Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weak parenting studies

A reader cites a psychologist court brief that argues:
"These studies ... are impressively consistent in their failure to identify deficits in parenting abilities or in the development of children raised in a lesbian or gay household."
These are negative results, and they do not mean much. They applied simple-minded methods, and failed to get results.

Here is the abstract to one of those studies:
This study examined associations among family type (same-sex vs. opposite-sex parents); family and rela-tionship variables; and the psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic attractions and behaviors of adolescents. Participants included 44 12- to 18-year-old adolescents parented by same-sex couples and 44 same-aged adolescents parented by opposite-sex couples, matched on demographic characteristics and drawn from a national sample. Normative analyses indicated that, on measures of psychosocial adjustment and school outcomes, adolescents were functioning well, and their adjustment was not generally associated with family type. Assessments of romantic relationships and sexual behavior were not associated with family type. Re-gardless of family type, adolescents whose parents described closer relationships with them reported better school adjustment.
They sampled a few families, gave them some questionaires, and found that they all had about the same self-esteem and other subjective self-reported indicators.

To see how weak this is, imagine if someone studies NFL football teams by sending questionaires to players and coaches, and asking about their self-esteem. He might conclude that all of the teams are about the same, and miss the fact that some are winners and some are losers. He would probably miss a lot of other differences also, especially if he is not a football fan.

The problem is deeper. Psychologists and other social scientists publish studies all the time, but there are hardly any studies showing that any parental strategy is better than any other.

Everyone who has kids, and most of those who don't, have opinions about how best to rear kids. And yet those studies are not backed up by research. Most of the opinions given by court-appointed child custody evaluators are also not backed up by research.

The only studies that say anything useful about parents are those that say that kids do better with their natural dad and mom. There are dozens of such studies, and they give specific quantitative measures showing how the kids are observed to do better. No one disputes these studies.

Some readers may comment, "I was adopted, and I turned out great", or "X was a child abuser, and her kid was better off in foster care". I do not doubt that there are many such examples. The studies apply to statistical samples and majorities, and not to every single case.

I am just reporting on the studies. If you don't like the studies, complain to the authors. If I have overlooked some studies, then go ahead and point them out in the comments.


Anonymous said...

"These are negative results, and they do not mean much."

And yet you are unable to find any studies showing positive results that show the children do worse. The burden is on the one making the positive claim. It's as if I claim to have an invisible unicorn. If no studies show it, and there is no evidence of it, yet I insist upon it, people would think I'm crazy. This is your invisible unicorn.

"The only studies that say anything useful about parents are those that say that kids do better with their natural dad and mom."

If you can find such studies, then I would think you would be able to find studies that back up your belief that kids do better in a household with different-sex parents than same-sex parents.

I don't expect this to change your mind. You have an irrational belief, and are unwilling or unable to accept the fact you might be wrong. You ask for evidence that shows negative results, and when given it you say negative results do not mean much. Why did you ask for studies that show negative results then? Is there any evidence that would convince you?

Since you won't accept negative results, there is no possible way to convince you. So now it's up to you to produce positive results, or produce the super bowl ring that proves you right. If there really are winners and losers, and you are a fan, you should have no problem with this. Otherwise, please stop spreading hatred and lies.

(Naturally, I do not expect you will do either any of those, and instead you will go off on a tangent to try to distract others from the fact that you cannot give an honest answer. For those reading the blog - read his next comment. It will not show a study showing how same-sex parents are worse, or some other fact that would prove his point, yet he still won't post a retraction to his comments that assert such things.)

George said...

I am not spreading hatred and lies. You asked me to look at the studies, and I am reporting what the studies say.

Anonymous said...

Did you even read the last paragraph? I didn't expect you to prove me right so easily.

Anonymous said...

Sigh... I would be angry at your homophobia, but honestly it just makes me sad. You must be a truly lonely and broken person to feel the need to blame so many of your own issues on others.

W. C. Taqiyya said...

As for the study fuss. I think it's a pretty fair bet that social engineers can and do set up their 'expert' studies to produce whatever results they want. With their exclusive control over the study parameters, data collection and interpretation of the data, they can easily reach any conclusions they barn well please. Maybe some sort of peer revue might help but when the political atmosphere is so strongly influenced by PC think, peers who disagree with the conclusion that homosexuals make grand parents are going to be hard to find. For the simple reason that they would be quickly unemployed and labeled as homophobic. It is a homo world, after all. Hum the small world Disney song here. We see the same PC think influencing the global climate hysteria. Therefore, playing with politically influenced social engineering studies, as if they are serious studies, is a waste of time.

A bit off point, but why would a father who never sees his children continue to pay alimony or child support? And, what's the difference between child support obligations and indentured servitude?

George said...

W. C. Taqiyya, the simple answer is that family court judges order it, based on leftist laws and anti-marriage beliefs. But I guess you were asking rhetorical questions.

Anonymous said...

Any idiot can walk outside their house and see something is wrong with society today, particularly in the youth. Oh, wow, could it be that various social engineering schemes have started to unravel the world? But, no, we have studies paid for by disinterested and clearly impartial groups that show that everything is, in fact, just dandy. Yes, nothing to see here!