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Looking for guidance - Trying this again

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I have come here seeking your wisdom. My DS's are 10 and 8. My brother and bil have been together since before they were born. They refer to bil as Uncle and only recently realized that they are not brothers. We haven't gone out of our way to hide anything and felt we would answer questions when they were asked. DS's know that brother and bil share a room but assume they take turns sleeping in the bed.
My brother and I are very close and I love my bil. The boys are getting to the age that they will start asking questions soon. DS1 was just explaining to me the other day that he knows that Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy are not real
So, I am expecting some questions soon and would love some guidance in how to answer them.
My bro & bil live out of state so they don't seem them often, usually twice a year. They will be coming in June. When they stay here they often sleep in the same bed but sometimes one will sleep on the couch sleep over style with one of the boys. Anyway, I am rambling. I think it might be best to talk with the boys before Uncles come to visit as I don't want to be caught off guard.

TIA

Keri
post #2 of 6
What types of questions do the boys ask? Here's my rambling thoughts.

Example: "Why do Uncle 1 and Uncle 2 sleep in the same room?"

Possible Answer: "Because people who they love each other generally sleep in the same bed. Uncle 1 & Uncle 2 love each other like mom & dad do."

I'd keep the answers very simple, let them digest that. Then when they are ready, they'll ask more questions.

8 & 10 are very much old enough to have heard the term "gay" before from kids at school, probably as a derogatory term (interchangable with "faggot" etc). Time to re-educate! These are great ages because they have the emotional maturity to start to think for themselves and weigh things out. There are also some good books out there for kids with gay & lesbian parents - check out www.twolives.com for some book suggestions.

I semi-regularly babysit two kids who are 8 & 10 and their parents outed me to them when I got pregnant enough to "show" (I'm due in July) because they were beginning to ask questions about why I don't have a husband. (The parents already knew - I'd come out to them already when I got pregnant via donor insemination as a single mother by choice). The kids were FINE with it, just asked more intellegent/appropriate questions - about why I don't have a girlfriend, LOL, and does that mean the baby will get my last name and when can they see the baby?!

I also always highly recommend attending a few PFLAG meetings. I'm sure *someone* there has been in your shoes - how to tell children family members are gay, how to explain diversity, how to explain differences among people they love. They are a wonderful resource for advice. You can find a meeting near you by going to www.pflag.org

Oh, and tell the Uncles that the boys have started asking questions about their relationship. They may have some smart suggestions and definite opinions, too - any gay or lesbian person is used to "coming out" over and over again. It's a never finished process because you are always meeting new people and encountering heterosexist assumptions. It sounds like the Uncles are lucky to have you as loving family!!!!

And good luck! It sounds like your boys have a nice relationship with their Uncles. I think the truth will make it even better

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response. The boys aren't really asking any questions YET. My 10 year old is very niave for his age which I am thankful for. He has heard the derogatory words "faggot" and "gay" and I have told him that faggot is a bad word that that gay shouldn't be used that way because there is nothing wrong with being gay, he didn't ask what gay was.

My bro and bil haven't been much help. They are both hair stylists and, not to be stereotypical but, they haven't had to come out to anyone in a long time. Bil has nephews and I have asked him how they delt with it but he told me his sisters handled it. One of his sisters is gay (had children when she was married) so she may have addressed things differently.

I will let my bro know that the boys are getting to that more investigative age and ask him how he would like me to talk about it. I want him to be prepared in case the boys ask him questions.

Thanks,
Keri
post #4 of 6
How closely do you monitor their TV watching? They might already have picked up an idea of what gay means from watching the tube. Shows like Will and Grace play in reruns a dozen times a day, for example. (I don't think I'd let a ten year old watch Will and Grace, because of the cavalier attitude towards alcoholism and drug abuse, but if they sometimes tune in when you're not monitoring, they could see it--although I don't know many ten year olds who'd pick an adult-oriented sitcom over cartoons/kids' shows.) They might also have grasped the concept at school, in between the derogatory phrases a definition occasionally pops up.

In short, you might be surprised at what they already know, just from context of what they've seen/heard when you weren't looking.
post #5 of 6
I'd be very surprised if 8 and 10 year old boys didn't have any thoughts (even if they were incorrect ones) about what "gay" means. I taught kids in elementary school (wait, are they homeschooled? That would explain why they may not have been exposed to derogatory meanings of the word) and calling each other "gay" as an insult was rampant. It was so awful.

I would definitely ask them what they know already, and correct any misinformation. As far as their uncles are concerned, I don't see what is so difficult really - just let them know that they love each other and are sharing their lives as a couple, just as you and your dh are. If they are truly as "naive" as you say, they may not even question this. Kids sort of have to be taught that something is "weird" and will often just accept what they see as normal unless someone tells them otherwise. My dd is four, much younger than your boys of course, and has never asked any questions about a couple we are friendly with (two men), other than to ask if they were "married to each other," and we said yes (even though they're not, really...no gay marriage in my state, but they wear rings, have been together 15 years, etc.). We just said yes and she was satisfied! She didn't seem to find it odd at all.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply LunaMom. I didn't mean to imply that this was going to be "difficult" I just want to be prepared and broach the subject accordingly. I absolutely agree about them having to be taught that something is 'weird'. I grew up with a gay uncle and just assumed everyone had one. I was honestly surprised when in jr. high someone told me that I should be ashamed that my uncle was gay. It was never 'weird' to me before then. Unfortunately, today kids grow up so much faster.
Thanks for the note.

Keri
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