Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Talking With Teens About Sexuality

This is a topic my mother was never faced with. I did not discuss it with my sons when they were growing up. But now, in 2015, with the media being what it is and society having changed the way we are looking at sexuality, I am being placed into the middle of discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity. My grandkids know kids who are lesbians, gay, and bisexual. It seems they openly recognize these kids in their school system. I don't believe they know any that are transgender, but with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and the show I am Jazz,  the discussions at our house have started.

I have tried to be careful what I say. Or more importantly how I say it. I ask them first what they think? How much they know? Who do they know? What do their friends say? Is it being talked about in their church groups?



We do not know how sexual orientation is developed. The experts all agree that it is not caused by trauma, imitation of homosexual people, or bad heterosexual experiences. But we don't have full, scientific facts about why some are homosexual and others are not.

I think it is important, as a parent, to know your own biases and prejudices before you discuss it openly with your teen. Be honest with your kids if you have conflicted feelings. I, most definitely, have conflicted feelings. One week I think: Whatever! And the next: that's just not right.  At our house we have discussed what the kids have talked about in their church youth groups. I support what they have heard. The church states, as Christians, we have to stand on what we know the Bible says about sexual orientation. And that we, as well as Jesus, still love all people. You can still call them your friends. It is not our place to judge others. That right belongs only to God! I tell them that it is not okay to bully someone or stand-by as that person is being bullied; regardless of the reason.



My biggest concerns about this whole subject is when "the other side" name calls and condemns those of us who don't believe in their lifestyle. That just isn't being fair. When you want us to love and accept you for what you are then you must be prepared to love and accept us for how we are.  


It is much harder to be a teenager now than it was when I was growing up. I was well into my twenties before I knew anything, at all, about homosexuality. My grandchildren are much more educated and much more accepting than I am. Maybe this generation will be instrumental in helping all of us be more accepting.

What are your thoughts? Have you been in a position that you have had to talk with a young person about your beliefs? What did you say?

16 comments:

  1. I was put in the position of talking to my son about it when he told me that he was gay during an argument that we were having when he was 14 yrs. old. I was in denial for many years, telling him that he was too young to know that he was homosexual. Then after I finally understood that he was homosexual I was in denial for many years that he could choose to be different and become heterosexual if he wanted. It has been over 30 yrs since that argument and it has only been in the past 10 yrs or so that I have been able to see beyond my son's homosexuality and acknowledge all of his strengths and virtues. I was blinded to all the good things he is as a human and a man....his kindness, his empathy, his intelligence, his compassion because I was so hung up on what he wasn't.....heterosexual. So many wasted years.........

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    1. Thank you Wendy, for your honesty and openness with a sensitive topic. I cannot imagine being in your shoes. I am glad you are now at peace and making up for those 'wasted years'. We have to love them no matter what!

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  2. I'm surprised because I've discussed everything and anything with the kids but for some reason we didn't have much talk about sexual orientation. Maybe they agreed on what I thought about it and didn't have any other questions? I don't know. To be honest now with the recent Supreme Court ruling, I have decided in general not to bring up the topic unless someone asks me my feelings, which I will state, which will be biblical ones. I don't think I can change anyone's mind either way so I decided I don't want to argue about it, therefore, I'm not going to bring it up (could be cowardly or perhaps wise, I'm not sure). I do agree with your thought though that if someone wants us to respect their opinion, they should respect ours, which oftentimes is not the case.

    betty

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    1. That is probably a good policy to follow Betty. I don't want to argue with anyone about it either. I have my beliefs! But many times in these politically correct times we are living in I feel the 'other' side just wants us to accept their side. And if we don't then we are the problem! Isn't quite how I see it myself

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  3. I've always tried to be as frank and honest with my children about anything sexual in nature, as much as possible. They both have heard the Bibles stand on homosexuality at home and at church. They have both seen us talking to and treating those we know are gay just like we do anyone else. I have told them both that I do not necessarily by the "made that way" theory, but that my view is that if there is some biological bent in that direction, that it doesn't mandate that they give into it. Science has put forth that some people are genetically more susceptible to becoming alcoholics than others. That by no means forces them to drink, nor does it keep them from being capable of stopping with the desire to do so, a support system and God's help.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. I don't think I buy into the "made that way" theory. I have seen quite a number of girls who have "decided" they want to be gay. It is just very difficult for me to understand so much of what they are thinking! Coming from a family that is rife with alcoholism I totally understand the comparison you made!

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  4. I don't get asked. I encounter gay and lesbian teens all the time. There was one girl who preferred to be called a boy's name, so I called her by the name she preferred. (She dressed like a boy but identified as a girl.) I guess that's why I get along with so many of them.

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    1. Seems weird that she dressed like a boy but identified as a girl. I admire your ability to get along with all the differences there are in our teens today!

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  5. Thank goodness I'm not faced with 'having' to discuss these issues with a fledgling adult! It doesn't seem all that long ago, I was in 6th grade and teacher ushered all the boys out of the classroom while we girls were given a lesson and short film. To say I was astonished is an understatement. And later, I was too embarrassed to tell my mother what transpired; she had to hear about it from my BF's mother.

    Conflicted? Oh yeah! I still lean on my Biblical values ... then grow uneasy for enjoying the company of a dear friend who happens to be gay. Does that make me a hypocrite?
    Mostly, I abhor all the taking sides and pointing fingers.

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    1. I don't think that makes you a hypocrite at all, Myra. I think God wants us to continue to love and accept. No matter what. Judging is His job not ours. I feel very comfortable with that as my Biblical value. I don't want to take sides either. If we could just figure out how everyone is everyone's equal there wouldn't be the need for so much discussion!

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  6. I can relate to many of your observations on this topic. Obviously opinions are colored by each individual's life experience.

    I have a hard time believing that any human would "choose" a sexual orientation outside "the box of acceptable" that our society has drawn for us - the personal cost is too steep. So I fall in the camp of believing that the range of "normal" (whatever that is) for sexual orientation is broad, most likely a biological bent - and part of man's experience since we walked on 2 feet. I respect the ideas presented in the bible, but for me in this discussion, all I need to do is look out your window to see the huge array of nature of which we are a part to know that sexual orientation may be just another facet of life. I don't want to minimize the pain that some have experienced because of this, but I believe the cause of that pain is our man-made culture, not God-made nature. God doesn't make mistakes. Man makes them all the time.

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    1. I think that it used to be true that 'chosing' a sexual orientation outside the normal had a high price with it's acceptance. Anymore it seems more of a socially acceptable thing to do. Like 'in your face' type of statement! Not always but much of what I have observed here locally! God doesn't make mistakes is a good way to say it!

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  7. Well said, Paula! I agree with you wholeheartedly. My hope also is that this accepting generation can make inroads into more kindness and understanding. All human beings deserve to be treated with respect. It's hard sometimes from "this end of the timeline" to watch our small children grappling with these topics when I too was in my twenties before I knew about sexual differences. In college I remember two girls were expelled for "something happening in their room." Could I have been so naive? Yes, we all were.

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    1. I think it can be a good thing that this generation is more accepting. Or it can not be so good! I think we have a lot to learn. And maybe we can learn from them!

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  8. By the way, Paula. I'm also FoodDancer (Nancy at Alzheimerswife)

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    1. LOL. Thanks Nancy. I figured that out last time you commented here. Hope all is going well for you!

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