Connect with Kids recently published an article on teen kids with gay parents. Is it a struggling? If so, for who? The kids, the parents or society?
Source: Connect with Kids
Teen Children of Gay Parents
“A lot of teenagers will use (the word) ‘gay’ to mean ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’… which is not true.”Yes, the kids are alright. New research on the behavior of children of gay parents, published in the journal Family Process, reveals that the kids are not only psychologically healthy, but often appear to exhibit a lower incidence of social problems than their peers. What — and when – gay parents tell children can make a difference on how those kids handle their non-traditional family situation.
– Jordan, 14, whose mother is a lesbian
– Jordan, 14, whose mother is a lesbian
When Jordan was nine, his mom broke the news.
“Up to that point, I had not expressed to him that I was a lesbian,” says Lisa, his mom.
Jordan says initially he didn’t think much of it, but now that he’s older…
“I’m afraid a lot of people are going to be looking at my mom and others and thinking that ‘they’re not right,’ and that’s not true,” says Jordan.
Experts say adolescence for a child of a gay parent can be especially tough.
“You have a dual adjustment situation where a child is struggling to adjust to their own sexuality and to come to more adult terms about their parents sexuality, and on top of that, they’re trying to adjust to their peer group,” says Dr. Cathy Blusiewicz, an adolescent psychologist.
And what peers think and say can mean everything to a teenager.
“One difficulty of adolescence is that real desire to fit in and to be like everybody else,” says Dr. Blusiewicz.
Experts say support groups for children of gay parents can help your child meet other kids in the same situation.
“It’s comforting not to feel like you’re the only one,” says Dr. Blusiewicz.
And by talking openly about sexuality early on, at age-appropriate levels, experts say both straight and gay parents can help their child grow up to be more accepting adolescents.
“From a very young age, I have raised him to be open to difference,” says Mrs. Prince, “to stand up for who he is on any level, whether it’s about his family, or any other issue that he feels strongly about.
Jordan’s friends know his mom is a lesbian and think it’s no big deal. But to those who do, he says…
“I’m not really concerned about that. I don’t have to take the insults in. I don’t have to take weird looks and stuff like that.”
What We Need To KnowTeaching a child the dangers of harassment and/or bullying behavior based upon sexual preference can be a very difficult process for some parents. As with other discussions, there are a number of things that parents can do to make the discussion a little easier and more effective.
- Parents need to inform themselves before they talk with their kids. Parents need to get the facts about homosexuality and need to be prepared to share the facts their kids in an age-appropriate manner.
- Parents need to come to grips with their own feelings regarding gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and to share those values with their children in the context of the discussion. For many parents, this is the most difficult aspect of the conversation, and there are no easy answers to the problem.
- Parents need to maintain a calm and non-critical atmosphere for the discussion. Try to use words that are comfortable and familiar when talking to kids about important topics. Parents should also try to encourage the child to talk and ask questions. They need to know that they can talk about things with the parents freely and without fear of consequence.
- It is important for parents to search for a support group of other parents who share their same concerns and are facing the same issues. If one is not available in your area, organize one. The sharing of ideas and fears can help alleviate anxiety and give parents ideas and thoughts they may not have realized otherwise.