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How and When to Tell Your Kids about Sex
One acquaintance of Stan’s presented this background: “Tim” was a
needy boy whose father was simply uninterested in him. His mother, angry
and hurt by her husband, was deeply involved in church and her own
friendships. Tim was drawn into a “special friendship” with a grandfatherly
neighbor at about age five. By the time Tim was seven, the relationship had
become sexual, with the two exchanging oral sex. The pattern lasted over
four years, and Tim still struggles with homosexual urges today. Guard your
child from having to go elsewhere to find love and acceptance.
­Parent-­Child “Mismatches”
How do you as a parent, and particularly as the ­same-­sex parent, understand masculinity and femininity? What is your response to a child who
does not fit those expectations? Fathers who fit the classic stereotype of
masculine (less emotional and communicative, into sports, c­ areer-­focused,
and so forth) can find it difficult to relate to a sensitive, empathic, artistic,
or otherwise less stereotypically masculine boy. It is even harder for what
we might call the hypermasculine man: the a­ ll-­star jock who never cries or
shows weakness, is aggressive, and is a let’­s-­go-­hunting-­or-­kickboxing sort
of guy. The mother who exuberantly enjoys being a girl may feel much the
same toward her tomboy daughter.
In such cases, the dad or mom needs to take up the challenge of finding connections with the very different temperament and interests of their
young child. In our engagement with individuals who struggle with sexuality issues, we have heard many stories of fathers or mothers relentlessly and
thoughtlessly pushing their child to enjoy and engage with the activities of
interest to the parent.
We know a ­well-­intended father who, only when his ­college-­aged son
announced that he was gay, realized he had for years been constantly and
­less-­than-­subtly pestering his son to join him in more masculine activities.
(“You spend too much time at the piano. Come on, you’ll enjoy hunting
[or football] if you just try it.”) Similar stories apply to the mother who
has trouble relating to her tomboyish, logical, unemotional daughter. In
the worst cases, the ­same-­sex parent can become actively harsh, rejecting,
hateful, and demeaning to the child.
Instead, enter the world of your child and find ways to celebrate the
child’s interests and inclinations as you simultaneously celebrate the sex that
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