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In the article, Saltzburg (2004) delves deeply into the parenting experience where parents learn that their children (adolescents) are gay or lesbian. The study majorly focuses on exploring parents’ discovery of gay tendencies in their adolescents, the psychosocial effect it has on them, and how these parents deal with the discoveries as well as the effects.
On the parents’ end, Saltzburg (2004) notes that feelings of shame, loss, guilt, cognitive and emotional dissonance are some of the major forces that have, so far, been reported to regulate the lives of parents in regards to the discovery and embracing the gay or lesbian lifestyle of their children. Nonetheless, Saltzburg (2004) says that there have been very few studies that specifically focus on the parenting side of the gay or lesbian issue. It is based on that reason that the author, in fact, conducts the study which is concisely represented in her article.
A good number of the above-mentioned issues by the previous researches are affirmed. In addition, Saltzburg’s research shows that most parents eventually accept the lesbian or gay identity of their children. Moreover, her study delineates that timely precaution and post-responses should be taken if this issue is to be utterly dealt with.
Commendably, Saltzburg’s research greatly ensures that it achieves its purpose in the most efficient way possible. However, the following limitations come up from the research documentations. Firstly, the scope of the study was limited since only seven parents were surveyed. This gives a restricted backing to the arguments. Secondly, the assessment of the middle-class parents offers a partial socioeconomic representation of the study. A more circumspect socioeconomic representation needs to be done. Thirdly, the selection of parents from middle forties to early fifties tends to limit the study from offering an incisive age analysis. Other age brackets of gay or lesbian adolescents’ parents should have been incorporated. Fourthly, there is no gender balance in the study as it is based on 5:2 female to male ratio of parents. This, combined with the last (sixth) issue of racial imbalance (a heterogeneously white population was used in the study), makes the study lack a strong scholarly punch for gender balanced research audience that might have been targeted in the study.
A renowned scholarly theory that can be used to explain the limitations of Saltzburg’s assertions is the Psychoanalytic theory advanced by Sigmund Freud. In this theory, Freud says that psychological behaviors develop through a series of stages —the pre-Oedipal stage, the Oedipal complex stage, and the unconscious stage. Through these stages, three facets (the Ego, the ID and the Super Ego) determine behaviors.
The ID is developed right from the birth when children acquire certain mannerisms based on their surrounding environments and how they chose to interpret situations. These include tendencies put forward by Saltzburg (2004) where parents noted their boys becoming more sexually oriented to boyish stuff rather than to the opposite sex’s one as it is expected. The ego essentially injects the realistic aspect of responding whereby behaviors are rationalized in the brain. For instance, parents of gay or lesbian teenagers aware of the societal criticism of this “abnormal” sexual behavior thus shy away from talking about it to other people. Lastly, the super ego entails moral uprightness in the interpretations made by people — both children and adults. A number of issues about psychoanalysis theory are yet to be ascertained. Nonetheless, the relevance of its principles offers great insights into adolescent gay or lesbian behavior as well as that of their parents.
Saltzburg, S. (2004). Learning that an adolescent is gay or lesbian: the parent experience. Social Work, 49(1), 109-120.