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How can I fix this?!?!

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 12:35 PM
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The other day, I was playing Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii, and the background on the screen was my chosen character dancing with backup dancers.  On one of the songs, my guy had just one backup dancer.  Lydia said "Are those both BOYS?" 

I said "Yes..."

She said "That's DISGUSTING!"

I stopped dancing.  "Why is that disgusting?"

"Well, I mean, if it were a boy and a girl, or something, but they're BOTH BOYS, and that's just disgusting!"

This is about the point where my husband stepped into the discussion.  We tried REALLY HARD to figure out why on earth she thought two boys dancing together was "disgusting" (though at this point, the discussion wasn't just about a backup dancer, but was about gays in general) and it took a long time to get her to quit saying that.  We said "We're not trying to tell you not to think that; we just want to find out WHY you think that.  And if you don't HAVE a reason not to think that (as clearly, she didn't), then you DO need to stop thinking it, because it doesn't make any sense."

She never could explain to us what was so "disgusting" about it.  I have NO idea where she got this idea, and she swore it just came from her one told her it was disgusting.

This isn't the first time we've had this conversation, and I CAN'T SEEM TO MAKE IT STICK that there's NOTHING wrong with two people who love each other!!!!  (I hope that doesn't bite me in the ass when she's 14 and in love with a 35-yr-old...)

Any suggestions?  What can I do to make her STOP thinking this way?!?!



by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 12:35 PM
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by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Where do they come up with these ideas? You and your husband handled it perfectly.

In your shoes, I would continue to address this issue in subtle ways. There are great kids books you could bring into your home - one of our favorites  is 'And Tango makes Three'.

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Hmm... try to explain that it's not disgusting and why.  Is it disgusting for two girls to dance together?  To play together?  Is it disgusting for two boys to play together?  Try and break it down for her that there's nothing disgusting about it because the boys were having fun.  And if she still thinks it's disgusting, then that's ok too- she doesn't have to dance with two boys and she doesn't have to watch.

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by Group Owner on Feb. 5, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Good plans, guys.

Brooke, I think you're right...I think she keeps forgetting this lesson because I go too far between reminders.  If I kept up with it...subtley, like you said, not making a big deal of it, then maybe I can make it stick before she has the chance to really hurt someone with this mentality.

Honestly, I'm not sure we handled it as well as we could have.  We were so intense with our questioning that she started to cry.  Brandon threw out the word "stupid."  (Not "You're stupid," but "Saying things without knowing why you say them is stupid.")  I was just so...APPALLED by her outlook.  It's not the first time she's said something like this, but it sweeps the rug out from under me every time.



by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 6:48 PM

Thing is, you can't MAKE her stop thinking it. If she thinks it, you can try and help her change her outlook, but bottom line, she's going to think what she wants. Just like, no one can MAKE you think that being gay is bad, no matter what their arguments.

My children (with the exception of my eldest daughter) were all very... skittish about same sex relationships. They thought it was "gross". I talked to them a lot about it, but you know what the best cure for that was? My friend "M" is a lesbian, and when I told them that, they about fell over themselves in shock. They LOVE her. They had no idea. And when they could put a face to what "gay" is, it was a complete 180 for them. They now talk about how you should be able to love who you want, and they say things like, "I hope that 'M' can get married some day to who she wants (ref Prop 8 here in CA)".

So, go out and get some gays, Jess *grins* Seriously, though, maybe if you can put a face to "gay" for her, she won't be as "disgusted" by it. Also, what has really worked for me in regards to my kids, is I talk about it a lot. When one of mine was going through that "it's gross" phase, I did ask her why she thought that, but when she couldn't really give me an answer, I quit asking. I just started saying things like "Oh, really? I don't think so. I think love is beautiful, no matter what or who it is" or the like. I don't really know where they got the "it's gross" thing from (I suspect, but not sure) but instead of saying "you shouldn't think that way" I say the other (or things similar). I won't ever tell my kids how or what to think, no matter if I agree or not, but sure as shit I'm going to try and influence it to MY way of thinking. To varying degrees of success, I am sure, but still...

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM

I really like what everyone else has said.  I think all you can do is just look for those small teaching moments and just let her know how you feel. Kids seem to listen more when you are not lecturing them, but just talking to them.

She is pre-sexual right?  It just might not make a lot of sense to her right now.  We've always told our guys that all love (between mutually consenting adults) is great.  But O had a hard time wrapping his head around gay relationships after we had "the talk".  I also know that he is hearing a lot of "eww - gross" stuff at school about all sorts of things.  When he says eww at home I ask him why, and it generally turns out that he does not feel that way - he is just repeating what he heard in school.  I tell him that we don't say that kind of stuff in our house and it goes away.

But you may also have to be prepared for the following scenarios:

- she does not feel the way you do about same sex couples.

- she knows how you feel about same sex couples and knows that saying yuck is a way of getting to you.

Good luck!


by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Quoting imannieeggplant:

She is pre-sexual right? 

Good god, I hope so.

She's six.  :-P




by on Feb. 6, 2009 at 5:13 PM

It sounds like it's just a visceral reaction she's having without any understanding of why she feels that way. She can't vocalize it for you yet.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Quoting JoyeAustin:

It sounds like it's just a visceral reaction she's having without any understanding of why she feels that way. She can't vocalize it for you yet.

This makes me wonder something, though.

Usually, when babies follow their instincts, we think that they're being NATURAL, and that we should all strive to be that way.  Most babies yearn to be outdoors, unlike thier pale-skinned adult counterparts.  Most babies trust women and naturally run from men, a smart reaction in my eyes (I kid, I kid).  We have to TRAIN them to be unnatural.

So...if this is just her visceral reaction, does that mean maybe it's NATURAL to be homophobic, and WE'RE the freaks?

Just wondering.  It wouldn't change anything.  If tolerance is wrong, then I don't want to be right.



by on Feb. 6, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Or, maybe it jsut means she's straight. If she were gay herself, she might be fascinated by what she sees.

by Group Admin on Feb. 8, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Well, Merceydeis thinks any kissing is gross.  She's so funny, but neither orientation bothers her more than the other.  Obviously, she's grown up in a household with two lesbian women... and she's been living in society for 8 years, which is dominated by heterosexuality... so, she thinks it's ALL normal.  :-)

Just because you're very liberal, tolerant, accepting, etc. doesn't mean that kids don't pick up on other things.  Almost everything is dominated by heterosexuality.  What she learns in school, how she sees couples, what she reads, what she watches... think about it.  How often does homosexuality come up in her books, in her cartoons, etc.  Even in the background, as she listens to a movie you're watching, is homosexuality displayed?  Do you know what I mean?  Even if someone doesn't purposely promote heterosexuality, it's there... it's everywhere.

I think someone recommended this already, but I would bring diversity to your home via books.  There are a TON of great books out there.  It helped Merceydeis understand that it's okay to have two moms... it helped her classmates understand that Merceydeis isn't weird because she has two moms... etc.  If you actually include homosexuality in your life, no matter the subtlety, it will help.

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