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Parent Survival Guide: Talking about pride month and LGBTQ+

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 12:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - From rainbow Pride flags to Pride parades and political events there’s a likely chance your child might have questions surrounding the term LGBTQ plus.

“They hear it in the community and when they’re at school or in another room and when the news is on, so they are hearing terms,” educational psychologist Reena B. Patel said.

Because kids are hearing terms Educational Psychologist and parenting expert Reena B. Patel says don’t be afraid to use the exact words to describe sexual orientation.

“Because gay, lesbian, bisexual are words that are out in print and have specific definitions,” Patel said.

Patel says as kids start kindergarten, they start to ask questions and begin to observe and see that families in our world can look different.

“At 5 years old they are starting to see maybe in their classroom they have parents of some same sex marriages, or they might want to have a play date with a family who might look different from theirs,” Patel said.

She says it’s important to actively listen. This will help you make sure you understand what your child is asking and what they already understand about the topic. Also be honest.

Patel says it’s ok to not have an answer and to tell your child you’re still learning too and can learn together.

She says encourage your child to continue to ask questions, while keeping your responses developmentally appropriate.

“It’s important to show you’re engaged in their conversation, and it will also show an idea of where they are coming from and where their perspective is, and show you respect them and understand what they are saying,” Patel said.

For kids in middle school and older, Patel says the conversation might be different.

She says often teens are more aware of the topic and act as activists when it comes to people’s rights and being inclusive.

“At the end of the day it’s about kindness and compassion and we can do so much more together and when were a team. So, it’s important for everyone around your child to model acceptable behaviors,” Patel said.

She says to remember parents are the key to teaching kids the value of empathy and respect for others.

Patel says having these conversations with our children helps create a safer, more inclusive community for everyone.

As well as open the door for any future conversations regarding the topic.

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