Questions From Parents: "How Do I Talk to My Kids About Homosexuality?"

The worldview about homosexuality is changing. Homosexuality used to be a subject we did not talk about with kids. People understood it is important to protect the innocence of children, but things have changed.

The other day the Nickelodeon Channel broadcast a half hour special entitled, “Coming Out.” In this documentary, gay kids talk about knowing they are different from an early age. They openly discussed the scary prospect of coming out to family amid possible rejection, and the bullying they’ve experienced at school.

I do not agree with Nickelodeon broadcasting a show about gay teens on a kid’s channel, but the fact is, it is happening and we are going to see more shows like this from the secular media.

Here are some questions that Christian parents are asking:

  • How do I respond to family shows on Disney and Nickelodeon with gay characters?
  • Do I pull my kids from school if they are teaching a gay rights curriculum?
  • What do I do if I am at a restaurant with my kids and we see two gay men kissing?

We can pull our kids from public school, ban them from watching all TV shows, and stop going out to eat in public places, or we can begin to talk to our kids about homosexuality.

Admittedly, this is an emotional topic. There are strong opinions on both sides. You may disagree with me, and I’m OK with that. You can share your opinions in the comments section below.

If you are not a Christian, you may get offended by this article, but please understand I am not speaking to you. I am talking to parents who have made a commitment to the authority of Scripture.

My purpose in writing this article is not to stir up emotion, but to help Christian parents talk to their kids about a challenging issue.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Treat everyone with respect. The truth is that gay teens have been picked on and bullied for years. Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids to respect everyone, even those who are different. Respect should be given unconditionally, just like love is given unconditionally. I choose to be respectful based on who I am, not based on how others act.

2. Turn down the emotion. Do not freak out if your child asks a question about something he or she saw on TV, or something that was said at school. You want to keep the communication lines open. When you get angry, you are telling your kids, “don’t talk to me about this.”

3. Talk to your kids about their future.  If your kids are under eight, do not initiate a conversation about homosexuality, but you can still be proactive by casting vision. Kids love to use their imagination to think about the future. You can encourage this by asking questions.  What do you want to be when you grow up? Are you going to get married? Do you want to be a daddy? Do you want to be a mommy? How many kids do you want to have? The goal here is help them imagine the road map of their life. Don’t tell them what to do. Just steer the conversation.

4. Ask questions. If your kids are older than eight, they have some ideas about gay people. Their ideas come from TV shows, movies, friends, school, siblings and their parents. You can start the conversation by simply asking questions: What does the word “gay” mean? What do you think about when you hear the word “gay”? What does a gay person look like? The goal here is to find out what your kids are thinking so you can talk about it.

5. Answer their questions. You want your kids to come to you with questions about homosexuality. Let’s imagine that you see two men kissing at a restaurant. What do you say to your kids? Instead of running away or freaking out, use this as an opportunity to talk about homosexuality (after you leave the restaurant). Make sure to talk about both sides of the issue—the sin issue and the respect issue. I would start out by asking, “Did you see the two men in the restaurant? Was that awkward? How did it make you feel?” At some point they may ask, “Why were those two guys kissing?” I would respond by reading the Bible (See point #6).

6. Read the Bible with your kids. Take turns reading the Scriptures with your children so they are reading it, too. Read Genesis 1:27-28, 2:19-25, Matthew 19:5-6. Many people say that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality, but he did say a lot about marriage. This is how Jesus defines marriage: “Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall be one flesh.”

7. Keep the fire in the fireplace. I like the analogy of the fireplace. Fire is a good thing as long as it stays in the fireplace. Fire can warm you up and bring enjoyment, but if it gets out of the fireplace, it can create problems. If I start lighting fires in places that fire does not belong, it can destroy my life. (Think of marriage as the fireplace.) Talk to your kids about how God created sex for marriage, and Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Sex is good if you do it God’s way. Adam and Eve were naked and they were not ashamed.

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mharper@churchleaders.com'
Pastor, filmmaker and coach Mark Harper has 35 years of experience in the local church. He is the creator of the Super Church 2.0 Curriculum, which is used in over 5,000 churches worldwide. The focus of Mark’s ministry is helping leaders build strong churches and helping parents build strong families. Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.

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