Talking to Your Child About the LGBTQ Community
As a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to know the right thing to say when kids question what we deem to be adult topics. Broaching topics of sexuality can be awkward for both parties, however, it is a necessary conversation to have. Here are some tips on talking to a child about the LGBTQ+ community.
When it comes to talking about homosexuality and transgender individuals, children should be given age-appropriate information so they can better understand and empathize with others. Regardless of whether or not your child is LGBTQ+, having a conversation about LGBTQ+ issues will help reduce prejudice while teaching compassion and empathy.
When to Talk
It’s never too late to start talking to a child about the LGBTQ Community. While there may be initial discomfort and reluctance from preadolescent children and older, ultimately having these discussions with your children will help them develop a sense of safety and security with you, while it teaches them tolerance and acceptance.
For young children, the age of 5 is a good time to begin discussing these topics by sharing some basic information with them.
What to Say
For young children, keep the conversation simple and focus on basic concepts. When talking about homosexuality, you can explain to your child that just as a man and a woman can fall in love, so can a man with a man, and a woman with a woman. When talking about transgender individuals, you can explain that how a person looks on the outside isn’t always how they feel on the inside. You can refer to the familiar adage about “not judging a book by its cover.”
Children should understand the basic concept that even though people may look different than us, they are people just like we are and equally deserving of love, acceptance, and respect.
You Don’t Have to Know Everything
Your child may have questions that you can’t answer. It’s okay to admit to your child when you don’t know the right answer. This could be a discussion point for later after you’ve done some research, or it could be a good opportunity for you to learn from your child. Organizations, such as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), are available to help parents and family members learn to support and advocate for their LGBTQ+ loved ones.
Are you a parent in need of parenting advice and support? A trained, licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today at 317-754-0808, and we can set up an appointment to talk.