from Parenting & Family
by William J. Maier, Psy.D.
A child psychologist explains why the agency "Big Brothers" should not invite gay men to serve as mentors to fatherless boys.
The folks at "Big Brothers" won't return my calls. I wish they would, because I'd like to ask them a few questions about their new policy. I've learned they are forcing all 490 of their local chapters around the country to accept homosexuals as mentors to kids. You see, I'm a child psychologist and I'm not sure that's such a good idea.
Of course there are many gays and lesbians who would like to help kids. But fatherless boys and motherless girls are in desperate need of healthy, same-sex, adult role models. Why? Because they don't have a parent of their own gender to show them how it's done.
I've worked with a lot of fatherless boys. Many of them have never even met their dads. They were either born out of wedlock or deserted by immature or irresponsible men. Many are emotionally fragile and suffering from what one sociologist has coined "father need." These boys are desperate for male attention and affirmation. Their moms are doing the best they can, and desire more than anything else for their sons to grow up to be good husbands and fathers. Unfortunately they can't learn those skills from a gay man, no matter how nice he is.
As a psychologist, another concern I have about Big Brothers' new policy is the issue of sexual attraction. Big Brothers doesn't match up adult men with teenage girls. They never have and they never will. That's because it would set up a risky situation which could lead to sexual abuse. Why then, do they want to pair gay men with teenage boys? Nearly all of the recent molestation incidents involving the Catholic Church were between a man and a boy. Dr. Curtis Bryant, a psychologist who has worked with 400 abusive priests, reports that most of those he has treated are gay (Washington Post, 8/26). In light of these facts, Big Brothers' new policy seems reckless and irresponsible.
Certainly most gay men are not pedophiles. But many mainstream gay leaders continue to promote the virtues of sex between men and boys. The San Francisco Sentinel has stated "The love between men and boys is at the foundation of homosexuality." Another gay publication, The Guide, declared "Instead of fearing being labeled pedophiles, we must proudly proclaim that sex is good, including children's sexuality. We must do it for the children's sake." Statements like these beg the question: how can pairing a boy, starving for male attention, with a gay man be a good idea?
I have another question for Big Brothers. Don't single moms have a right to know when their sons are matched with homosexual mentors? In statements to the press, the national office of Big Brothers-Big Sisters claims "all matches are approved by the parent." While this is true in their community-based program, they admit it does not apply to the 70,000 children in their school-based program (Associated Press, 8/16). Parents whose kids are enrolled in this program will not be told when their son or daughter is paired with a gay man or a lesbian woman. Clearly this circumvents parental rights and undermines parental values.
The dictionary defines "mentor" as "counselor or guide." Certainly boys without dads and girls without moms can benefit from additional guidance. But are these children best served by gay and lesbian "guides?" The latest scientific statistics indicate that 1 to 3 percent of the U.S. population is homosexual. But children from single-parent homes need to learn how to succeed and thrive in the 97% world. Can they truly learn these skills from homosexual mentors?
Big Brothers-Big Sisters claims their new policy is about "inclusion" and "anti-discrimination." But must we put the "rights" of mentors above the safety and well being of children and the wishes of their parents? Is Big Brothers really looking out for kids, or simply caving in to heavy-handed pressure from gay activists?
I'd like to ask them, but they haven't been returning my calls.
William J. Maier, Psy.D. is a child and family psychologist and serves as Psychologist in Residence at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. Maier specializes in parent training and education. His primary area of research interest is the impact of cultural trends on child development and family functioning.