Murder Cases: Technology For Crime Monitoring And Control Sample College Essay

Every day, man is coming up with new developments and inventions in different fields. This is due to the innovativeness, intellectualism and credibility that is contained in the human mind. The developments have been made in, somewhat, very crucial fields like medicine. One of the most important inventions was the realization of forensic science in the broader field of science and technology. This technology is greatly being used in crime monitoring and control and has brought about benefits since the evidence collected during the investigation brings out the naked truth. This paper tries to explain how forensic science has greatly contributed to the field of criminology.

For the technology to be maximized appropriately, it must follow specific channels of which some may be involved while some not. Several stages should be followed promptly of which include: identifying the specific scene where the crime took place, discovering the crime itself, that is the type of crime, recording the crime incident and finally searching for the evidence needed keeping in mind that the truth will come out at long last (Entrant 2004). The act of discovering the scene of crime is somehow not challenging. Taking for example the case of a tragic accident involving two personal vehicles, identifying the scene is a straightforward technique since it will show out itself clearly by the presence of glass breaks all over and blood spit if possible. Apart from that, taking the example of a robbery crime, the scene can be identified by the presence of housebreak or violence that further lead to loss of property, injuries of people or death in case of resistance.

Discovering the type of crime committed is affected in several ways. Citizens of any country are informed of any strange occurring of which they see by themselves or hear from other primary and secondary sources and of which Patriotic citizens will report to higher authorities in the legal sector of their own country. Sometimes police officers, themselves, discover the crimes during the day-to-day patrols they carry out in different areas. Once at the crime scene, police officers should assist in life-saving of the live victims, if any. The victims who are in danger should be protected by the police officers by rushing them to the hospital, if need be. Police officers should make sure that they put on defensive gargets during the operation, as protective hand gloves to make sure that the fingerprints don’t come in actual contact with the victim’s body. During the operation, the police officers should take into account the extent of the crime, which simply implies the stretch of the area in which the crime took place.

Taking the example of the murder case, the murder area will be where the murder is committed and the scene where the corpse is found, in the case where the corpse is transported from the area of crime, not forgetting the mode of carriage of the corpse in this case. Sealing the scene is another area of great importance during the investigation. This helps in the preservation of important evidence and the identification of suspects and witnesses. This is done by enclosing the area to avoid entry and exit of people and the section should be accessible only to the relevant personnel thus making crime scene management easier. In the process, evidence should not be contaminated since this may give wrong results. Evidence contamination may be avoided by minimizing the number of personnel at only the specific access points during entry and exit. Information is collected from witnesses and suspects who are detained to avoid mingling with the rest of the people (Entrant, 2004). Many times, there may be difficulties in identifying the type of crime. These can be avoided right from the start, at the time of discovering the scene of the crime. Therefore, at the scene of the crime, ‘crime investors’ should be immediately deployed to seal it so that it cannot be contaminated. Evidence at the crime scene should be documented not forgetting that the media should be kept away and any evidence should not be provided to them since they can distort information before a thorough investigation is carried out and results released (Vienna, 2008).

Since the human memory cannot store all evidence, technology has been developed to enhance forensic science. After the crime scene has been dealt with properly and the necessary assessments made, forensic photographers need to take the initiative by taking photographs from the crime scene. They have to make sure that they record the original scene situation and how it was discovered. The recording is done because no one can revisit the scene during the court sessions, and even if one does so, all the necessary evidence could have been either flawed or completely lost. Therefore, the photographs collected help to clearly recreate the scene as well as show the lasting time limit of the evidence (West Yorkshire Police, n.d.). This facilitates analysis in the forensic laboratory. The recording is done in several ways some of which include taking photographs by means of video cameras and digital cameras. The 35mm cameras are the most commonly used cameras by forensic photographers. Digital cameras store their information on a memory card rather than a film. This enhances the capacity of storage since digital cameras store as much information when compared to mere cameras. Digital cameras are recommended since photographs can be viewed directly instead of undergoing processing. When it comes to video cameras, they make the scene more realistic than digital cameras. The motions of the pictures provide more evidence of what was not caught during the real crime scene and absenter of other police officers (Cuthbert, 1958).

Usage of the cameras further demands high levels of expertise from forensic photographers in terms of exactness, angle and balance of the scene when recorded (Entrant, 2004). The recording is not only done by the above methods but also through sketching, voice recording, video recording and use of artifacts. The recorded information is not left to fade but is preserved for further evidence. When evidence that was found on loose and scattered writings is collected and arranged systematically. It is then stored in plastic bags which are sealed properly-becoming airtight. This is done to avoid contamination. Fingerprints are also taken on a sensitive clean piece of paper and stored properly in an archive. Soil samples are also collected since the chemical composition of the soil varies from place to place. This is done, especially, in the case of murder. When a person is killed and the corpse is found in a far-off place from the place of origin with soil in fingernails and under the soles of the feet (Bodziak, 1990).

Evidence constitutes every other step mentioned above since it is where the real truth is laid out. This is done by analyzing the DNA evidence. The DNA is placed in isolation from an evidence sample containing DNA of which its origin is unknown, the processing of the DNA takes place for results to be obtained, determining the DNA types comparing it and interpreting the test results from both the known and unknown samples. The DNA analysis is carried out in four different ways: polymerase chain reaction analysis (PCR), short tandem repeat analysis (STR), y- chromosome analysis and mitochondrial analysis.

The collected DNA samples are then processed to provide the required results. The DNA is first collected from its biological source material which is then measured to find out the amount of DNA recovered. After the isolation, copying of the specific regions is done by polymerase chain reaction, which produces millions of copies for each DNA segment present. Due to this, minute amounts of DNA are present for examination thus short tandem repeat analysis is carried out to increase the DNA test. The polymerase chain reaction products are then placed in isolation, by slab gel and capillary electrophoresis, and detected to characterize the short tandem repeat analysis region being examined. The DNA is then placed in the respective database ready for matching. This is done by comparing the DNA sample to other samples present. Taking the example of forensic investigation, a comparison is made on the evidence found at the scene and the suspects’ known profile. Another cause may be that of a child. His genotype may be compared to the parents being investigated. It will be considered that the sample of the origins is different source if no similarities and matches are identified. Matching of samples is an indication that there was only one source. From these, a case report is generated which typically includes the random match probability (Butler, n.d.)

In conclusion, this new invention in the field of crime monitoring has greatly contributed to a decline in the number of crimes being committed. Even if one commits a crime and dies, since the necessary evidence is provided, the truth lays out itself. The same has been used in ‘the FBI crime lab’ documentary in the United States of America. This has a great impact on any countries security. Before its invention, a suspect is detained till death before proven guilty!, but thanks to Forensic Science.

Reference List

Bodziak, W. (1990). Footwear Impression Evidence, Elsevier: New York.

Butler. (n.d). Forensic DNA Typing: Biology, Technology, and Genetics of STR Markers. Web.

Explore Forensics. (n.d.). 2010, Web.

Cuthbert, C. (1958). Science and the Detection of Crime, Hutchinson: London.

Entrant, T. (2004). Forensic Science. Web.

Vienna. (2008). How to Identify a Ritualistic Crime Scene. Web. 

West Yorkshire Police. (n.d.). Crime Recording. 2010. Web.

Ratio And Financial Statement Analysis

Executive Summary

Financial ratios show associations between various factors of the business operations. They entail comparison of income statement and balance sheet’s elements. These ratios are grouped into four distinct categories; liquidity ratios (Quick and current ratios), profitability ratios (ROE and ROA), leverage (debt-equity ratio and debt-to-assets ratio) and investors’ ratios (EPS and P/E). These ratios are beneficial since they summarize the financial statements and make it easy for investors to understand but they do have some drawbacks like use of irrelevant information in making future decision and different users of accounting information use different terms to depict financial information among others. Therefore, investors should be aware that ratios are good measures but they cannot be used solely to make financial decision as a result of these drawbacks. Thus, investors should seek other measures like non-financial analysis by looking at management style and experience, and morale of the employees among others.

Introduction

Security analysts and investors frequently use ratios to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of various firms. Ratio analysis is important in analyzing financial statements which is a crucial step before investing in any firm since it quantifies the firm’s performance in various factors like the firm’s ability to be profitable, ability of the firm to pay debt (liquidity of the firm), stability of the firm in paying long-term debt as well as the ability of the company to manage its assets (efficiency). Ratios normally compare the firm’s performance in a certain period and against other firms in the industry in order to determine the firm’s weaknesses and strengths and for investors or managers to take suitable investment and financing decisions (Liu and O’Farrell, 2009).

It is hard to deduce the firm’s performance from two or three simple figures. Nonetheless, in practice some diverse ratios are frequently calculated during strategic planning activities and in general because financial ratios do offer information on relative performance of the firm. Particularly, careful evaluation of a mixture of the ratios might assist in making a distinction between companies that will in the end not succeed from those companies that will succeed. Therefore, ratio analysis is discussed, and some benefits and limitations linked with their usage are emphasized. Lastly, ratios are more relevant when used to evaluate firms in the same industry (Nd.edu, 2010).

Liquidity ratios

For survival, companies should be able to pay creditors and other short-term obligations. In this case, firm should be concerned with its liquidity by use of measures like quick ratio and current ratio. The major difference between these two ratios is that, the former does not use stock while the latter does. Quick ratio is a conventional standard; if it is more than one it implies that the firm is not facing liquidity risk and that is it can be able to pay current liabilities. And if not more than one but current ratio is above one, the firm’s status is more composite. In such a situation, valuation of stocks and stock turnover are clearly crucial (Nd.edu, 2010).

Stock valuation methods life LIFO and FIFO may contaminate current ratio. This is because firms use different methods when valuing stocks, which may overvalue or undervalue the stocks, making it hard to compare firms using current ratio. This means that quick ratio is the most preferred liquidity ratio (Nd.edu, 2010). Consider Hyatt Hotel Corporation’s quick ratio of 2010 and 2009, the firm’s liquidity position decline in 2010, implying that the firm was using more of current liabilities in 2010 compared with 2009. Compared to other firms in the industry like Red Lion Hotels and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Hyatt is more liquid than its competitors who are facing liquidity risk since the ratio is less than one as shown by Table 1.

Leverage

Companies are funded by mixture of equity and debt and the optimal capital structure depends on the tax policy, corporate risk and bankruptcy costs. Two measures are used, debt-equity ratio and debt-to-assets ratio (Nd.edu, 2010).

Just like liquidity ratios, leverage ratios pose some issues in interpretation and measurement. In this case equity and assets are normally measured through book value in financial statements, the book value does not depict the company’s market value or value the creditors would receive if firm is liquidated (Nd.edu, 2010).

Ratios like the debt-to-equity ratios differ significantly crossways industries due to industry’s characteristics and environment.

A utility firm that is more stable can operate comfortably with comparatively superior debt-equity ratio while a cyclical firm like recreational vehicles manufacturer normally requires lower ratio (Nd.edu, 2010).

Frequently analysts use debt-equity ratio to establish the capability of the firm to generate additional finances from capital market. A firm with significant debt is frequently considered to have less additional-funding capacity. In reality, the overall funding capacity of the firm possibly depends on the new product’s quality that the firm is wishing to pursue with its capital structure. Nonetheless, given bankruptcy threat and costs, a superior debt-equity ratio might make future refinance hard (Nd.edu, 2010).

For instance, debt-equity ratio of Hyatt declined in 2010 indicating a reduction in the gearing level of the firm compared to the year 2009. Compared to its competitors, Red Lion and IHG, Hyatt is less geared and IHG is highly geared among the three firms as it is more than 100%. This implies that IHG is facing high financial risks while Hyatt’s financial risk is very low as shown by Table 2.

Profitability

ROE and ROA are measures of firm’s profitability and are widespread in firms. Equity and assets as utilized in these ratios are book values. Therefore, if fixed assets were bought in the past three years at a lower price, this means that the present performance of the firm might be overstated through the utilization of past information. As a consequence, accounting returns of the investment are normally not correlated well with real economic project’s IRR (Nd.edu, 2010).

It is hard to use these two ratios in merger deals to measure the firms’ performance. Assume we have a firm X that used to earn net profit of $1,000 on the assets with book value of $2,000, for a large 50% as ROA. This firm is currently acquired by another firm Y that transfer the additional assets to its balance sheet at the buying price, presuming that the transaction is treated through the use of accounting method of purchase. Actually, the purchase price will be more than $2,000, higher than the assets book value, for a possible acquirer must pay higher price for privilege of gaining $1,000 on an ordinary basis.

Assume further the firm Y pays $3,000 for X’s assets. After the purchase, it will emerge that X’s returns have decreased, Firm X continues to make $1,000 but currently the asset base is at $3,000, and thus the ROA reduces to 33.33%. In reality, ROA might reduce due to other factors like rise in depreciation of the additional assets obtained. However, nothing has happened to net income of the company but only its accounting has changed and not the firm’s performance (Nd.edu, 2010).

ROE and ROA also have another problem in that analyst tend to concentrate on the single years performance, years that might be idiosyncratic. On average, one must evaluate these ratios over some years through use of average to separate returns that are idiosyncratic and attempt to identify patterns (Nd.edu, 2010).

For example, Hyatt’s ROE and ROA indicate that the firm’s profitability increased in 2010 implying that the firm’s efficiency in managing production costs, operating costs and cost of sales as well as assets had improved, while IHG was the most profitable firm among the three firms with, Red Lion being the least profitable firm as shown on Table 3.

Investors’ ratios

These ratios are determined from the performance of the stock market and they include; P/E, Dividend Yield and EPS. EPS is widely used amongst the three ratios. In reality, it is shown on financial statements of the listed firms. EPS indicates how much each share invested in the firm has earned. This means that it is not a useful statistics since it does not show how many fixed assets the company utilized to generate those incomes, and thus nothing on profitability. It also does not show how much the shareholder has paid for each share invested in the firm for rights over the annual income. In addition, the accounting principles used to determine the income might alter these ratios and treatment of stock is also challenging (Nd.edu, 2010).

P/E ratio is also used and it is reported mainly in the daily newspapers. P/E ratio that is high indicates that the investors deem that the firm’s future prospects are superior to its present performance. They are paying more for every share than company’s present income warrant. And still the income is treated in different ways in diverse accounting practices (Nd.edu, 2010).

For example, in 2010 the EPS of Hyatt increased from 0.28 to 0.29 this means that for every share invested in the firm generated $0.29 of the firm’s earnings. Compared to competitors, Red Lion has the least EPS while IHG has the highest. The Hyatt’s P/E indicates the investors in 2009 and 2010 would take 106.46 and 157.79 years to recover their initial investment in shares from the earnings generated by that investment in the firm respectively, while its competitors’ investors will take less years for them to recover their initial investment as shown by Table 4.

Benefits and limitations

Financial analysis involving ratios is a helpful tool for the users of the financial statements. Ratio analysis has some advantages that include; first, they simplify firm’s financial statements and also emphasize significant information in straightforward form quickly. Thus a user of the firm’s financial statements can judge the firm by only looking at some figures instead of examining the entire financial statements. Finally, the analysis assists in comparing firms of varying magnitude within the industry and can be used in comparing one firm financial performance over a particular period of time, normally referred as trend analysis (Accountingexplained.com, 2011).

On the other hand, the analysis poses some disadvantages in that information from the financial accounting is influenced by assumptions and estimates. Accounting standards let varying accounting policies that damages comparability and thus in such circumstances ratio analysis is used less. The ratio analysis describes relationships between historical information while the users are mostly concerned on the present and the future information. Different firms operate in diverse industries with diverse environmental conditions like market structure, and regulation among others. These factors are so important in that an evaluation of the two firms from dissimilar industries may be misleading (Accountingexplained.com, 2011).

For instance, a Chinese firm’s financial ratios might be exposed to misunderstanding by an investor from US as a result of variations in the accounting principles, institutional and culture environments, economic environments and business practices. China adopted IFRS ever since 2007 whilst firms in the United States are still applying U.S. GAAP to report accounting information (Liu and O’Farrell, 2009). The culture of China is centred on the relationships while culture of America is centred on the individuals. In addition the variation between collectivists and individualists, people of China have a tendency of being risk-adverse and conservative.

China is a socialism nation in evolution from the planned economy to the market economy while US on the other hand, is a nation having a market capitalism. These two nations have different GDP growth with China having the highest compared to US. Such variations may decrease the comparability and comprehension of information from financial accounting. The Chinese firms may be found to have lower Asset Turnover ratio probably as a result of firm’s high growth rate, superior Average Collection Period probably as a result of overstated debtors account and the requirement to guarantee steady employment, and a lower Debt to Net Worth ratio probably as a result of risk averseness nature of the Chinese individual investors (Liu and O’Farrell, 2009).

These disadvantages stirred researchers to investigate and make use of methods such as negative examination elimination, trimming, square root, logarithmic, logit as well as utilizing rank transformation in order to attain more projective independent variables (Bahiraie, 2008).

New practices

During utilization of ratios managers are more concerned with misinforming than informing. Managers therefore seek to reduce discretionary costs like advertising, training, research and maintenance among others, with the aim of increasing net profit whilst having a negative effect on the future income potential. New management might likewise write-down assets value to decrease the amortization and depreciation charges for future financial years. An entrepreneur might evade restocking inventory at some point in time especially before the end of the financial year in order to raise the firm’s current ratio. Short-term payment of the current liabilities or debt just before the end of the financial year will accomplish similar outcome. Retained earnings may be corrected for the future stock price decrease and afterwards recorded as net income.

Frequently an assessment of a sequence of the annual statements instead of one year will emphasize such practices. More excessive practices are normally avoided by companies that are required to answer to the regulatory agencies in order to be listed on the stock market or exchange (Best, 2009).

Conclusion and recommendation

Ratios are normally utilized in strategic planning. These ratios may be manipulated through opportunistic practices of accounting. Nonetheless, taken collectively and utilized sensibly, they might assist in identifying companies or business divisions in particular problem. And finding new ventures that are profitable needs more effort. Therefore, investors should carry out their own analyses to determine which firm to invest in. Due to limitations of these ratios, the investors should also consider the non-financial analysis like the leadership style, morale of employees and experience among others.

References

Accountingexplained.com. (2011). Advantages and limitations of financial ratio analysis. Web.

Bahiraie, A., Ibrahim, N., Mohd, I. and Azhar, A. (2008). Financial Ratios: A new geometric transformation. International Research Journal of Finance and Economic, 20:165-171.

Best, B. (2009). The uses of financial statements. Web.

Liu, C. and O’Farrell, G. (2009). China and U.S. financial ratio comparison. International Journal of Business, Accounting, and Finance, 3(2): 1-13.

Nd.edu. (2010). Financial ratio analysis. Web.

Homosexual And Heterosexual Families Are The Same

Abstract

It is often argued that gay/lesbian parenting is unequal, in some aspects, to that of heterosexual parents. This argument is based on the notion that homosexual parents lack the parenting skills and practices that their heterosexual counterparts have. However, the studies reviewed in this paper indicate that parenting depends largely on family processes as opposed to family structure or gender-mix. Moreover, children from homosexual families show the same cognitive abilities, social interactions, self-image, and psychological development as those from heterosexual households.

Introduction

Opponents of homosexual parenting advance the argument that children cared for by gay or lesbian partners do not fare as well as those brought up by heterosexual parents. The major concern raised is that homosexual households are ‘unnatural’ and thus, harmful to the social and mental/emotional development of children (Patterson, 2000). However, research indicates that children of homosexual partners are not different from those of heterosexual parents. Their cognitive abilities, social interactions, and psychological development are the same. This research paper examines scholarly evidence about homosexual families and their children. It reviews studies examining the children’s social relationships, behavior, and cognitive abilities with an aim of establishing that homosexual partners are capable parents just like their heterosexual counterparts.

Psychological and Social Development

The main concern raised in child adoption cases is that homosexual households are ‘unnatural’, which affects the social and personal wellbeing as well as the self-image of the children. However, studies suggest that children of homosexual parents have similar “cognitive and physical abilities and self-concept” as their counterparts from heterosexual families (Wainright, Russell & Patterson, 2004, p. 887). Wainright et al. (2004) further indicate that children of homosexual parents have “normal and healthy social relationships” with their parents and peers (p. 889). Thus, a homosexual household does not disadvantage a child in any aspect of social or cognitive development.

The capacity of parents to be supportive and caring has a big influence on a child’s development and identity formation. Patterson (2000) found no significant difference between heterosexual and homosexual families in terms of parental relationship quality, care, closeness, and support for child self-independence. This shows that children from homosexual families develop normally as those from heterosexual households. A research by Fulcher, Chan, Raboy, and Patterson (2002) established that children from lesbian households interact with adults and relatives, including grandparents, in the same way those from heterosexual homes do. Grandparents play a supplementary parenting role, which helps strengthen the quality of child-parent relationships. In this study, in both heterosexual and lesbian couples, the children interacted frequently with maternal grandparents, indicating that sexual orientation has no influence on the social development of children.

The Quality of Parenting

Research shows that the quality of parenting does not differ between homosexual and heterosexual families. Other studies have established that homosexual parents, compared to their heterosexual counterparts, have superior parenting practices. Golombok, Tasker, and Murray (1997) found that lesbian mothers interacted with their children more frequently than single mothers did. In this study, children reported that their lesbian mother was “dependable and available” (Golombok et al., 1997, p. 783). Additionally, maternal affection was the same in both heterosexual and homosexual families.

In another study, Patterson (2000) found that lesbian parents have a stronger attachment to their kids than heterosexual ones. They also showed superior parenting styles and relationships, which are vital in healthy upbringing of children. In particular, lesbian partners were more egalitarian in sharing parenting roles compared to heterosexual parents (father and mother) (Patterson, 2000). In particular, lesbian parents shared the role of family income earner more equitably than heterosexual parents did.

In general, women in lesbian relationships score highly in terms of parenting skills than those in heterosexual marriages. The quality of paternal care in a homosexual relationship is also superior to that of fathers in heterosexual families (Fulcher et al., 2002). A comparison of homosexual couples and single mothers by Golombok et al. (1997) revealed that gay or lesbian parents exhibit higher parenting awareness skills than opposite-sex parents. Due to superior parenting awareness skills, same-sex parents are able to identify and address problems, taking into consideration the gender differences.

Additionally, children in heterosexual families tend to show a preference for either the mother or father and therefore, only share emotional issues with one parent (Fulcher et al., 2002). By contrast, in homosexual families, children are free with both parents and can discuss emotional issues with them. Research also indicates that, compared to heterosexual parents, homosexual couples are often against physical punishment of children (Golombok et al., 1997). This implies that children in homosexual households are less likely to suffer parental abuse than their counterparts in heterosexual homes are. Children from lesbian/gay households also grow in a gender-neutral environment. Unlike heterosexual parents, gay/lesbian partners are not gender-stereotyped and thus, give children the freedom to choose their preferred toys or clothing.

Behavior Patterns

Research shows that children from homosexual families do not display more behavioral problems than those from heterosexual households. Wainright et al. (2004) establish that psychosocial problems do not differ significantly between children from lesbian/gay families and those from heterosexual homes. In this study, behavioral attributes, such as depression, poor self-image, and anxiety, were no different between the two groups. Additionally, factors related to family life, such as household tasks and parental care, were found to have a bigger influence on child behavior than the sexual orientation of the parents.

In terms of behavior problems, research evidence shows that “substance abuse, delinquency, or feelings of victimization” are not different between children raised by same-sex parents and those brought up in heterosexual households (Wainright et al., 2004, p. 889). This challenges the notion that children cared for by same-sex parents are likely to develop psychological or behavior problems. In addition, the sexual orientation of the parent has been found to have little effect on the cognitive ability, self-image, and social functioning of children (Fulcher et al., 2002). This indicates that the psychological development of children raised in either gay/lesbian-parented households or heterosexual ones is the same. They display similar levels of “anxiety and psychological adjustment”, which means that their academic and social outcomes are the same (Fulcher et al., 2002, p. 65).

In general, positive behavior patterns are more prevalent in children of gay/lesbian parents than in their counterparts from heterosexual families. In school, they display externalizing behaviors and are more affectionate, self-reliant, and responsible than their counterparts from heterosexual households (Golombok et al., 1997). This stems from the fact that they are raised in broad-minded, equitable, and sociable environments. They are polite and reserved and thus, have less behavioral problems compared to their counterparts from heterosexual households.

Family Roles and Responsibilities

The parenting role in homosexual families is shared between the partners. Thus, lesbian or gay partners exhibit greater satisfaction compared to heterosexual parents. Patterson (2000) notes that the high satisfaction present in homosexual households is a protective factor against stress associated with childcare. In particular, lesbian couples score highly in terms of satisfaction because they share parenting roles equally. In Patterson’s (2000) view, the satisfaction enhances relationship stability, which is essential in parenting. This implies that equitable parenting leads to stable homosexual families that lead to better social and academic outcomes.

Other factors that contribute to relationship stability among gay/lesbian couples include cohesion, intimacy, and cooperation (Patterson, 2000). The cohesion enhances parental compatibility, which translates into better parenting of children. Golombok et al. (1997) suggests that lesbian parents develop a ‘synergistic pattern’ that fosters equity, communication, and responsiveness in the home. This makes homosexual relationships stable and thus, less prone to dissolution. Children from stable families experience less psychological stress and thus, have better outcomes than those from unstable parental relationships. Thus, relationship dynamics and parenting practices are not different between gay/lesbian and heterosexual parents. Moreover, the rate of separation or divorce does not differ significantly between the two types of families (Golombok et al., 1997). This implies that factors that lead to relationship dissolution are the same regardless of the family type.

Studies also establish that an ideal family structure for children is one with high levels of “stability, cooperation, cohesion, warmth, and care” (Patterson, 2000, p. 155). In contrast, parental conflicts, regardless of the family type, have adverse effects on the children’s social and psychological outcomes. In this regard, disputes between parents, who are the primary caregivers, can affect the wellbeing of the children. Fulcher et al. (2002) establishes that, in all family types, parental disputes and stress lead to greater behavior problems in children. This implies that the sexual orientation of the parents has no effect on the psychological adjustment of the children.

Golombok et al.’s (1997) survey of children from homosexual households and single mother families found that maternal warmth influenced behavior in children. In this study, children whose parents exhibited less stress caring for them showed “fewer emotional and behavioral problems” (Golombok et al., 1997, p. 787). This indicates that, regardless of family structure, factors related to family life, such as parenting stress, have a big influence on the children’s emotional outcomes. Their self-image, school-functioning, and psychological development has no relationship with family structure. On the contrary, family processes have a big influence on the behavior of children. Due to equality and shared parenting roles, homosexual family environments tend to favor positive outcomes among children. Overall, research has shown that the parenting practices of homosexual families are similar to, if not better than, those of heterosexual parents.

Conclusion

The studies reviewed show that family processes have a big influence on the social and emotional wellbeing of children regardless of the family. Family factors such as equal parenting tasks, cohesion, and cooperation influence the cognitive and psychosocial development of the children. Children from homosexual families show equal cognitive abilities, academic development, and self-image as those from heterosexual households. Additionally, the quality of their social relationships and emotional adjustment is not different from that of children brought up by heterosexual families. These findings indicate that gay/lesbian parents are capable of raising children as their heterosexual counterparts.

References

Fulcher, M., Chan, R. W., Raboy, B., & Patterson, C. J. (2002). Contact with Grandparents among Children Conceived via Donor Insemination by Lesbian and Heterosexual Mothers. Parenting: Science and Practice, 2(1), 61-76.

Golombok, S., Tasker, F., & Murray, C. (1997). Children Raised in Fatherless Families from Infancy: Family Relationships and the Socioemotional Development of Children in Lesbian and Single Heterosexual Mothers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(7), 783-791.

Patterson, C.J. (2000). Family Relationships of Lesbians and Gay Men. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 152- 169.

Wainright, J. L., Russell, S. T., & Patterson, C. J. (2004). Psychosocial Adjustment, School Outcomes, and Romantic Relationships of Adolescents with Same-sex Parents. Child Development, 75(6), 886-898.

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