Same sex parents who have children, whether they are adopted or birthed naturally encounter issues in a variety of different places throughout their children’s upbringings. Some issues are lobbed aggressively while others stem from ignorance. No matter how they come about, they can be overcome.
Dealing with questions from other children
At some point your child will go to school, play a sport, or go to camp and other children might ask questions. “You mean you don’t have a mom?” These questions aren’t usually meant to be offensive, especially when they are young, and are fueled bycuriosity of other children who have no background knowledge in this subject area. Teach your child to be confident that all families are different and theirs is no different from anyone else’s. Equip them with the ability to explain their family on the most basic level and teach them when it is time to report hurtful words or behavior to a teacher, counselor, leader, or coach.
Dealing with teachers and coaches
People are going to have their views and opinions, what is important to remember is that yours are just as valid. At the same time remember that children of same sex couples are still a bit of a rarity, families come in a variety of pairings, but your child’s Kindergarten teacher might just never have dealt with your type of family situation before. Help them feel at ease by introducing yourself and your partner and let them know how your child identifies the two of you. This will help her understand who your child is referring to in conversation. If you encounter any issues of hostility against you or your child, politely take it to the building principal, beyond that reach out to the district offices.
Dealing with Hospitals and Healthcare
Occasionally, usually when emotions are flaring the most in emergency and medical situations, same sex parents are not allowed to stay with their child because they “are not real family”. Already high emotions can leave you wanting to fight for the rights you know you should have. As hard as it can be you have to walk away from those situations, for yourself and for your child. As a preventative measure you should have a health care proxy drawn up so that both persons in the relationship have equal rights to healthcare treatment of your children.
So much of what same sex parents face comes from ignorance. Some ignorance is innocent from children and people with limited exposure. Some of it is hostility that stems from a plethora of views and issues. The best thing for parents facing these issues is to stay calm whenever possible and then state and exercise your rights as a parent first and foremost.
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