Why do babies need a mother and a father?

Im thinking about gay adoption, and the argument that “babies need a mother AND a father”, now I’m not arguing one way or the other, im just curious about the specific reasons that people believe this.

So if you believe that babies really need a mother and a father, please give the reasons here.
I don’t want things like “It’s natural, so we should do it”, i want actual reasons you believe babies are better off with a mother and a father while being raised.

(I apologise if this thread has been done before, f it has please link me to the previous thread/s and i will be very thankful)

The theory is that men and women are different and so as a child you get exposed to different things from each of them. Getting raised by a single parent or two same-sexed parents will (according to them) lessen your ability to deal with the rest of the world as an adult.

In terms of actual studies on the topic, last I heard, there is a higher incidence of crimes being commited by people who were raised by same-sex parents than people who were raised by a male-female couple but that difference disappears when you correct for the parents’ income.

All other things being equal babies are generally better off with a set of people that have, and can devote, both the time and resources to take care of them properly. A couple raising a child can usually devote more of both to the raising of the child than a single parent.

If the issue is why can’t a gay man do as good a job as a female mother, short of debates about women as a class being more effectively predisposed emotionally and temperamentally to take care of babies than men, there is no reason.

Having said this it is my belief that while there are some men who are more effective child caretakers than some women, by and large women are more predisposed emotionally and temperamentally to properly care of babies vs men.

Is that it thought?
I don’t want to seem like im just being argumentative but “people of different sexes will expose the child to different things that people of the same sex can’t” (being how i understand the theory) doesn’t really give a reason to me.
What things?

Any two people will expose anyone to two different things.
Me and my (same-sex) boyfriend are chalk and cheese.

Is this argument at all like “Gay marriage will ruin the institution of marriage”, where it seems like it’s more about the anti-gay than it is about the actual issue?

(Also Mods sorry if this has strayed from Great Debate territory, if it has, please move it)

Debating it with my mother she blustered a lot about it, giving the reasons I stated, but when forced to actually give a straight answer she said that she wouldn’t support any laws against it. It took a very long time to actually get that answer out of her though.

I think the thing is more that it’s “morally repugnant” than that there’s meat. It’s just a question of whether people will vote with their repugnance or not. Most probably do. And of course most probably think that gays are child molesters and will try to convince their child and their childrens’ friends to have sex with them or at least become gay themselves. But I doubt most of them would be willing to say out loud that they are thinking such thoughts.

I think it’s supposed to be about giving the child role models of each gender so they learn from both, with a side helping of thinking of straight as the only normal, and believing that children who would otherwise be straight (and therefore normal) will emulate the “unnatural” relationship of their parents and grow up to be gay. If children of wife-beaters grow up to be wife-beaters and children of domineering mothers grow up to marry domineering partners, then surely it stands to reason that the children of same sex couples will grow up to be in same sex relationships? Studies concluding the opposite be damned, why take the risk?

I think mostly, it’s actually about gay sex giving them the heebie-jeebies and won’t somebody think of the children?! The opponents to gay rights in many cases are so repulsed by even the sight of two same-sex people kissing that it follows that they would object to children being raised in a household where this is the norm.

(ETA I’m sorry if this answer is too IMHO for GD)

Breastfeeding is important, or at least it’s usually best form of nourishment for the very young.

There seems to be things that either sex have to contribute to a child’s learning. Generally, I’d say mothers are best at teaching certain things to daughters and fathers are best at teaching certain things to sons.

However, this doesn’t mean babies need both a mother and a father. It just seems to be the ideal situation. If I was in a same-sex relationship and had a daughter, I’d prefer to have a woman around to breastfeed her, and help her develop, to teach her certain things I didn’t go through growing up (since I am male). I imagine it would work the other way round too, to an extent.

I hate tangents, back to the however. I’m not suggesting that two mothers or two fathers could not successfully bring up their kids. In fact, so called ‘normal’ situations where you have a mother and father where one party does no contribute is most likely worse than a situation with a same sex couple bringing up kids where both are helping equally.

I wonder though, does it help for one parent to be more masculine and one to be more feminine? Or are those just mostly perceived gender traits that are in reality neither masculine or feminine, we just prescribe them so?

I think it’s best for children to be raised by two parents, but it doesn’t matter if those parents are gay or straight. However, I also think it’s very important for kids to have adult role models of both sexes deeply involved in their lives. Not so much because I think that men and women are so intrinsically different, but because it’s important for kids to learn that both men and women are loving, nurturing people. If I grew up with men as my only caregivers, I’d probably have a more skewed view of what women are like than if I grew up with two dads, but also really involved aunts and grandmas.

If babies need a mother and a father, should babies whose fathers die before they are born (like on 9/11) be taken away from their mothers?

Children need to be raised by people who love, want, and can care for them. End of discussion.

But in adoption and surrogacy is pretty much moot anyway, so it doesn’t really make a difference if a mixed sex couple adopt, two women adopt, or two men adopt.

You CAN induce lactation, very few adoptive parents are successful enough with it to provide much (or any) nourishment.

An important point.


Kids can grow up in lots of circumstances and will usually survive our imperfect parenting just fine. Lots they do not need. But benefit from? That is another question.

Two loving caring parents both committed to raising the child (or children) with a strong sense of security and of ethics are better than to two who do not both feel so, whatever the genders, or even than a single parent similarly committed. But, assuming two parents that both are so committed is there an benefit to having both male and female parents? I’d say that a boy benefits from having a strong and present male to role model and from a relationship with a strong and present female role model both. And that a girl likewise benefits from both.

So Punintentional, if you are your partner are indeed committed to each other and to the task of raising a strong, secure, self-reliant, and ethical human being (or more than one) then more power to you. Those commitments are much more mission critical than your genders. And often not present in many biological circumstances or even in some other adoptive circumstances. But part of your plan may be to include a regular and consistent exposure to a female who is also committed to the child: an aunt, a grandmother, a dedicated family friend. Not because your child will need such exposure but because such exposure may benefit him or her.

Children get their role models from all kinds of people who have a regular presence in their lives. Female friends, grandmothers, aunts, older sibs, teachers. Two-parent households are ideal, but there is no guaranteed lack of socialization due to same-sex parents.

Having more than one parent, or having a close extended family, can help a parent raise the child, or if necessary, help protect the child from a parent with a drug problem who uses hard drugs every time he has an oportunity.

Part of it IMHO is that fathers teach their children how to feel comfortable in the presents of other men, and for daughters in particular, how to feel comfortable in the arms and care of a man to get her ready for feeling comfortable for her husband one day. Mothers teach their children how to feel comfortable in the presents of other females, and in particular for sons how to open up, express and receive love to females to prepare him for his future wife.

This question has been researched exhaustively. Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

Not only that, goes the theory, but a boy (the theory is most concerned with boys - the crises of girls are somehow not as important) will grow into a worse man if there was no traditional male role model in the home (the theory defines a better man as a more traditional man).

However, that is of little or no interest to people who buy the theory. They will tell you the income level is only a correlation - that the real cause is the lack of traditional gender roles (almost always male).

I don’t buy it myself. But then again, I was raised in a matriarchal household in the 1970s, so perhaps I too am a victim of my environment.

The nuclear family as we know it in the West is a very recent invention. Our species evolved for hundreds of thousands of years living in a very different type of social organization, probably like modern hunter/gatherer societies still in existence. Children in those societies are typically raised (at least early on) primarily by their mothers and other female relatives and/or tribeswomen. There are men around as role models, and if the father dies (or somehow is no longer around), the woman will typically be taken in by relatives or some other male member of the tribe. But it’s not usual for men to take a day-to-day interest in raising children except for boys once they reach a certain age. It really did “take a village”, although not in a sense that would be acceptable to many of us today, since that “village” often consisted of polygamous families.

That being said, our society simply isn’t set up to afford children that type of environment. We certainly have data on the effects of single parent upbringing (usually meaning one woman; no father) and how that increases the probability of being in poverty, but I don’t know that Same Sex couples raising kids has been studied for long enough to really know how that compares to other living arrangements.

I have to wonder if these types of households have been around long enough to really get a good understanding of their effects on children, but if you think about it, children raised by two lesbian mothers are probably more closely experiencing the typical childhood in which our species evolved, especially if there are some men around (even slightly at a distance) to interact with at times.

I personally think a child benefits from positive role models of both genders, whether or not someone specifically fills the “mommy” and “daddy” roles.

The word is “NEED” this is key.

Most everyone will agree a married man and women in a sound marriage, have it easiest when trying to raise a kid.

But this doesn’t mean that two men or two women or a single dad or a single mom CAN’T produce the same quality of child. It just will be harder for them

But people being people tend to take the line of least resistance.

The argument also forgets the fact, children are very different. I have seen children in bad situations, for some odd reason they are determained to rise out of it. Others just fall by the wayside. Same environment, two different ends.

I like to think of it as playing a piano. A person with an ear for music can play without lessons. A person with no ear for music can learn to play WITH lessons. And both will play reasonable well, but a person WITH an ear and WITH lessons will play better than either.