How to talk to your child about LGBTQ+ experiences and families this Pride Month

June 30, 2022

Authored by Annabelle Avis, a foster carer from Five Rivers Child Care, which encourages all parents to talk about Pride Month at home to create a safe space for children

As a parent or carer, we are always asked questions from young and curious minds when we’re least expecting it. Whether this is on the school run, in the middle of preparing a meal or when we’re getting ready to rush out the door, we’ve all been caught answering some pretty big questions unexpectedly.

With Pride Month celebrations in full swing, there’s a good chance that children will be curious about what it’s all about.

You may already be having conversations throughout the year about Pride Month and LGBTQ+ experiences, but these discussions can often be amplified in June.

My biggest piece of advice from experience?

Don’t rush it and keep it simple

Even if you are in the middle of getting bolognese stains out of jumpers, and your child asks you about what Pride Month means and why it happens, put the stain remover down and don’t rush the conversation.

Your child may come to you looking for answers having been asked why they have two mums or having overheard other kids talking about rainbow flags and my advice is to always take the time to sit down and have a conversation. This will not only demonstrate to your child that you’re open to having conversations but that you’re open to listening as well.

Keeping it simple is equally important. For my younger children, Pride Month is all about celebrating all types of love and being proud of you are no matter who you love. And for my eldest daughter, Pride Month is about acceptance, equality and raising issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. We may also talk about icons that have made LGBTQ+ history.

When having conversations about LGBTQ+ experiences, it’s important to take your child’s age and maturity into account and to have discussions that are appropriate. Younger minds can be more inquisitive, so having a simpler dialogue can be easier to digest.

Don’t let your child ask all of the questions, ask them too

Conversations, regardless of what they’re about, should be just that, conversations. Once you’ve initially answered a handful of questions posed by your children, consider asking them whether they know what any of the letters in LGBTQ+ stand for, what love means to them and why equality matters.

Asking your children questions can reveal what they’re thinking and how they see the world. It also shows your child that by you asking them questions validates their learning and why it’s important to seek information about something like LGBTQ+ experiences.

Be positive and affirming

Another tip I’d recommend to parents or carers is to be positive and affirming when talking about Pride Month. Parts of LGBTQ+ history can be difficult and painful and as a parent it can be hard to explain to kids why someone may discriminate against someone else for who they are and who they love. I try and frame conversations in a positive light and around the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community where I can so that prejudice isn’t born and that my children know that I am a positive resource for information.

It’s okay to not know all of the answers

And finally, it’s okay to not know all of the answers. As parents, we think we need to know everything, but we don’t. This is why resources exist so that if you don’t know the answers, you have a place to turn to. Online is a great place to initially look for resources with many LGBTQ+-inclusive organisations, like Stonewall, Mermaids UK and FFLAG for example, sharing guidance on a range of different topics.

Pride Month events can be also be great places for family friendly resources and information. Taking your children to a Pride Month event in your community can be an informative place to encourage learning about LGBTQ+ experiences in a positive and joyous environment. You may also meet other parents who may be having the same conversations with their children too.

Future conversations

It is likely that conversations around Pride Month will continue throughout the year, so having ongoing conversations should be part of how you educate your kids on LGBTQ+ experiences. In your home, create an environment that is a safe space for all types of conversations and that demonstrates to your children that they can ask questions at any time.

Foster carers Annabelle (R) and Sally Avis (L) enjoying their homely lifestyle with their dogs and of course their children. The couple are foster carers with Five Rivers Child Care.

Normalise reading books with LGBTQ+ characters like Julian is a Mermaid or RuPaul’s Little People, Big Dreams, watching movies or TV programmes that are age appropriate and around LGBTQ+ experiences and family structures like The Fosters and Love, Simon. Dismantling the idea of heteronormativity of family dynamics through different mediums will enable more conversations to naturally take place, instead of a conversation that has to be brought up once a year.

Ultimately there is no formula to having conversations about Pride Month but the above should be a helpful guide on what to consider when you are asked questions out of the blue about LGBTQ+ experiences by curious minds.

Fostering provider, Five Rivers Child Care, encourages all parents to talk about Pride Month at home to create a safe space for children. Particularly for children and young people who identify within the LGBTQ+ community and are looking for a family unit that is supportive and positive. This is why it’s important to continue to break down the misconception that people from the LGBTQ+ community can foster to support the growing number of children and young people in need of a loving and safe home.

For more info on Five Rivers Child Care, CLICK HERE