LGBTQ families and raising children

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LGBTQ families and raising children It is impossible to say how long lesbian, gay, transgendered and queer people have been parenting children. With the recent legalization of gay marriage in Canada, there is increased attention and tolerance towards these families. This shift also means that more LGBTQ people are raising children than ever before.

Some of the first kids who grew up in openly LGBTQ families are approaching the age of 30, which means we have more access to information about growing up in these non-traditional homes. Numerous studies have shown that children of LGBTQ parents are just as happy and healthy as children from more conventional families.

Nevertheless, there are certainly unique challenges that LGBTQ parents and their children face. Prejudice and discrimination are still commonplace, and children may encounter teasing and bullying from friends and peers. Also, kids may feel isolated, confused or ashamed when their families do not resemble the ones portrayed in media such as movies, television shows, and storybooks.

Advice for LGBTQ parents

  • Be confident in your strengths as a parent; remember that LGBTQ people make excellent parents and raise healthy kids.
  • Have ongoing, age-appropriate conversations with your children about your sexual orientation or gender identity throughout their childhood. Make yourself available and prepared to answer any questions your kids may have.
  • Practice appropriate responses to any teasing that may come up. Be mindful not to blame yourself – many children are teased or bullied for many different reasons; this is not your fault.
  • Fill your home with books that represent diversity, Parentbooks has an excellent selection of books for LGBTQ families.
  • Be a part of a network of LGBTQ families so that your children get to meet other kids with families like yours.
  • Children of LGBTQ parents have their own kind of ‘coming out’ to do – allow them the space to do this on their own time and in their own way.

While it can be easy to get caught up in some of the difficulties of raising kids in a non-traditional family, there are numerous positives. Children from these homes are well-adjusted, healthy, and happy, and may also be more tolerant of diversity throughout their lives. If you or your children are suffering from the effects of discrimination, call 1 866 833-7690 to talk to an EFAP counsellor or visit workhealthlife.com for more information.

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