The current marriage equality debate isn't just for adults.
Kids are being exposed to it at school, via the media or may have overheard adult conversations.
It's important to be able to talk about what they're hearing.
And it's not only about marriage equality, but also relationships, diversity, equality, justice and fairness.
The Australian Psychological Society has shared the following tips about talking with children and young people about marriage equality.
- Let your children know that it's ok to talk about marriage equality
- Listen carefully to understand what they really want to know
- Explain the meaning of LGBTQI
- Talk to children about what marriage equality means
- Offer alternate views of relationships like not everyone wanting to get married
- Clarify any confusion and misconceptions about the marriage equality vote
Some children may also be exposed to negative views about the LGBTQI community which may be upsetting for those in same-sex families.
The APS also provides guidance on how to help children cope with homophobic or hateful views.
- Acknowledge and validate your child's feelings and emotions
- Help them put words to feelings
- Let them know that it's ok to question one's sexual orientation
- Make sure your child knows that you love them for who they are and that they don't deserve to be bullied or abused
- Create opportunities for your child to build their self-confidence and personal resilience
- Help them find opportunities to do well in activities that they're interested in, for example sport, music, dance, chess
- Let the teacher or school know if homophobic behaviour has been happening in the school community
- Help your child come up with and practice appropriate responses to teasing or mean remarks. There are some helpful resources here
- Use books, websites and movies that show children in diverse families - rainbow families
Finally, know that it's ok for you and your family to seek professional assistance.
Talking with a psychologist may be helpful if you need further assistance with issues that are raised during the marriage law postal vote announcement.