Vive la difference: gender and parenthood

Carolyn Moynihan
16 May 2011
Reproduced with Permission

In the realm of parenthood today nothing can be taken for granted -- not even that a mother and father are the best thing for children, at least according to certain elites.

Last year in delivering his verdict on Proposition 8 -- a referendum in which a majority of Californians supported the traditional definition of marriage -- San Francisco Judge Vaughan Walker said it was beyond "any doubt that parents' genders are irrelevant to children's developmental outcomes."

Also last year Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston opined, "Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child."

But sociologist W Bradford Wilcox says that this "elite wisdom" is dead wrong. Moms and dads bring different and essential gifts to the parenting enterprise, as a growing body of social science research findings testifies. In a presentation called "Vive La Difference: Gender and Parenthood" in Canada recently, Prof Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project in the US and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, said this evidence shows:

You can find Prof Wilcox's slide presentation at the Institute for Marriage and the Family Canada website and read a summary of the science behind what you always thought anyway -- namely, that although death and other misfortunes sometimes rob children of a father or mother, being brought up by their own married mom and dad is far and away the best thing for kids.