Daniel Linder, MFT
Children of gay couples
When gay couples are raising children in a heterosexual society, they need to be able to give their children a reality check and explain to them what’s going on. They need to give their children a heads-up and create a safe space for them to come home to and ask whatever questions they have, or report whatever experiences they have had that are confusing. This is important because, when they go out in the world, they’re going to see things and be treated in a different way than they’re treated at home. And so the parents need to be able to account for that and have a space where they can talk about it with their children and explain what’s going on, explain that a lot of what’s happening is happening because they, the parents, are in an alternate lifestyle.
They need to explain that this is different from the norm, and when there are differences from the norm, people are going to respond differently. Just being able to talk a lot about it and explain a lot about what’s going on in the world to your children is going to go a long way to mitigate any negative consequences or effects.
What makes a big difference in terms of reactions or concerns or shame that children might feel are constant, consistent expressions, both verbal and non-verbal, that they are loved and that their parents are there for them and want them. Show them that you want to be there for them in all situations and at all times, and show them that they are a priority to you. Give attention to whatever questions and issues and concerns they have. You need to be able to listen and be there and respond empathetically to them. That will go a long way to providing a healthy, happy environment for them.
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