How to speak to children about the LGBQT community
While it is, of course, acceptable to share your outlooks, try to do so without being judgmental or dwelling on inappropriate scenarios.
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In today’s society, children are exposed to many life experiences on a day-to-day basis. As they make observations of their surroundings, questions arise about various situations, people and relationships. A topic that comes up frequently, as children become more aware of their environment, is that of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Questioning Transgender (LGBQT) community.
Many parents find it challenging to discuss topics like sexuality with their children. Regardless of a desire to be reserved about the subject, it is inevitable that there will be questions to answer. Despite your personal opinions on populations such as the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Questioning Transgender (LGBQT) community, you should formulate answers to questions which may arise, before they are put on the table.
It can be tough to refrain from sharing personal views about topics such as gay marriage, whether you are a supporter, against it or undecided on the issue. However, studies suggest that remaining neutral while speaking with your children about this topic and answering questions will give them a chance to raise awareness and formulate their own opinions. Try to maintain control over your emotions. While it is, of course, acceptable to share your outlooks, try to do so without being judgmental or dwelling on inappropriate scenarios.
Some parents feel uncomfortable discussing the sexual preferences of others because they assume you need to talk about sexual interactions. This concept does not hold true. Keeping it as simple as explaining companionship, love and dedication to relationships could all help children to understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to the sexual orientation of others.
A great way to respond to initial questions which may arise is by explaining that each individual has a right to love whoever they want. Some women love men, some men love women, while the opposite may be true. At times, women are attracted to and fall in love with other women. The same holds true for men.
Russell Kemp, a resident of Manhattan, who is a homosexual, became legally married to his partner of over 20 years, two years ago. The couple has two children who they adopted at birth. Mr. Kemp explains that from an early age, his children were exposed to conversations about the sexual orientation of others. Both Mr. Kemp and his husband believe that having an open-door policy in their home is what helps their children to feel secure and safe. Mr. Kemp states, "There is no reason not to be honest with children. We think that taking the time to explain to them the diversity of people: culturally, religiously and sexually enables them to develop an acceptance of others."
At some point in your child’s life, there is the possibility that they will question their sexuality. "I am gay." Three words which seem simple. Nonetheless, how a parent or caregiver receives these words can be anything but simple. Many accept and support their children. Some don’t know what to say or do. After your child discloses this information, they need to hear honest while positive affirmations. While speaking with them, it's important to let your child know that you love them and you're there for them. During this stage, there should be both acceptance and open discussions in order to make your child feel comfortable. Fostering an atmosphere of respect for your children is essential. Studies have shown that simultaneously supporting youths' sexual identities without constantly talking about it is what creates a nurturing and safe environment.
In June of 2013, Ashford University created a campaign promoting awareness and wellness. In this campaign they suggested ways individuals could support members of the LGBQT population. Three of the most imperative aspects of support include: Be a listener, be open-minded and be willing to talk. These three suggestions could also be implemented in your home regardless of the sexual orientation of your family members. Families have an impact on their children and, knowing this as parents, it is imperative to create an educational and nurturing environment for your children regardless of the matter. Answer questions. Ask questions. Let your children be themselves. Be yourself.