Last week Disney announced the first same-sex couple on one of their shows, Good Luck Charlie. While this is big news and some people are shocked I don’t think a lot of people are surprised about this decision. This is something I think has been a long time coming.
If you’re a Christian mom or dad you’re probably wondering how to talk to your kids about this and other things going on in culture. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to be watching shows like this yet it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to have some tough conversations with your kids about the differences between what culture says is OK and what God’s Word says is OK.
As a pastor of kids for over a decade and a parent here are a few thoughts on how to help your kids approach what’s going on in culture Biblically:
Have a calm attitude
A lot of parents freak out when something like this happens. Don’t be surprised when non-Christians don’t act like Christians. Why would they? The main thing is to stay cool and level-headed, knowing God is in control.
Talk to your kids as soon as possible
As a parent you want them to hear from you on tough and controversial issues first. Do your homework but don’t let the paralysis of analysis keep them waiting. If you do your kids might hear something from someone you’d rather they didn’t without the kind of filter you want them to have in place.
Share WHAT God says and WHY He says it
When you’re talking to your kids about what God wants us to do and not do, don’t forget to remind them that God sets these boundaries in place to keep us safe and not keep us from enjoying life. Also reinforce God wants us to love EVERYONE, whether they are Christians or not.
Let them ask questions
Your kids will have questions. And that’s a good thing. It shows they’re really trying to process what you’re telling them. Don’t feel threatened by their questions. It’s OK for them to question things. Help them discover the truth for themselves.
Connect with your church for help and resources
At some point your kids will ask you a question you probably don’t know how to answer. And that’s OK too. Don’t try to fake your way through it. Kids can smell a fake a mile away. If you try to fake it with them they’ll know and they won’t come to you because they won’t trust you.
Be honest with them and say, “You know, I really don’t know the answer to that, but let me find out and I’ll get back to you.” When you get to that point talk to one of the pastors at your church. They’ll be able to help you craft your responses and point you to good resources.
Set appropriate boundaries
Every parent is different on what they’re OK exposing their kids to and what they’re not OK with. That makes sense because every child is different. Know what your kids can handle and what they can’t. Then set appropriate boundaries that will keep them from stumbling in their faith.
Remember this is an ongoing process
This isn’t a one time conversation. It’s an ongoing dialogue with your kids about how they can live out their faith in the world in a loving, peaceful, and respectful way.
Keep coming back to what God’s Word says. Keep seeking His guidance about how to parent. Keep connected to a local body of believers who will support you on your parenting journey. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong or to say sorry. And keep dialed in to who and what is having influence on your kids.
None of this is easy. But with the right plan and your willingness to lean into God’s wisdom, grace, and love you’ll help your kids know the difference between right and wrong and choose the right in a way that doesn’t hurt their witness to the world.