Maybe you’re familiar with this scenario; your child comes home from school and starts to inquire about boys liking boys and girls liking girls. He/she makes mention of one of their classmates who seems to act “different” than the other boys or girls.
Children are naturally inquisitive, but this line of questioning is undeniably more than that. Your child wants answers and you had better figure out how to provide them; quickly.
The first time this happened to me I was caught off guard and honestly didn’t know what to say. I knew immediately that my 5th grader was referencing a classmate who was gay. I decided to shoot straight. I took a deep breath and dove into the conversational abyss of sexuality in an attempt to help my son understand that people are different, I told him:
"...sometimes boys like boys and girls like girls."
I also expressed my personal opinion on the matter letting him know that I don’t treat people differently because of who they like. I told him that we should love everyone and treat them with respect as long as it doesn’t compromise our own beliefs. I urged him to avoid making fun of kids who are different, even if everyone else thinks it’s okay.
In my daughter’s case it hits closer to home because her best friend is going through a bisexual crisis at the moment. I struggled with whether or not ‘sleepovers’ should be nixed altogether, once her best friends sexuality was disclosed to me. My approach has always been and will continue to be firm communication with my children about sexuality and everything else. If you limit what your kids can talk to you about, you’re creating roadblocks that you won’t be able to tear down when it really counts.
Are you comfortable discussing sexuality with your kids?
Words: Sid Powell