How do I explain two boys kissing to my six-year-old?
Q: For new years we watched clips of the Rose Parade, they showed a gay couple getting married and kissing. My six-year-old son turned around and said, "That is two boys kissing. Where is the girl?" I didn't know what to say! I want my son to grow up loving and accepting everyone, but it caught me off guard. I looked at my husband as he was ready to say something but I quickly changed the subject because I didn't want him to say the wrong thing. How do we explain this to him?
A: This is a great opportunity to open up the lines of communication with your child about relationships, intimacy and displays of affection. Kids notice everything and often have very astute observations about what they see and hear. First of all, I would say, “What a great question. We often do see boys and girls kissing…” and move the conversation along from there. Letting your child know that you appreciate their question is a great place to start because it gives the feedback that you care and think what they say is important. He may be fully satisfied with a simple answer (eg “Yes. Two men because they are a couple.”) or he may have more questions, which is fine. Always give children the opportunity to ask more questions. Instead of starting with your pre-conceived ideas about what he is asking, you might also want to ask your child what he understands or wants to know about what he saw. Remember, it’s never too early to talk to your children about love and how people show their love for each other - this includes couples made up of men and women, just men, or just women.
Answered by Rachel Busman, Psy.D.