How to talk to your children about homosexuality

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How to talk to your children about homosexuality
How to talk to your children about homosexuality
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As the world becomes more understanding of LGBT people, children learn about human diversity at a younger age. Even if your children do not become part of the LGBTQ community, it will be useful for them to learn the basics so that they can develop a good friendship with the people around them.

Steps

Part 1 of 3: Set the Guidelines

Asexual Person Thinking
Asexual Person Thinking

Step 1. Keep in mind that you will have multiple conversations

LGBT topics are complicated, so you won't be able to teach them all to your kids in one 20-minute conversation. You may need to have a few conversations about it throughout your childhood, which is normal.

  • If your child seems uninterested, stop talking about it. He won't learn much if he doesn't pay attention to you. You can continue the conversation another day.
  • If you are willing and have a lot of questions, this is a sign that you need more information. You can have her check out books from the library so she can learn more and take a break from explaining.
Middle Aged Man Talking
Middle Aged Man Talking

Step 2. Use an open and informative tone of voice

Your attitude will help shape your children's attitudes, and you can help them feel that there is nothing to be nervous about. Use the same shade you would use to describe why you go shopping every weekend, or why the sky turns red when the sun goes down.

Parent Speaks Happily to Child in Backyard
Parent Speaks Happily to Child in Backyard

Step 3. Keep the conversation at an age-appropriate level

Young children may want to know why two boys are holding hands, but may not be able to understand complex issues such as discrimination in the workplace or how sexual attraction works.

Pile of Books
Pile of Books

Step 4. You can check out informational books or movies in the library

It can be a book about a girl holding hands with another girl, or a drama about a teenager with two dads. In any case, LGBT inclusive media can help normalize the idea of different orientations.

Look for age-appropriate reading or visuals. In general, if your child has seen heterosexual couples do something in a story (eg, a prince and princess kissing), they might also be ready to see LGB couples doing the same

Part 2 of 3: Explain the details

Mother Sits with Happy Child
Mother Sits with Happy Child

Step 1. Mention what the letters LGBTQIA designate

It helps children to know the various possibilities, so that they have words for what they see or experience. Your child should know about gays and lesbians, bisexual and pansexual people, aromantic people, asexuals, transgender people, etc. Even if you are straight and cisgender, this will help you support the people you meet.

If you become LGBT, knowing the vocabulary and having a safe environment in your home can reduce your risk of developing mental health problems and give you a much happier life

Cheerful Trans Girl Talks About Dress
Cheerful Trans Girl Talks About Dress

Step 2. Explain that a person's real gender is what they feel inside

Some people are transgender, which means they were born the wrong sex, and their appearance will not always match what they feel inside. Explain this objectively and gently so that she learns to accept the transgender people she meets.

  • A young child may understand something like the following: “When Jane was little, her parents thought she was a boy. However, the truth is that she is a girl. Now that we all know the truth, we can treat her like the girl she really is. "
  • Your child will likely have at least one transgender partner during their school years. A basic education about transgender people can help you understand your peers and learn to be kind and supportive.
Dancing Kid in Blue Tutu
Dancing Kid in Blue Tutu

Step 3. Explain that you cannot determine for sure if someone is gay based solely on their behavior or appearance

The masculinity or femininity of a person is not related to their sexual orientation. Some men are "feminine" and some women are "masculine" but they are not gay. Some men are "masculine" and some women are "feminine" but they are gay. Each person is different, and the orientation will not define more than the attraction of the person.

  • These are examples of actions that do not make a person gay: wearing a loincloth or short underwear, having sigmatism or a certain haircut, speaking with a high or low tone, hugging someone of the same gender, seeing someone of the same gender naked genre, taking a shower naked in the locker room, listening to songs from musicals, etc.
  • Explain that some gay people act in "stereotypical" ways, and others do not. Neither of them is better than the other; people must be the way they are.
Teen Girls Kissing
Teen Girls Kissing

Step 4. Explain that sexual curiosity is natural

Many children and adolescents are curious about the bodies of others, including people of the same gender and of different genders. Healthy experimentation does not dictate your orientation.

  • A kiss, a touch, a dream, or a sexual experience does not define orientation. It could have been a passing curiosity, a sign about your real orientation, or something in between. Experimentation is normal.
  • Mention that some people have little or no sexual curiosity at all. In this way, if your child turns out to be aromatic or asexual, he will feel that there is no problem and that there is nothing wrong with him.
Teen Girl Feels Fenced In
Teen Girl Feels Fenced In

Step 5. Be clear about sexual safety and peer pressure

Experimentation is healthy when done in a safe and consensual way. Explain that some people are not ready to do certain things, and that there is no problem with it. They shouldn't let pressure force them to do something they don't feel ready for, nor should they force someone who doesn't feel ready.

  • Explain the basics of consent. The other person should be awake and alert (without having had alcohol!), Willing, and an active partner. If they seem disinterested or insecure, or if they act distant, they should not be pressed.
  • Make sure your teens know how to use protection. If you don't want to have an awkward conversation, direct them to websites like Scarleteen so they can learn.
Hijabi Woman Discusses Time
Hijabi Woman Discusses Time

Step 6. Encourage them to take their time

They may not know your identity from the start, or it may be a long and difficult journey. Explain that there is no "right" way to get to know each other and that they can take the time they need. Encourage them not to push themselves and not to have a problem with not knowing if they are confused.

  • Some children identify their orientation early, in their preteen years. Others take longer or explore several different options before finding the one that is right for them.
  • If your child is firm with his guidance, consider that it is not a phase. It will be important that you believe him. If he was really wrong, he will have to figure things out on his own, and he will know that you will protect him.

Part 3 of 3: Dealing with Social Circumstances

Diverse Group of Young People
Diverse Group of Young People

Step 1. Encourage your child to respect others

Make it clear that there is no problem with being different, and that you should treat yourself with compassion and accept people of all backgrounds and personalities.

  • If someone doesn't want to talk about their orientation, that's okay. Respect their privacy.
  • If someone tells you about their orientation, believe them.
Artsy Teen Mentions Sapphic Love
Artsy Teen Mentions Sapphic Love

Step 2. Remind them that the only ones who fully know their orientation are themselves

You can help your children address questions about their own identity, but in the end, the words they use to define themselves will be their choice (and only theirs). Likewise, in the case of other people, they will be the only ones who know their own orientation, and your children must respect them and take their word for it.

It can be hurtful to try to guess someone else's orientation or not believe them when they tell you

Son Talks to Dad
Son Talks to Dad

Step 3. Be honest about harassment and discrimination

Your child has likely witnessed them in some way, even if they don't fully understand. Make it clear that bullying occurs, is a bad thing, and is the bully's fault for choosing to be cruel (and not the victim's).

  • Teach your child the phrase "I'm fine, he's the cruel one." This can protect your self-esteem when you experience bullying, regardless of whether it is due to perceived orientation or another reason.
  • Teach him some basic intervention strategies, such as asking the victim to spend time with him, or creating a distraction like having all his books "accidentally" drop.
Man Gently Shushes
Man Gently Shushes

Step 4. Talk about the importance of privacy

Due to discrimination, personal insecurity, and different personalities, some people don't like to open up about their orientations. This will be your choice. Explain to your child that each person decides how sincere they want to be, and should keep up with the other person.

  • After someone reveals their orientation, your child should ask if this information is private. This way, there will be no misunderstandings about whether you can tell it. For example, you may not care if your group of friends know about it, but not the teachers.
  • If you're not sure, a good rule of thumb is not to tell. Make it clear that your children should not reveal the guidance of any of their friends, unless they have specifically told them that there is no problem.
Man Hugs Teen Girl
Man Hugs Teen Girl

Step 5. Confirm that they can come to you with any questions they may have

Your teens might be part of some difficult social situations like bullying, or they might want to help a friend who is struggling, or they might find they are part of the LGBT community. If they know that you care and are willing to help them, this will make a big difference.

  • Be willing to listen to your child and validate their feelings. This will help build a strong relationship, and it will encourage him to come to you in the future. Children and teens turn to good listeners for help, so be one.
  • Show casual acceptance of every LGBT person you meet. Speak positively or neutrally about their identity. This will set the example of acceptance and show that he can trust you.

Advice

  • Always be supportive and help your child understand that they should never use demeaning nicknames that they might have heard.
  • Explain that being naked in the dressing room has nothing to do with homosexuality. This way, your child will not feel uncomfortable in the locker room as a teenager or an adult.
  • Teach your children the difference between an intimate friendship and a romance. Two friends can love each other without being gay.

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