Thursday, July 20, 2006

What do you say when your preschooler asks about homosexuality?

In the June 2006 edition of Parenting there was an article on answering sexual questions little children ask titled "The Birds and the Bees and Curious Kids." It covered topics like when a little girl asks why her little brother is different than her and other such questions. However, among such simple and common circumstances was included the following:

"Your child tells you her classmate has two mommies. 'How can that be?' she asks."

The magazine's response is as follows:

"Homosexuality may seem like a conusing subject--especially for kids who haven't even gotten the concept of heterosexuality down yet. But your explanation doesn't have to be complicated: 'In Ginny's family, her two mommies love each other the way that Daddy and I do. So they live together, and both take care of Ginny.' The topic may also come up after your child hears a homosexual slur. Christi Cole's daughter Caitlyn, 6, said a boy at school had been telling kids in her class, "You're gay"--so of course she wanted to know what that meant. The Augusta, Georgia, mom explained that sometimes boys fall in love with boys and girls fall in love with girls but that the boy in Caitlyn's school probably didn't really understand what he was talking about. Then she reminded her daughter that calling people names isn't nice and might hurt someone's feelings."

Where do I begin with this?
First of all it is a sad testimony to our society that homosexuality is so public and promoted that a small child would be asking about it. However, as we live in a society that often cannot tell dog from God, I can well see such a question arising. (One more reason we are going to homeschool.)

1. I find it ironic that the magazine proposes to explain homosexuality as normal and natural to small children as heterosexuality and yet the author herself, Margaret Renkl, recognizes homosexuality to be much more complicated that heterosexuality. Why? If it is so normal and natural, why is it more complicated? It would seem Mrs. Renkl herself knows there is something unnatural about it even if she propogates parents trying to convince their children it is not. Interestingly enough, in a subsequent question about intercourse, Mrs. Renkl encourages a very frank explanation about eggs and sperm and says, "A penis is made to fit into a vagina sort of like an arm fits into a sleeve." Well, saying first that mommies with mommies is the same as mommies with daddies and then saying that daddy is designed to fit with mommy in order to make babies (including Ginny) would confuse anyone!
2. Secondly, as homosexual acts are the inverse of heterosexual acts, they are quite different from the way that Mommy and Daddy love each other. As Holy Matrimony is a sacrament ordained by God, homosexual acts, regardless of whether intended as such, mock the conjugal union of a man and a woman joined in marriage. I would be outraged and take personal offense at anyone who told any child of mine that any homosexual relationship was the same as my relationship to my husband.
3. It was pointed out in the August edition by a woman who wrote in that not all parents agree with the author. "I was shocked when I read your advice about how to answer a child who has a question about two mommies. A homosexual relationship is not just like the one I share with my husband. There are a number of people who feel homosexuality isn't right, and we would never tell our children that it is." The reader from Kentucky points out that this issue of homosexuality is, generally speaking, a pretty divided one and for the magazine to try to propogate it and pretend it is not divisive is quite narrow-minded and ignorant regarding its readers. When it comes to divided issues like this, a general parenting magazine should know better than to take such a stand or risk losing part of its readers.

Now, if my daughter had asked me the same question, here would have been my reply:

Some people believe that a family doesn't need a mommy and a daddy but God told us that that is not true. Every child should have a mommy and a daddy and it is not good or right to try to replace a mommy with another daddy or a daddy with another mommy. Some people think doing that is okay but it causes confusion and does not make God happy so we should always pray for such people. However, Ginny did not choose to have two mommies so you should not be mean to her but remember that because she does have two mommies, she might think different things than you do.

Of course I would also severely limit any interaction my child might have with Ginny as I cannot in good conscience permit such influences as her "mommies" might have given her.

Maybe in the September issue Mrs. Renkl can come up with a sweet explanation to give children when they ask what an abortion is when mommy went from having a baby in her tummy to not!

Needless to say I will not be resubscribing to Parenting.


  1. I've found that mainstream magazines are becoming worse and worse as regards homosexuality, abortion & birth control. I had my own "last straw" moment with Woman's Day magazine a few weeks ago when I read its endorsement of the abortion pill.

  2. Barb,

    I am beginning to notice that as well. I had only gotten Parenting because I was pregnant with our first child and was trying to read anything I could get my hands on on the subject and I was asked for a magazine drive. It is ironic Woman's Day would endorse a pill that would not make any woman's day. Makes one wonder if they think before they print. Thanks for the warning about WD.

  3. I'm still just working on the difference between males and females with my kids.