Thursday, April 23, 2009

Curiosity

I've been going the rounds over on Evan's blog about gay parenting. It's taken up all my blogging time and so I'll just link to it as my mid-week post :-).

here

The post that spawned all that commenting kind of reminds me of the time Brian came home from school the first day and started running around the kitchen yelling "mommy, mommy", an event I related, here.

In Evan's post an account of one of Rosie O'Donnell's sons is related. In it he is said to ask why he doesn't have a father and that is used by Bill Maier to argue against same-sex parenting. Of course, a child's wondering about the way his family is should not be a big deal and no one would judge heterosexual families by celebrity parents (I hope); anyway, I went over all that in those comments.

Still, I'm kind of left wondering, if that truly is the case for the O'Donnells, why it hasn't been for us or really all the children of same-sex parents we know here I can think of (and you bet we nervously ask each other about such things at our monthly get-togethers). The topic only comes up with our kids if we bring it up, aside from that nothing of an event I mentioned above. Our kids simply show no idea there is a "thing" about our family's difference, and, frankly, while I'm happy for that, it's kind of surprising. I've been bracing for at least a tough question here or there. I remember even a jewish friend telling me how different she felt her family was early on here in Utah, but our kids just don't seem to notice and their classmates don't seem to care.

Maybe the fact that they aren't even curious about our difference is a bit more evidence that things are changing quickly, even in Utah. If only it happened a decade before we got here.

5 comments:

BigRedHammer said...

Pre-teen and teenage years are where they start to notice differences. As children they're in a small bubble where they think the world is governed by the same laws they are.

As they grow up that's when they'll start noticing the differences. However that when they'll stop feeling comfortable coming to you with those questions.

Scot said...

Yeah, the teen years are the years that have me most worried. Though those teens of same-sex parents I've met do calm the nerves.

But it's not that they don't know there's a difference; we've explained all that and they can explain it back if asked. Rosie's son in this story is supposedly their age, and is said to ask about it but our kids, while they ask about a lot of things, just don't see this aspect of our home to be a curiosity.

I suppose what I'd like to know is, if that's the case, how she handled the issue before it came up. Is there a best way for same-sex parents to address this early on, or is it, as many parenting issues are, just a function of the personality of the child you're raising? It's hard to tell when you only really know your family.

C. L. Hanson said...

That is crazy that people would use such innocent curiosity to argue against same-sex parenting. Kids are going to be curious about all kinds of differences. It's not just a gay-family thing.

Daniel said...

Whenever I have heard a child speak ill of growing up in his/her gay household, it has always been the child of a SINGLE gay parent. I wonder if Rosie's child asked about a dad because Rosie's child was curious about where the other parent was, and "dad" means other parent in the common vernacular when you have a mom.

I watched a woman on a TV series who was very much against same gender households because of her experiences. She had been raised by a gay man who was always bringing home his one night stand boyfriends. He was open with his daughter about what he was doing at an inappropriately young age. In turn, she felt like she had no value to her dad as a woman. She blames this on the fact that she didn't see him love a woman. I blame it on the fact that he was a promiscuous man with poor parenting skills.

This is where gay marriage is necessary. Marriage protects children from situations like hers. Gay marriage protects children from situations like hers.

Scot said...

Oh don't I know it, C.L. There's this odd double standard.

I remember a friend in the Hispanic community once told me the children of minorities have to be twice a good to be seen as equals. I feel and try to resist that pressure in our home but we have this added issue where it seems our children have to love and be sure of their home twice as much as in any other family to be considered as content with it. I just hope that double standard dwindles before they get wind of it.

Daniel:
"Whenever I have heard a child speak ill of growing up in his/her gay household, it has always been the child of a SINGLE gay parent."

I think that's a great point.

I know a lot of such children, but most I know are from couples and none show any abnormal resentment for their family. But each time I hear a child of a gay man speak out against it, it's not only been a problem with a single dad, but it's a problem of a heated contentious divorce from the child's other parent, or, as you say in this case, instability in their relationships. Bad parenting and feeling devalued as a child ends up getting blamed on the easy target, when it's unfortunately common throughout America. Again, I think it's this twice-as-good-is-equal thing.