Research suggests that heterosexual fathers display similar parenting behaviors as heterosexual mothers, and have an analogous influence on children's development (Fagan et al., 2014; Volling and Cabrera, 2019; Volling and Palkovitz, 2021). However, claims that heterosexual fathers make a unique contribution to children's development (Jeynes, 2016) persist, often attributed to evolved differences between males and females (Paquette, 2004). Additionally, heterosexual mothers and fathers typically take on distinct coparenting roles, with mothers assuming more non-paid tasks (e.g., Yavorsky et al., 2015) and devoting two to three times as much time with their children, relative to fathers (Cabrera et al., 2018). The increasing number of gay two-father families worldwide (Blake et al., 2017; Berkowitz, 2020; Carone et al., 2021) may allow us to expand our theoretical understanding of coparenting and child development within diverse family structures. Uniquely, gay two-father families involve two fathers and no mother, and both parents have a non-heterosexual orientation. Additionally, depending on whether surrogacy or adoption was used, either one or two of the fathers is biologically unrelated to their child, respectively. Accordingly, research with gay two-father families promises novel and significant insight into coparenting dynamics. To date, with few exceptions (e.g., Farr and Patterson, 2013; Tornello et al., 2015; Carone et al., 2017; Farr et al., 2019; van Rijn-van Gelderen et al., 2020), coparenting research has focused on heterosexual two-parent families with biological children (Feinberg, 2003; McHale, 2011). In such families, caregiving roles are generally defined according to parent gender. Potential variations in coparenting according to parents' sexual orientation and parent–child (non-)biological relatedness (and the interaction between these factors) have not been addressed. Since research has documented the unique predictive power of coparenting for child adjustment across developmental stages (Teubert and Pinquart, 2010), it seems fundamental to examine the extent to which coparenting is influenced by parent gender and caregiving role, while accounting for the contribution of parent sexual orientation and biological (non-)relatedness. This opinion article presents an overview of recent findings relating to gay fathers (through adoption and surrogacy) to differentiate the effects of caregiving role and parent gender, identifying the unique and joint contributions of these factors to coparenting behaviors. Given that less research about coparenting has focused on gay fathers than lesbian mothers, where relevant, studies with the latter group are also included.

Untangling caregiving role from parent gender in coparenting research: Insights from gay two-father families

Nicola Carone
Conceptualization
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Research suggests that heterosexual fathers display similar parenting behaviors as heterosexual mothers, and have an analogous influence on children's development (Fagan et al., 2014; Volling and Cabrera, 2019; Volling and Palkovitz, 2021). However, claims that heterosexual fathers make a unique contribution to children's development (Jeynes, 2016) persist, often attributed to evolved differences between males and females (Paquette, 2004). Additionally, heterosexual mothers and fathers typically take on distinct coparenting roles, with mothers assuming more non-paid tasks (e.g., Yavorsky et al., 2015) and devoting two to three times as much time with their children, relative to fathers (Cabrera et al., 2018). The increasing number of gay two-father families worldwide (Blake et al., 2017; Berkowitz, 2020; Carone et al., 2021) may allow us to expand our theoretical understanding of coparenting and child development within diverse family structures. Uniquely, gay two-father families involve two fathers and no mother, and both parents have a non-heterosexual orientation. Additionally, depending on whether surrogacy or adoption was used, either one or two of the fathers is biologically unrelated to their child, respectively. Accordingly, research with gay two-father families promises novel and significant insight into coparenting dynamics. To date, with few exceptions (e.g., Farr and Patterson, 2013; Tornello et al., 2015; Carone et al., 2017; Farr et al., 2019; van Rijn-van Gelderen et al., 2020), coparenting research has focused on heterosexual two-parent families with biological children (Feinberg, 2003; McHale, 2011). In such families, caregiving roles are generally defined according to parent gender. Potential variations in coparenting according to parents' sexual orientation and parent–child (non-)biological relatedness (and the interaction between these factors) have not been addressed. Since research has documented the unique predictive power of coparenting for child adjustment across developmental stages (Teubert and Pinquart, 2010), it seems fundamental to examine the extent to which coparenting is influenced by parent gender and caregiving role, while accounting for the contribution of parent sexual orientation and biological (non-)relatedness. This opinion article presents an overview of recent findings relating to gay fathers (through adoption and surrogacy) to differentiate the effects of caregiving role and parent gender, identifying the unique and joint contributions of these factors to coparenting behaviors. Given that less research about coparenting has focused on gay fathers than lesbian mothers, where relevant, studies with the latter group are also included.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1476419
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