Glenn T. Stanton, director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family, debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the country.
Stanton just finished his fourth book, “Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity” (Waterbrook, 2011).
1. You recently unpacked the myth that mothers and fathers are “optional” – as glamorized in the new Hollywood movie, “The Kids are All Right.” Please explain for our readers what you found in your research and the importance of reliable research.
First of all, my research is from a sociological and anthropological perspective, asking questions such as, “What does the data say, in terms of family form?” “What does data reveal about a child’s need for a mother and a father?” “Does a mom and dad matter for the family?” and “Do husbands and wives matter for marriage?”
So, when two major studies were published this year in good academic journals, naturally I was interested.
However, what I found was truly troubling. Not only was the research skewed, it went as far as to claim that lesbian-led homes; they said that they are better.
This is just remarkable and discouraging, because they are not basing their conclusions and understandings on good science. It’s all about political and social pressure, which should have no place in this discussion.
Typically, when you find science saying things that are contrary to what is commonly know and understood (e.g., mothers and fathers matter), you need only to dig into that research to find significant methodological problems with their findings.
We see this quite often –research like that being skewed or results being buried.
Are we to think then, that we have been disadvantaging children by raising them with mothers and fathers?
We know that this is absolutely not the case.
One serious methodological problem was that they used remarkable small, nonrepresentative research samples collected primarily by the scholars themselves. Rather, they should have performed a nationally representive study.
Sociologists have commented that there is just no way that you can derive reliable conclusions with studies that use these types of “snowball samples.”
Furthermore, these faulty studies that tout that children are fine with two lesbian moms are sending clear messages to dads that they aren’t essential for the family.
One of these studies, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, simply had lesbian moms self-reporting on how their kids were doing. Naturally, these moms would be inclined to say, “Our kids are just great.”
An example of that: One of these studies even claimed that when the lesbian relationships break up, the kids showed no adverse effect whatsoever.
2. We are witnessing medical bodies from the American Medical Association (AMA) to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) being heavily influenced by the homosexual agenda and by political pressure. How does this affect public policy and the lives of average Americans?
People initially think, “Well, gosh, these people are doctors. They should really know the answers.”
But, here’s a real-world example of policy influencing the personal: A parent seeks advice from their pediatrician, who relies on faulty research published by organizations like the AMA or AAP, which might be influenced by gay activists from within or outside the organizations.
These organizations are essentially turning a blind eye to the rigorous methodology that should be there, simply because of social engineering being pushed by these activists.
Thus, good science is not being done.
On top of that, doctors face the reality of a full patient schedule and numerous demands on their time. So, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of taking another doctor’s word for it. I see this all the time.
In fact, I ask doctors who speak authoritatively on same-sex studies, “Have you read the studies?” They typically respond with, “No, I haven’t read all of it –but I have read the press release.”
Well, that’s science – or policy-making – by press release. I am afraid our sound-bite culture has influenced medicine.
3. To that end, it is troubling to realize how powerful these studies can be in influencing our public policy – and how they contribute to the systematic redefinition of marriage and the family. As you study family formation, how are you seeing it influence culture?
California immediately comes to mind.
Gay activists lost the California marriage amendment in 2008, because of parents’ concern about children. Now, we have these “studies” that attempt to address those concerns. It’s no coincidence.
These activists want to redefine the norms of society – and of the family.
However, nature declares that mothers and fathers are important. That is why all cultures at all times involve mothers and fathers in the raising of children.
It is not because the “religious right” went everywhere and demanded and forced that on cultures. It is nature that demands it.
So, when silly studies like this come up that say mothers and fathers aren’t essential for teaching their children sexual values, most Americans don’t buy it.
4. What do you say to parents whose child is struggling with same-sex attraction?
I encourage mothers and fathers to be attuned to their child and guide them into healthy feminine and masculine directions – and to do that in an intentional way.
It sounds simplistic; most people who have never been something before, need help and guidance into that role.
Yes, there are children who grow up with gender confusion. But, in these situations, parents should be very directive in helping them understand the gender distinction between mothers and fathers.
All the research shows that the most influential people in the lives of young people are their parents.
Fathers will never shame or scold their boys into masculinity. They need to invite their boys into masculinity.
Mothers, on the other hand, need to push their boys “off the dime,” if you will, of overly feminine behavior toward masculinity.
Girls need to have the healthy femininity drawn out of them by a healthy, good, strong relationship with Dad. Dads really do matter in affirming a girl’s healthy sense of femininity.
5. What resources are available to parents and decision-makers who want more information to help them counter this culture shift?
This is actually why I wrote “Secure Daughters, Confident Sons.” It will be available in January, but parents can preorder it online.
In the interim, I have a paper “Are the Kids All Right?” which was written with the desire to educate, encourage and bolster parents.
I want them to know the correct research for themselves and confidently know that research that says gender makes no difference in the parenting outcome of children is completely unreliable.
And now that children are back to school, parents will find this especially helpful, as we see more and more school board and administrators use faulty research to bring in controversial – and unbiblical–sex-ed curriculum.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Pre-order “Secure Daughters, Confident Sons.”