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Are You a Gay Mom? This Is How To Help Your Child Navigate The World

Updated: Feb 12

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Moms and their son

These days, the idea of the ‘traditional’ nuclear family has expanded and grown. We’re privileged to live in a time and place where, regardless of gender, sexual identity, and race, folks have a chance to build a family that perfectly fits them and their happiness — including us gay moms.


Like any family, our families face challenges. As a gay mom, the obstacles you and your children face may differ from others in this world. But that’s ok because you’re not alone. To assist you in guiding your children through the unique dynamics of having a gay mother, we’ve gathered two wonderful LGBTQ+ experts to share their best tips and tricks.

Meet The Experts

  • Marla Renee Stewart (she/her) is an award-winning, certified sexologist, intimacy coach, educator, speaker, and author. She is the owner of Velvet Lips, a sexuality education company, and is also a black, femme, lesbian mom.

  • Dr. Aliyah Moore (she/her) is a certified sex and LGBTQIA+ therapist. As a proud Black, bisexual femme, she’s dedicated her career to amplifying the voices of those in minority groups.

Why do gay mothers need to explain their family differences to their children?

While the world has expanded and grown, we still have a lot of work to do for LGBTQ+ folks. We still live in a largely heteronormative society, so when you become a lesbian mother, unfortunately, there are still things you’ve got to do, like explaining your family dynamic to your children.

“Lesbian mothers often face a unique challenge of explaining their family structure to their children in a world where heterosexual families are predominantly showcased,” Dr. Moore tells Gay Moms Club, “This explanation is crucial for a few reasons. It helps children understand and embrace their family dynamics, which fosters a sense of pride and belonging. Children who see fewer families that represent theirs might feel isolated or different. Lesbian mothers can reassure their children that a family is defined by love, not the gender of parents, by openly discussing their family structure.”


Whether you’re single or in a partnership, openly discussing your family structure with your children helps foster a sense of visibility and validation for everyone involved. Plus, it prepares them to handle comments or questions from both peers and adults in their lives.


“I think it's necessary to educate your children about diverse family structures, knowing the heteronormative nature of the children's world. All of the programming on television and in our school curriculum often rigidly portray the traditional "mommy and daddy" dynamic without considering other types of caretakers or family structures." Stewart says. Educating them helps to normalize your family, as well as empower them with knowledge just in case they come across folks with heterosexist or homophobic views.


Talking openly with your kids can help them view their family positively, boost their self-confidence, and encourage acceptance among others. These conversations, while challenging at times, can be an excellent way to teach your children about diversity and respect.


How can you share with your children that their mom(s) are LGBTQ+?

So, you want to talk with your kiddos, but where do you begin? According to the experts, you should start by giving your child age-appropriate information.


"I've seen that when lesbian mothers decide to tell their children about their LGBTQ+ identity, it's important to approach the conversation with honesty, simplicity, and sensitivity," Dr. Moore explains, "It's helpful to start these discussions early, using age-appropriate language. For a young child, a mother might say, just like your friend Mia has a mom and a dad, you have two moms because we love each other just like they do. This straightforward explanation acknowledges the family's uniqueness while emphasizing the universal theme of love."


Another easy way to initiate a conversation with your little ones is by explaining that people can choose their partners and mentioning your place within the LGBTQ+ spectrum.


However, you can have a more thorough conversation when talking to older children. This includes discussing the relationship between moms and other aspects of LGBTQ+ identity, such as attraction and falling in love with other women. It's crucial to illustrate that families come in many different forms and that love can be expressed in many ways.

"Leave it up to them to ask the questions, and you give them the answer that helps them understand in the simplest form," Stewart recommends. "Don't give too much information if they're not asking for it. When they ask for more, you should give them more."


3 Challenges Children of Gay Moms Will Navigate (And How to Overcome Them)

As children of gay moms, it’s important to be aware of the challenges your little ones might face so you can offer them the best support possible. Explore a few examples below.

1. Teasing, getting bullied at school or discrimination

Unfortunately, teasing and bullying are often a part of childhood. But when it comes to raising a child in an LGBTQ+ family, bullying can sometimes be more intense.


“You can help your child overcome this by standing strong and promoting your family values, moral and ethical,” Stewart says, “You should always help them identify people in their life that they can go to for help in the event you’re not around.”

2. Questions or prejudiced remarks from peers or adults

Sometimes, other children or even adults can ask questions about the 'normalcy' of their family structure. This can sometimes make children have feelings of being 'different.’

“To help your children navigate these challenges, lesbian mothers can

encourage open communication, allowing their kids to express their feelings

and experiences,” Dr. Moore recommends, “Which in turn helps to create a strong support system at home that fosters a sense of security and understanding.”

3. Internal conflicts when trying to understand their family dynamic

According to Dr. Moore, children of lesbian mothers might also experience internal conflicts when trying to understand and accept their family dynamic, especially during adolescence when identity becomes a central theme.


“To help their children through this, mothers can provide age-appropriate resources and have discussions about sexuality and family diversity,” she says, “While also introducing them to other families with gay parents or LGBTQ+ communities to foster a sense of belonging and acceptance.”


Now what?

At Gay Moms Club, we’re here to help you make the most of motherhood. To start this important journey with your children, here are our suggested starting points:

  • Engage in conversations about family early on and maintain them over time.

  • Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings in a non-judgmental and open dialogue.

  • Introduce your children to LGBTQ+ community events where they can see and meet other families similar to yours.

  • Help your children feel confident and prepared to handle questions or comments from others about their family.

 

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