documented in the U.S.

Works Cited

Newport, Frank. "For the First Time, Majority of Americans Favor Legal Gay Marriage."

Gallup, (2011): 1-4.

Stacey, Judith,…

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