As a gay dad lots of parents in the schoolyard or sports field seek me out for advice on how to talk to their children about homosexuality – apparently as a gay man I’m an expert in all things gay, but that’s for another discussion…
I think talking about same-sex attraction with our children is much the same as talking sex and relationships with our children regardless of the gender of the parties involved, so my tips are brief:
- Avoid being gender specific… If you can talk about people liking one another, two people being in love. The characters in your story do not have to be a man and a woman but rather just people.
- Don’t be nervous nor alarmed, despite the fact your heart is thumping faster than it has in a while as this is a chat you don’t want to stuff up. Keep your voice calm, talk as if you are chatting about a football game, we want to normalise relationships for our children so don’t make them complicated right from the start. Also, by presenting as calm and relaxed you send a subtle message to your child that this is something you are cool with and they can always come and chat with you about sex, sexuality and relationships.
- Keep it simple… Talk with your child where they are at, don’t flood them with details and information they are not ready to hear. You will know how much they want to know by the questions they ask and how giggly and squeamish they are by what you say. Although it can be fun to tease our children, don’t push it too far with this said topic!
- Focus on the relationship, not the sex… A bit like tip one but taking it further by talking about the love dynamic of the people involved. Use examples if you can, many of our friends, of course, refer to my family as a way to exemplify the boring sameness of same-sex relationships and families.
- Be confident and considered in your answers… As mentioned before your child will ask questions to meet where their thinking is at, don’t be judgemental and alarmed by some of their questions, most of their research on such topics comes from the playground. So be aware of what you say as also we don’t want them to feel judged around such topics.
So, all in all, talking same-sex relationships with your child is just about talking relationship with your child. Create an open honest dialogue free of judgement and criticism and all will be fine!
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