Part 1– Alternative families are on the rise- and it’s not going well…
Part 2– Kids need more than just two committed parents, gender is relevant.
Part 3- Dad and Mom are needed to develop a healthy gender identity.
Part 4– Biology Matters.
Conclusion– Opposite-sex parenting is ideal.
I do not need the bible to make a case for traditional marriage. That Christianity endorses one man/one woman marriage, and it is a statistical reality that the traditional family structure is ideal for childrearing, simply reinforces my confidence in the Christian worldview.
In addition to the distinct and complimentary ways that men and women parent, children need both sexes in their immediate world as they develop their own gender identity. It’s strongly held within the social sciences that beginning as early as age three, children can (and should) identify with their same-sex parent. Boys begin to gravitate toward dads who should actively seek to include their sons in their world. This gives incredible confidence to their boys and communicates, “You are like me.” Girls begin to imitate mom and mothers should encourage strength and femininity within their daughters. This identification tells our girls “I’m on my way to womanhood and it’s beautiful.”
We have observed this stark development in our children. At age three our biological son began to want to be with Daddy and do everything that Daddy did. Of course he still loves and wants to be with me, but he has begun to notice that he and Daddy are similar (they pee standing up, get to go shirtless in the summer, love to smash a baseball, get excited about fixing broken pipes, etc.) and we encourage a special bond between them. Now he is almost five and that identification is strengthening. I have what I refer to as our family’s favorite song. It’s very simple, the words are “Mommy always wins, always wins, always wins.” Right around the time our son turned four, we were having a playful disagreement and I asked him to sing our favorite song. He thought for a moment and then burst out “DADDY always wins, always wins, always wins!” Our son was identifying with my husband, and he recognized that “Daddy always wins” is closer to he, himself, winning than Mommy winning. (Our youngest son is two and a half and has been with our family for a year. He has a very strong attachment to me- a wonderful and healthy step for an adopted child. However, I feel a bit smothered by him sometimes and I look forward to him transferring some attention and attachment to my husband.)
Our girls are six and nine. I have seen them over the past several years begin to imitate me and take on more of my characteristics. They love to dig through my closet and wear my dresses and jewelry. They want me on their team (girls against boys!), and come to me for advice and input. (They like to listen to loud music and climb trees like their mother, too.) They also have a very strong relationship with my husband, but they don’t pretend to be Daddy, rather they seek to dance with Daddy, snuggle with Daddy, and be adored by Daddy the way they see him loving and adoring me. They are on the path to womanhood and being like mom is a vital part of that road and healthy self-esteem.
On the flip side of that, I have witnessed times when children were not connected to, or who were outright rejected by, their same-sex parent. It’s painful. You can see the child longing to be drawn in and encouraged by his father, or her mother. Whether the parent was physically absent, emotionally distant, overly critical or just lazy about connecting with his or her children, much of the time the product is a life-long heartache.