Gay parents spend significantly more time with their kids, according to a new study that challenges biases against same-sex parenting.
Researchers from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas found that women in lesbian relationships spend 40% more time engaged in child-focused activities than their straight counterparts, largely because both mothers typically offer as much time as mothers in straight relationships.
Fathers in straight relationships spend only about half as much time on child-focused activity. However, fathers in gay relationships spend roughly the same time as the mothers (around 100 minutes a day).
‘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,’ Kate Prickett, the lead author of the study, wrote on the Child and Family Blog.
‘On measures of child-focused time, children with two parents of the same sex families actually seem to receive more time investment. They received more focused time from their parents – 3.5 hours a day, compared with 2.5 hours by children with two different-sex parents.’
Child-focused activities are those that support their physical and cognitive development, such as reading to them, playing with them, helping with homework, bathing them and taking them to the doctor.
It does not include watching television or doing housework while a child is around.
Child-focused activities, as well as certain family events such as eating meals together or reading books, are associated with better child outcomes.
The study used 11 years of census data from 2003-2013, with a sample of more than 40,000 parents, 55 parents of whom were in gay relationships.