So how do you turn ‘2 dads or 2 moms’ into an opportunity to teach your child something important.
Teachable moments should be your Number 1 strategy for sex education!
Learn more about what a teachable moment is.
Watch this teachable moment here.
[00:00:00] How do you turn one of your child’s friends having two mums or two dads into a teachable moment? Let’s find out.[Music]
[00:00:16] Hi, I’m Cath Hakanson from Sex Ed Rescue and on this channel, I talk about sexual education so that you can get more comfortable talking to your kids about love, sex, relationships, and growing up. This teachable moment is a good one because when kids go to school, they notice things that are different. One of the things that we should start talking about with younger kids is diversity. Like, you might have red hair, I might have blonde hair, and we’re all different but that’s okay. We also talk about it regarding skin colour so they can understand racism is outdated. It’s about planting those seeds early on so that children understand we’re all equal regardless of differences. So, diversity is an important seed to plant because it helps children understand that everyone around them is different but also more importantly, it helps them understand and accept that it’s okay if they’re different.
[00:01:20] For example, my daughter has red hair and she’s the only one in her year. There are only two other ginger kids in her school, so she often feels like a minority. Talking about the fact that it’s okay for everyone to be different helps her understand that it’s okay for her to be different as well. She’s also tall, so she really does stick out compared to her peers, so diversity is an important conversation to have.
Now, what will often happen is kids will go home and they’ll go, ‘Mum, do you know that my friend Tommy has two dads,’ or, ‘has two mums,’ or, ‘has one mum,’ or, ‘doesn’t have a mum at all and lives with a grandparent,’ or, ‘is in foster care?’ These are great opportunities to talk to them about same-sex relationships.
[00:02:08] Now, a lot of this comes down to personal values. Some cultures and religions believe that same-sex relationships are wrong. I don’t know if that fits your situation. It’s okay to have those values and beliefs because that’s your choice but that doesn’t mean that you can discriminate. Children need to grow up knowing that there are laws. There are laws to protect people and to make sure that we don’t discriminate against others based on their gender, skin colour, or sexuality. That women can work, that it doesn’t matter what my skin colour is, or my sexuality. I have as good a chance of getting a job as you.
If I’m same-sex attracted, I have as much right to get a job as you. We have these laws to protect people, to make sure that we don’t discriminate and that we all have equal rights. Not just equal rights, but your rights as an individual as well. It’s important that kids grow up knowing about this.
For example, I would say to my kids, ‘So your friend Tommy has got two mums, what do you think that means?’ And they might go ‘Ah, it just means they’ve got a mum and a mum,’ and we might go, ‘Okay.’ That response is non-committal and it’s not giving an assumption. As they get a little bit older, we might talk about it and they might go, ‘But mum, how did they make the baby if it takes an egg and a sperm?’ So then, you might talk about the fact that those two mums must get the sperm from somewhere else. When I talk with my kids, I think it’s very important to mention that discrimination does exist. We talk about how some people believe it’s wrong for two women to fall in love and have a family. We could talk about how it’s because that’s what they believe, about their religion or that’s part of their culture and say, ‘Well look, it’s okay for them to have that belief but they still need to treat same-sex attracted people properly. They still need to treat them like everyone else.’
[00:04:23] We also talk about how children joke about it. They might go, ‘You’re so gay,’ and be negative and derogatory about people in same-sex relationships. We talk about that as well but remind them that it is okay to be same-sex attracted. So, for example, the guy who cuts my hair, Ron with his partner Michael, are a lovely couple who’ve been together as long as my partner and I have. So, when we go see them my kids are seeing that men can fall in love with women and they can also fall in love with men. To my kid’s, it’s just a fact of life. It’s like they might grow up and fall in love with a man, a woman, both, or even neither.
We just wait and see what happens. But the attitude that we take in my household is that it’s a normal thing, but that some people aren’t okay with it. And then, we talk about the prejudices that are in society. Because at the end of the day, they’re your values or beliefs and they’re based on your personal experiences so I’m not going to tell you what’s right and wrong. You might think that my values are wrong, and that’s fine. They’re very personal but I do think it’s important that children do grow up not discriminating because it’s illegal.
It’s a behaviour that they can be taken to court for, sued for and possibly end up with a jail sentence. I’d like to think that we all want our kids to grow up to become good humans and that they’re part of the world. Being a part of the world means that we involve everyone.
[00:06:10] So your child coming home and talking about a friend having two mums or two dads is just a great opportunity to talk about same-sex relationships. To not only start sharing some of your values, but also making sure that they don’t grow up and be discriminatory. I live in a city which is very multicultural. It borders between being conservative; because we do have a lot of first-time people who bring in their cultures and values, and being inclusive as there are a lot of parents who are in same-sex relationships in our general community. So, my kids are aware of same-sex relationships because they see them.
It’s about pointing people out but not going, ‘Oh look at them!’ But just making sure that your kids are aware that there are different types of relationships. There are lots and lots of books that are great for talking to kids about families that are made up of members other than just a mum and a dad. Lots of books that talk about families being different and people being different as well.
Okay, I hope that helps. Cheers.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.