“My sister loves girls and that is okay! God loves us all — girls and boys — so it is okay.” Age 6
When a gay child comes out, how does the family deal with the younger children? This can be tricky. Not only must the family come to terms with the situation, but they need to sort out what’s age appropriate. Should they tell them? Avoid the subject? Will they understand? Will they want more information? What’s too young? And what about privacy? You can explain that this is a “private family matter,” but of course children are notoriously indiscreet about family matters, private or not, and the cost for a family outed at school or church can be extremely high.
My first answer is always to pray for God’s leading and follow it. A family can have an open conversation about the subject in general, without talking about the gay sibling in particular. “Some boys love boys and some girls love girls” can make sense to a child. It may require a little more explanation, but not much. Kids can grasp what adults often do not.
And sometimes they are way ahead of the curve. My friend, who has accepted her gay daughter from the beginning, was quite concerned about how to deal with her younger ones. Especially because she knew they would talk openly, as kids do, and she did not know how that would work if they said it, say, in school, or at church. (It’s a very small town and a legalistic church.)
Then she received a note from the twins’ teacher. My friend shared it with me:
“All this worry about my six-year-old twins finding out about their sister being gay. They were having a lesson in school today about different families. So they all drew pictures. Well, mine drew all of us and drew Kaitlin’s boyfriend and Lauren’s girlfriend! Teacher asked them to explain and Brenna told her, ‘Well, my sister loves girls and that is okay! God loves us all — girls and boys — so it is okay. And Jessie proudly said, ‘My mom said our family is super-blessed and special to have such a gift as a gay kid.’ She told her teacher, ‘God is showing my mom true love and grace so our family is special — is yours?’ Teacher said she could not answer. How amazing what they hear even we think they do not.”
It may not be an easy path, but it may not be as hard as you expect. Let God lead, and trust your children. They are wonderful at loving in a pure, Christ-like way.