Creating Proud Moments
Happy Pride! And we mean that in the gayest way possible. While your child might already understand the concept of what it means to be proud of themselves when they succeed at a new motor skill or make some killer finger paint art, explaining Pride in the human rights sense might leave you wondering where to start.
Well, no need for hesitation! Seriously, when exposing your kiddo to the world of civil liberties and acceptance, it’s totally unnecessary to have one long, drawn-out conversation. In fact, that’s not a good way to do it at all. Making a huge, serious hubub about the fact that different sexualities exist just reinforces the harmful notion that it’s taboo.
The best way to grow your child as a kind, empathetic ally is with steady reminders of what it means to be just that. And don’t forget that the most important reason to raise your little one in an open and tolerant household is - hello! - they might be LGBTQ+ themselves and when and if they realize that, it’s so essential that they feel safe and supported with you. Here are some ways to create that environment for your child:
Don’t be hesitant. Like we said, no need to randomly sit your child down for a talk on gay+ rights. When an opportunity arises to address the concept of tolerance, seize it. For example, maybe your child’s friend or classmate has two mommies or two daddies or one mommy and no daddy. That’s a great time to explain how families can be different from yours and that’s not only OK, it’s beautiful and needed to keep our world diverse. If you feel unprepared for a situation like that, simply do some self-educating first.
Find representation. Not every 3-year-old has a friend with gay or trans parents, so expose them to images of different families. You can do this with books, cartoons, and even simple reminders if you’re in a place with strictly cis-het couples. Say something like: “See all these mommies and daddies having fun in the park? Families can be so beautiful and different. There are even families with two mommies and some with two daddies, because love can take so many different forms.”
Start early. Having these open discussions as soon as possible leaves the door open for deeper conversations down the road, nurtures your child’s ability to empathize and destigmatizes the LGBTQ+ community. Instilling these values early will steer them away from prejudice and hate in all forms and cultivates an environment in your family where they feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Listen. Encourage your child’s questions and be honest if you don’t know the answers. This humanizes you and demonstrates that we’re all always learning all the time, even as we get older. Showing them how to do the work of self-educating is invaluable and any opportunity to do it is a blessing, not a curse.