Talking to Your Kids About SexualityI’ve written before about how Husband and I have a “no B.S.” policy with the girls and how we try to answer questions as honestly as possible, without patronising them or flinching away from difficult subjects. One of the things I’ve always been passionate about is teaching the kids to be both honest about themselves and non-judgemental about other people, and one of the things this covers is sexuality.

I’ve never written about it before, but I’ve had relationships with both men and women, and my kids know this. I figure, if they see how much of a non-issue it is for their Mum, it will be a non-issue for them too, and encourage them to be honest about their own feelings. I know a lot of people struggle to talk to kids about difficult topics, so I thought I’d share some tips with you. There are some good online resources out there where your child can get support such as safe gay social networks however it is a good idea, certainly initially, for you to lead the discussion.

Be Brave

If your child comes to you with questions about sexuality, be it their own or someone else’s, you’re going to need to put your big-girl pants on and HAVE THE CONVERSATION. If you obfuscate, they’ll know, and who would you rather answer their questions; you, or their friends? I’d much rather info came from me so I know it’s true and accurate, rather than other sources which may confuse them more.

Be Honest

As with anything, you know your kid and you probably know how much detail they can cope with, so give them the information within these parameters but always be honest (kids have an uncanny B.S. radar at times!). For younger kids, there’s no need to go into more detail than “men who love men, women who love women, people who love people” to give them a broader idea that sexuality is a spectrum and not confined to the ‘traditional’ image of a couple.

Be Prepared

There’s a good chance that answering questions on this subject will open up a whole list of questions from your kids so be prepared to answer them. Having half a conversation and putting the rest off until a later date will just leave them hanging, or maybe send them in search of the information elsewhere.

Be Open

If your sexuality isn’t something you’ve ever discussed with them, it might be a good idea to do it when they start asking questions. Normalising sexuality by offering your own experiences can give them a relatable focus for their understanding and will show them that you’re open to talking about things, making you the ideal person for them to confide in if they ever need to.

Be Non-Judgemental

I think this is the single most important point of all. If your five year old comes to you and says “Mummy, I think I’m gay”, DO NOT say “No you’re not”. Some people report knowing they were “different” from a very young age, and refusing to accept this can cause added confusion and shame to an already questioning child. I’m not suggesting that you run our and buy rainbow flags for their bedroom but allowing them to express their feelings and helping to guide them through can be the difference between years of mental health problems and a healthy, happy person, whatever their sexuality.