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Explaining Gay Marriage To A Child

Aug 13, 2014

Explaining gay marriage to a child is something that should be well thought out and should be appropriate for the style of the family and the personality of the child.  Deciding how to explain gay marriage to a child is an equally big decision. Many parents believe that incorporating information about same-sex parenting should come naturally and from the get-go, so that kids have time to integrate the information as they grow older, rather than leaving it to some big reveal. 

Same-sex parents will likely have to field the question, “How did I get here?” from younger children.  Author and blogger Susan Goldberg references the book What Makes a Baby by Cori Silverberg.  This book explains the 4 things that everybody has in common in the world. And those are sperm, an egg, a womb to grow in, and a home to grow up in. And if you take those 4 things, it's really easy to explain to any kid without getting into a lot of technical details where those things might come from. So this is where your egg came from, here's where your sperm came from, here's where you grew in, and here's the house that you live in now. And here are your moms, and here's your donor dad, or however you choose to frame it.  This is just one method that can be used to explain the intricacies of how same-sex parents came to have a child in their lives. 

Same-sex parents may also have to answer questions such as, “Who is my real mom?”  Susan Goldberg also recommends working through this question well ahead of time before a child or others ask this tough question.  When asked by your child, this question can simply be an inquiry and a way to look for a better understanding of identity.  It is important to take time to assess the answer and give an answer that is respectful and inclusive of both partners, if that is your family situation.  For two mothers, the mother who carried will be the biological mother, but that answer may not work best for the child or the family.

Speaking on this issue with kids can be daunting, but one of the best things to do is normalize the family situation and do not try to hide the facts of life from children.  Children deserve thoughtful and honest answers, although depending on age, a very simplified version may be plenty of explanation for the time being.

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I can understand how this would be a particularly hard subject for children. Let's just hope that the children and adults around them are respectful of their family unit!

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