How to Talk to Your Kid About Sexuality (page 2)

How to Talk to Your Kid About Sexuality

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Updated on Jun 25, 2013

"How would you answer those same questions if your child was asking them about a heterosexual couple?" Laub adds.

If your kids are older, she says, keep in mind that late elementary and middle school is when children are most likely to be bullied. This is a particularly trying time for children who are questioning their sexuality or have figured out that they're not heterosexual – which became clear when headlines about gay kids' suicides filled the news in 2010. And Laub says bullying isn't just hurtful to its targets, but also to those who witness it. That's why it's important to talk to your children about bullying and how kids are treated at school. If your child brings up the fact that a classmate is gay, she says, ask your child how other students and teachers treat that classmate. If you hear about a child being bullied, Laub says, contact the school.

It might also help to role-play with your child about what to do if someone teases a classmate about sexual orientation or uses the term "That's so gay" as an insult. "That's mean to say that," Laub says kids might respond. "Do you really mean that's gay, or do you mean that's stupid?"

Besides the importance of raising children who respect others, Laub says, urging an inclusive attitude is key if your own kids end up questioning their sexuality. She knows many teens who, before coming out to their parents, tested them by gauging their reactions to gay characters on TV or religious leaders' remarks on same-sex relationships. If this is the case, Laub says, your kids need to see you as an ally who will love them for the unique, special people they are.  

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