Avoiding Explaining Straight People to Kidlet... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, this may be WAY over thinking on my part.  But, as I perused children's board books to add to our collection I came across the Laura Ingalls Wilder board books...in which "Pa" figures prominently (of course!).  I loved the books (the originals) as a child and look forward to sharing them with our son. Yet, at the same time, DS is 18 months old and I'm not quite sure how to explain straight couples with kids to him.  I mean, we'll of course do the "all families are different, you have a mama and mommy, so and so has a mommy and a daddy"  but right now that seems way abstract.  


Seriously, I'm not quite sure on this one...which is making me laugh because of ALL the times I've read about straight folk who don't want their kids exposed to images of LGBT families because they don't want to have to explain!  


Anyone else get tweaky on this one?  innocent.gif  I'm partially posting this just because I think it's really funny to be having this reaction--and because it does make me empathize (a VERY little, tiny, bit) with folks I perceive as being irrational homophobes! LOL

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#2 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and just so I don't seem too crazy...I also am hesitant because "Pa" carries a gun in the picture book version--and I don't want to have to explain guns to him either!  (Even tho' I grew up in a hunting culture)

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#3 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 09:32 AM
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Um, I guess I haven't had any hesitation because in our family there are fathers in addition to mothers. I mean, sure our kid has two moms, but she has grandfathers too. I don't think it will be hard for her to understand the fact that her grandfather is her mother's dad. Also, we have plenty of straight friends. And acquaintances. And there are straight people everywhere. I think for kids with gay parents, it's probably normal for them to acknowledge both gay and straight families without much thought.

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#4 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 09:36 AM
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The only thing we've encountered with DD (who is 3) is that she sometimes randomly asks a question like, "Are you my daddy?" or "Do I have a daddy?", which is clearly just part of her  processing how the world works.


Answer: "No, I'm your mama. You have a mommy & a mama."


It's been very simple thus far, no drama.



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#5 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 10:45 AM
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I also haven't worried about it much, tho I can see why others would.  Explaining straight people doesn't have to include explaining sex.  My kids are older, so they know what straight and gay mean but they're still pretty abstract concepts.  I think they see it as more of a relationship at a time.  Like, a mom can have a son, a daughter, multiple girls or boys or both. A kid can have a brother or sister or both.  And kids can have parents or grandparents of whatever makeup as well. I remember one time my son to his Mama, "Baba was a lesbian when you were together and then she was single for a long time and then she met Sara and got to be a lesbian again."  So really he seemed to think it was up in the air whether my next partner would be a girl or boy or if there would even be another.  It seems very fluid to them.


I have been more wary of the gun stuff, but I just tend to explain it in context.  A gun for hunting is very different than a gun for anything else.  They didn't have grocery stores, so they had to get food differently.  They used a gun for meat.


At 6 and 8, my kids have never asked about a dad.  


Good luck with whatever you decide.

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#6 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not that stressed about this actually...it was just interesting having this reaction, one that I'd been so scornful of in some straight folk!  I know my kid will get it...and it's a non issue really, but I am/was interested in my own visceral reaction.  


In our family, we don't have living grandfathers and none of the family we are close to have children.  We have been pretty intentional (thus far and in the future) about male role modeling for our DS (dear Uncles/Friends).  Right now, trying to explain dads seems like trying to explain his relationship with his cousins via godparent status who live on the east coast--eventually he'll understand it, but trying to explain seems challenging!  


I guess my concern really just comes from the reality that images of dads and appearing heterosexual couples/families are dominant in media--both book and television (bag.gif, Caillou for example--and only when we are desperate!  sometimes a mamas gotta shower) AND because of the domination of those images I worry about introducing more of them--I don't want our son to ever feel that his family is unusual or lesser than.  


So, perhaps I'm reacting to the heteronormativity that dominates culture...



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#7 of 9 Old 10-27-2011, 12:31 PM
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I was recently reading my baby some of the Beatrix Potter books that I loved as a kid.  As an adult they are kind of dark and full of things like pinafores, hankins, coal scuttles, and wainscotting-that were total outside my cultural references as a kid and certainly are unfamiliar for my LO.  But as a kid I never recognized the strangeness, I just thought-cute little books with animals wearing clothes.  Most kids are so flexible in their thinking that they either take information and work it in to the world they know, or they just breeze by it. 


And there are so many great books with dads, I can't imagine giving them all up.

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#8 of 9 Old 11-03-2011, 07:38 PM
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I did worry about this, but we have a diverse families and friends in our circle and books that are inclusive of many families (including some that have straight families) and our DD talks about all different families with ease. Mostly her questions right now are if all families have stuffed animals! smile.gif

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#9 of 9 Old 11-03-2011, 08:37 PM
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Forum crashing-ran across this thread and wanted to respond from the straight person perspective.

When I had a question about explaining gay/lesbian relationships to my kids, I asked a dear friend of mine who is gay. I live in the South where, unfortunately, the widespread acceptance of any lifestyle other than a straight lifestyle is very slow in coming. My kids are being taught that being gay or lesbian is as normal and acceptable as being straight; that being said, I wanted to make sure that if one of them saw a same-sex couple when we were out in public and questioned me about it (because they are five and three and "whisper" at the top of their lungs) that I had a response that would be as non-offensive as possible for the person that my children might have accidentally offended. It never occurred to me (and probably wouldn't occur to most straight people) when I was getting my ducks in a row that there might be a lesbian couple somewhere preparing their own explanation just in case they ended up in the same (but opposite) situation with their child. 

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