Let me set the scene – Your child has made it to Kindergarden. The teacher is kind, loving and sets good boundaries – everything you hoped for as your child leaves the nest and starts their academic career.
Then little buddy comes home and reports that teacher read a book about a prince who loves another prince. And they kiss.
Do you cringe even a little bit? Maybe it feels a wee bit too early? You are supportive of gay and lesbian rights but does it seem like too complicated a message for your still young and innocent babe?
Since you are teaching your kids about sex on an ongoing basis, you can help them make sense of what they learn in school. Like so many topics, at times you’ll want to expand on and reinforce a lesson and sometimes you’ll want to contradict what your children have been taught. That’s how your values as a parent can be asserted once kids hit school. Studies confirm that our communications at home strongly influence our kids lives. Of course, just ’cause they are in school doesn’t mean our job is over.
Some people think that teaching really young kids about gays and lesbians is confusing to them. Truth is, kids are the least confused by it.
I think it’s great when, every once in a while, the books my kids hear or read have LGBT content. I feel the same way when they’re presented with characters in books that have a variety of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. I do a little dance inside when my kids read books where characters have disabilities but where the story isn’t about the disability. After all, my kids live in a diverse city and all kinds of families and people are part of their lives. (For those of you in smaller and more homogenous locales, there is the global community that your family exists within.) Also, whether we’ve considered or reconciled the possibility, our kids might one day identify as LGBT, and might be very glad for the inclusivity and reflection of all kinds of people even in their earliest school days.
Once, while picking up my kid at daycare, his friend asked ‘do you live in a house or apartment?’ I answered ‘A house. How ’bout you?’. She answered the question and we both nodded as we integrated the information. Then she asked why my son has two moms. I answered that it’s because his other mom and I love eachother and wanted to have kids. She nodded. I asked ‘Do you have two moms?’ She answered ‘No, I have one mom and two dads’. Another parent then piped in ‘I have two moms and two dads’. Then we all talked about how our families all look a bit different and how awesome it is to have people that love us.
Whether you feel pleased as punch or a bit on the shocked side, remember to be open to all sorts of conversations, even if you hadn’t planned on having them just yet. And keep in mind that your verbal and nonverbal reactions send all kinds of messages to your kids.
Convo starters and questions
- What is love?
- What are some of the ways people show each other love?
- Can two princes love each other and kiss?
- Can two men/two women be a family? Why/Why not?
- How do we know if certain people are part of a family? What are some of the clues that might help us guess?
- There are lots of different kinds of families. Some kids have two moms, or two dads…
- Did you know that two men (two women) are allowed to get married? (Depending on jurisdiction, this might vary, though hopefully not for too long!)
- Did you know that ________ loves another man/woman?