A study of young children of first-time adoptive parents found that the children of same-gender parents were less gender stereotyped in their play behavior than the children of heterosexual parents, which may translate to strengths that aid them later in life, according to new research funded by the Williams Institute.
"How parents play, and what kind of toys they let their kids play with, can affect child development -- even at 18 months," said Abbie E. Goldberg, Associate Professor of psychology at Clark University. "Research shows that some flexibility in play-type has psychological benefits for children."
The study found that sons of lesbian mothers engaged in slightly more nurturing-type play behavior than sons of gay fathers and heterosexual parents. The researchers suggest that two-mother households, like single-mother households, may develop slightly different play styles. The study also found that daughters of gay fathers were more stereotypically-feminine in play behavior than daughters of lesbian mothers and less stereotypically-feminine in play behavior than daughters of heterosexual mothers.
The study, entitled "Gender-Typed Play Behavior in Early Childhood: Adopted Children with Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Parents" is in the upcoming issue of Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.