Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Children in Poly Homes

One of the arguments made against polyamory and the polygamous freedom to marry is the accusation that it is harmful to children (a Discredited Argument). The work of Deborah Anapol, Ph.D continues to be adapted in blog form, and in this entry she discusses the issue of children and polyamory.

Many people assume that it's harmful for children to have more than two parents. Of course, multiple parents are common in stepfamilies, where a child may have as many as four parents from two blended families.

A lot more than four, as second marriages in the “monogamous” practice, statistically, are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. Many “monogamous” parents will also have lovers in the home that they do not marry. Nonsexual roommates may also take on some parenting roles. It hardly makes sense to deny stable, established polyamorous parents the right to parent their children in a polyamorous home.

In the many cultures where polygyny is permitted, children often grow up with several mothers who cooperate in caring for each other's children. And from time immemorial, older brothers and sisters, as well as extended families of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, have shared family compounds and taken on significant roles as caretakers.

She looked for parallels in the LGBT community, due to a lack of funded research into the issue when it comes to poly families.

The GLBT research has found that essentially all the pressure the children of homosexual parents face is from outside the family. In other words, nothing has been found in the families themselves that's a problem for the children, but they do encounter judgments, prejudice, and negative attitudes from outsiders, such as teachers or neighbors, or are concerned about appearing different. The same appears to be somewhat true for children in polyamorous families, although one bisexual poly parent told me that his teenage son's perception was that polyamory was more acceptable than bisexuality among his peers.

So if you don’t want children of poly or LGBT parents to suffer, don’t bully their families.

As with gay and lesbian parents, allowing poly parents to marry the people they love if they want to would improve the lives of children being raised by those parents.
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