51 answers

Would You Tell Your 3 and 6 Yr Old Their Aunt Is Gay?

We had a get together Saturday and one of my very best friends of 20+ years asked if I told my kids my sister is gay. I told her I felt they were too young and I'd rather have them understand the "Birds and the Bees" before I explained same sex partnerships. She thinks I should tell them and expose them at early age so they aren't shocked or confused later. I disagreed with this for many reasons. When it is age appropriate, I will absolutely tell them. I am very open minded and support my sisters decision 100%. My son is extremely analytical (turning 7 in Nov) and wants to know everything...how, why, when, etc. and I'm not ready for that! I remember when my sister "came out" it was one of the hardest thing she ever did...I felt so bad for her. Just curious if you were in my shoes, what would you do? Be nice :)

ETA: I want to mention that she hasn't had a girlfriend in a looooong time...before the kids were born. Otherwise, it wouldn't be an issue, the kids would see them together. Her being single is another post :) she's beautiful, but has horrible "gay-dar"! You would think she just came out, but it's been 24 years...gotta love her!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I decided to just let things happen naturally, instead of telling them. When/IF she is in a relationship, I can answer the questions as they occur. Her last longterm relationship was so bad that I may never have to think about this again. So, business as usual over here :) Thank you ladies...seriously, the best advice anywhere! There should be a fee for this, LOL!
PS: I wouldn't share any detail about the sex, of course...yikes!

Featured Answers

I've never TOLD my 4 year old her uncle is gay, but she calls his husband "uncle" and sees them hold hands and kiss and stuff. It's never confused her, for her it's normal.

10 moms found this helpful

I guess we are different! My sister has a partner and I introduce her as my sister in law. My kids have two aunts and that's just fine with us!

10 moms found this helpful

You don't have to explain sex to explain love.
We have gay family and friends.
This is simply the person that they love and are in a relationship with. Simple as that.
We answer whatever questions they ask with the honest answer.

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I've never TOLD my 4 year old her uncle is gay, but she calls his husband "uncle" and sees them hold hands and kiss and stuff. It's never confused her, for her it's normal.

10 moms found this helpful

I guess we are different! My sister has a partner and I introduce her as my sister in law. My kids have two aunts and that's just fine with us!

10 moms found this helpful

You can talk about gay without talking about sex. My boys are now 5 and 7, but they have understood for a long while now that some kids have a mommy and a daddy, and others might have 2 moms or 2 dads, and that it is all normal and ok. Being gay is not just about sex, so there is no need to bring sex into it, just say your sister loves a woman the way mommy loves daddy, and that it is ok and normal.

10 moms found this helpful

My brother is gay and we've always just been open with the kids about it--they don't think it's anything out of the ordinary. My brother brings his boyfriend to all our family get-togethers and all the grandkids (there are 13 of them--the oldest being only 7) just call them Uncle Dayne and Uncle Caleb and they know they're together and partners. Just talk about it like you would if your sister was straight and had a boyfriend. Being gay isn't only about sexual attraction, it's about who you love and even the youngest of kids can understand that

*added* I would never tell my kids or my nieces and nephews that my other brother is straight, therefore he only has sex this way. You don't need to bring sex into it at all.

9 moms found this helpful

NO - ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Both my SIL's are lesbians. I did not tell my kids until they were around 11 and 13 and they had an understanding of what gay was. I overheard the girls talking and then I said "you know 2 people who are close to you who are gay". One was obvious and it was like they had always known, the other they weren't sure about and guessed several different people first. My kids feelings for their aunts have not changed in any way since they were told.

7 moms found this helpful

I would tell them so it's not a big deal, just as your friend recommended. You're over-thinking this. It's not about the birds and the bees. It's just that some people fall in love with someone who is the same gender instead of the opposite gender. It's not something wrong, it's just not as common as someone falling in love with people of the opposite gender. There is no how, why or when to explain. Your sister loves other women instead of men because that's how [she was born, how God made her, whatever you believe]. My kids have known about our gay friends forever and just take it in stride. In our world, some women have wives or girlfriends and some men have husbands or boyfriends and the kids just roll with it.

7 moms found this helpful

I just told my kids 5 and 3 that some men like men and some women like women and not all women and men are married to the opposite sex like their mom and dad. They said that was "weird", so I said, "well not really" and listed the people they know who are gay: my best friend, some other different close friends they know, our neighbors, and one uncle. Once they realized that people they know are gay, they didn't think it was weird anymore. Like your kids, they don't know the specifics of sex or relationships AT ALL, so I thought it was easier to get it out of the way now, so it's never an adjustment once they start learning all that stuff.

6 moms found this helpful

I would but that's just me. My son has known about all my gay friends since he was little, he grew up around them. Recently he did ask me about what being gay ment while we were at a gay friends wedding and I told him that just like mommy loves daddy, Dane loves Kyle, and that's why they got married. He then asked why I didn't love a girl and I told him that's not how God made me. No time did I discuss sex because he's still to young to understand that but the point is there's always a way to explain anything to children in ways they will understand. But it comes down to what your comfortable with and when your ready.

6 moms found this helpful

They are too young - I am with you, I would wait until they are older and have a better understanding of "the birds and the bees". I am guessing that your friend does not have kids of her own or at least doesn't understand kids very well, and does not know when they are capable of understanding certain things and when it is still just beyond them. On the other hand, my neighbor ended up suddenly having to explain it a little to her 5 year old when there was a thing on TV about Ellen Degeneres and they said "Ellen's wife Portia" - her daughter asked why Ellen would have a wife if Ellen was a girl. Then her mom had to explain to her that usually women and men fall in love with each other, but sometimes some women love other women instead, and some men love other men instead, and that we really can't control who we fall in love with, but that's okay. That explanation was good enough for her daughter, without going into sex and biology and all that. If they start asking questions, then I would try to come up with an explanation that is age appropriate - but until they bring it up on their own, I see no reason for you to bring it up.

5 moms found this helpful

I don't think the conversation has to be about sex, any more than when you tell your kids about your marriage, you wouldn't start with sex.

I think it's fine to say, most girls grow up and love men. Some love women, like Aunt Jane...

However, let it arise naturally - you don't need a sit down to bring your sister out of the closet to the kids :)

I think it will only get harder if you bring sex into it.

5 moms found this helpful

You don't have to explain sex to explain love.
We have gay family and friends.
This is simply the person that they love and are in a relationship with. Simple as that.
We answer whatever questions they ask with the honest answer.

5 moms found this helpful

I think that's really silly of your friend! I have a cousin who is gay, friends in gay marriages and a sister-in-law who is gay and married with two children -one of whom is the same age as my oldest. We just spent a week with them. I haven't bothered to point out all the "straight" couples in my childrens' lives, so why should I explain the gay ones? I was actually wondering this trip if the oldest might ask, but he's been around enough gay couples at this point to understand that some relationships are between two people of the same gender. If and when he or my youngest ask, I'll simply tell them that some people find out they are attracted to the same gender as they are when they start "liking" other people near puberty. If questions arise during sex explanations at some point, then I'll tell them the truth.

5 moms found this helpful

((If your sister was strait, would your friend tell you to tell your kids? Probably not, right? ("Hey kids, I have something to tell you. Aunt Kay is...heterosexual. I thought you should KNOW.") So why should it be different with your sister being gay?))

My children (3 +4) don't understand what romantic love IS just yet. They haven't asked about sex either. They really don't *get* marriage, sexual orientation, or sex. When they hang out with our friends (some of whom are gay, some of whom are strait - some are single, some are in partnerships) they just know there is a lot of LOVE. They DO understand love. They do understand friendship. It's important that they see love, in all of it's beautiful manifestations.

When they are older and begin to ask about specifics, I'll give 'em simple and direct answers. Right now, I just want them to see loving, healthy relationships because that's the stuff that will sink in at this age. ;-)

5 moms found this helpful

I promise your 6 year old knows, but it is not a big deal to son.
It is just like anything else. He sees it and knows that his Aunt has a girlfriend. Just like some guys have girl friends..

Even when I was young, back in the dark ages, I knew there were men that had boyfriends.. My mother was surprised once when I asked if "John and his boyfriend were coming to visit".

It had never been mentioned, no public displays of affection, but I just knew.

I am always amazed how adults can totally underestimate children. Children are very observant. They are very perceptive.. It is just the nature of humans.

5 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't yet. They are too little. I don't go into detail about straight people either. Stuff like that is for when they are older, in my opinion.

5 moms found this helpful

Too young right now.

My aunt is gay and we just "figured" it out when we got older. That was back in the early 80s and things have changed.

You have a few more years before this needs to be discussed.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't think they need to know "just because." I'm not opposed to discussing this with kids, my high schooler (and oldest child) is gay. Unless the kids are exposed to sister and a partner, there is nothing they need to know. Her private sex life is not children's business. It's got nothing to do with "birds and bees," there is simply nothing here that they need to know about auntie's sex life, not their business

4 moms found this helpful

You are your kids' mother and therefore know best when to tell them! I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" age to deal with this topic. More important than what you say is how you treat your sister. If (as it seems) you still love her and treat her the same way (irrespective of her sexuality) that's what your kids will learn (irrespective of what you say or don't say)! My personal opinion is that we don't go around announcing to all and sundry that we're heterosexual, so why should you when you're not? Trust your instincts and do what YOU feel is right for you and your family irrespective of anyone else's opinions! God Bless

4 moms found this helpful

I think you can talk about it two ways:
a) wait for it to come up naturally, i.e. when she has a girlfriend, or it somehow is brought up by your kids.
b) talk to them about how some people choose to get married or live with a person of the opposite sex (example, "Like me and daddy"), but some people are different because nature/G-d made them different and they are interested in people of the same sex. You can also talk about it in the broader sense of family:
Some kids are raised by a mom, some by a dad, some by 2 parents (a mom and a dad, or two moms or two dads), some are raised by grandparents or aunts/uncles.

It has already come up (sort of) with my son who is 2.5. We went on a playdate with a friend of mine who is, essentially married to her partner (OH law doesn't recognize gay marriage, which is BS in my opinion, but I digress...). Anyway, when we got there, my son asked, "Where is X's daddy?" I said "X has a different family: She has 2 mommies instead of having a mommy and a daddy. Isn't she lucky?" I think it does help to have the example in front of them to have it come up.

You might reach out to your local Unitarian Universalist Church about it. The UU church is a "welcoming community" which means that ALL are welcome, straight and LBGT; black, white, red, green; atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Jew, Christian; etc. Because they are welcoming, the pastor/reverend or religious education minister would probably be able to guide you. And don't worry--you won't be converted, because UUs don't have a theology; instead they try to live and "preach" the 7 principles of UUs (from http://www.uua.org/beliefs/6798.shtml):
* The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
* Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
* Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
* A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
* The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
* The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
* Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Good luck with this. Blessings to you and to your sister, too. And if she's looking, you might suggest she try some of the online dating sites. There are specific ones for the various options.

4 moms found this helpful

Sounds like you made a wise choice to me.

4 moms found this helpful

I would also definitely wait. My 4 1/2 year old is already under the impression that you have a baby every time you get married, and I try to gently tell him that it doesn't quite work that way without being too technical. It is not appropriate for his age. He will be much older when same-gender relationships come up for a lot of reasons, but I will bring them up at home hopefully before they are exposed at school because I don't want them hearing "the world's" view on that first.

If your sister is in a committed relationship it might be different (if there were two aunts, for example) but you still wouldn't have to be too definitive. I don't think your children will be confused by not knowing until later. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't. It's not their business.

Just because they are gay doesn't mean they are going to sticking their tongues down each other's throats in front of the kids - and if they do - that's just wrong on their part.

When you feel they are ready to hear about it - then YOU do it and NOT UNTIL THEN! Do not be forced into it because someone thinks you should. You know your kids best.

3 moms found this helpful

My SIL is openly gay and living with a woman. We told my daughter her aunt was gay as soon as she could understand it which was actually like 6 months after she came out., and we will do the same with my 2 other kids.

3 moms found this helpful

No. They don't need to know anyone's preferences. I wouldn't say your uncle prefers young Asian women, or your grandpa had lots of flings while in the navy, or your cousin is living together with her boyfriend and having a child out of wedlock or, your great aunt believes in celibacy, or your uncle only goes after married women....

Really, these are private issues that children don't need to be privy to.

3 moms found this helpful

My nephew's aunt(s) are gay and my son along with everyone else knows they love eachother and are "married" (grumbles it should be legal imho). I have no issues with explaining to young ones how love works and that it works many ways. I can respect that you want your child to understand what you and your husband do first but as I see it there is no difference to me.

3 moms found this helpful

Heck no I wouldn't even dream of telling them just yet!! You are the mom, do what you think is best, but I think they are too young. What if your 7 year old starts asking sex questions about it, are you ready to answer it? I mean, he might ask exactly what being gay means, since you said he asks lots of questions. I would tell your friend if you want her opinion, you will ask her.

3 moms found this helpful

the only way to do this would be to make somewhat of a production out of it by saying 'i have something to discuss with you.....' which would open a lot of areas your son doesn't need to be thinking about because *you* brought it to his attention

i say you are right, let it happen naturally, no need to bring it to the attention of little minds

3 moms found this helpful

Honestly, I don't think you have to worry about this for a while. The kids may see them together, but unless they're making out, the kids will assume they are friends, which they are. I'd maybe hit the library and see if there are books that deal with it - for you and for the kids - so you have a little help when the time comes to explain.

And I agree that it's none of your friends business how/when you deal. Kids don't care. They will follow your lead in how to treat your sister and her SO.

3 moms found this helpful

You need to do what feels right for your family.

To me it's pretty simple, some girls like boys, some girls like girls. No big deal. However, I see no reason to just TELL them out of the blue, you know? If they meet her GF and have questions, well then I guess you'll have to wing it. But like I said, not a big deal, LOTS of girls like girls!

:)

3 moms found this helpful

My sister in law is gay and is in a long term relationship with someone. My 5 year old and 2 year old know them both as Aunt's but I am not aware that the implications have set in. When they ask we will tell them; its not going to be something that we hide. I just don't think it's something that we need to discuss or explain until the topic comes up in conversation.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't address it directly until the questioned. If your children grow up with their aunt only having female friends and eventually, perhaps, a female partner, it will just be a matter of fact for them. If they every have questions, I would answer them honestly, but being honest and being graphic are not the same thing. Don't burden their young minds with more information than they need.

2 moms found this helpful

My son age 5 has two gay uncles. No, we have not sat down and had a pointed discussion about it. In the first place he is still hazy on just what the difference between boys and girls is!
I think that growing up with seeing his uncles and their partners at holidays and family visits his understanding will develop naturally over time. I expect to answer questions along the way about both types of relationships and it does not seem like a huge deal to me.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree that at 3 and 6 they are too young, and since the situation doesn't really call for an explanation, I wouldn't.

2 moms found this helpful

No. I would not tell them. It seems unnecessary. Tell them when the conversation comes up, whether it be about your sister or another gay couple they may see and be curious about. Wait until they ask something specific that gives you the opening. Otherwise, it is not required at this age. I disagree with your friend's thinking.

1 mom found this helpful

Do they even know what "gay" is??? or "straight" for that matter??? I would wait. Wait until they get to the point that they can understand more. Additionally kids this age share with other kids these "new" things they learn. We had a neighbor learn the birds and the bees around 7 (when I was 4) and she shared with the WHOLE neighborhood. My parents were not pleased. As well as many others.

Right now the situation is moot. It does not matter. If they start to ask questions then yeah. But kids don't need to get into this yet. Just let them be kids.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all:
IT IS NONE OF YOUR FRIEND'S BUSINESS... what you do within your own family and with your kids per their Aunty that is Gay.
I would have told her that.

It is not for her to say, what to tell your kids nor when, nor if ever.

And, this is not about "sex"... although the topic can easily segue into that. Sure.
But with kids this young... they will not understand that.
Or you just explain about 'love' and relationships.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., I would not teell them, My sons girlfriends mother and sister are gay, and her 10 year old brother hates it, he's embarased by it, he has had behavioral issues because of it, even to the point the police had to get involved, the inncents of children has been destroyed compared to when my kids were growing up and of course when I was growing up. Children depend on adults to be resposible so they can be safe, not just physicaly but mentally and emotionally as well, some just don't care anymore. How sad it is. I have a grandson due this month and it sickens me that my innocent grandbaby is going to have agay grandma and aunt he soooo deserves better. Those of you who thgink being gay is not wrong, the Bible says different, and not believing in God or the Bible changes nothing who can put what they believe more important than what God says. Sorry K. I was just triping off the fact that my grandbaby is going to have a gay grandma and aunt. But i would not tell them. J.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey there, I haven't read most of the responses but I was glad to see your decision....I too have a sister (well, SIL) who is gay, difference being she has a very long time partner and my opinion is that it's a non-issue. If it's not a big deal to us it won't be to them & they will ask their questions as needed. Bravo to you!

1 mom found this helpful

I would not. Kids have enough issues without having to worry about why auntie is cuddling with a girl. I had to have a conversation when my 7 yr. old grand daughter walked in while Callie and Arizona were in the shower making out...it was uncomfortable because I was not prepared. I had gay roommates all through college and have had several friends who have been in monogamous relationships for years. I don't worry that someday I will be telling my grand-kids about being gay or lesbian but not today.

1 mom found this helpful

Gay is about who you love. It's never too early to introduce love to your kids. My cousin brings his boyfriend (whom I approve of) around. We don't use the word "gay" we just bring family.

Updated

Gay is about who you love. It's never too early to introduce love to your kids. My cousin brings his boyfriend (whom I approve of) around. We don't use the word "gay" we just bring family.

1 mom found this helpful

My kids have friends w/ 2 moms. and the word "gay" hasn't come up. But, one time one of my kids asked why did "joe" have 2 moms, i said because he is lucky. and that was that. It is a nonissue in my house. They know men can marry men, and women can marry women, and men can marry women. we don't go into the sex part.
I wouldn't say she was gay unless she is in a relationship. Would you point out to the kids that their aunt was straight?

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, let it happen naturally. And when they ask, tell them the truth. Aunt ____ loves girls. It's about who she chooses to LOVE, not who she has sex with. Her sex life is nobody's business.

I know you have a ton of answers, but I wanted to throw out there that if I were in your shoes I wouldn't yet because she doesn't have a girlfriend at this time. I think it can wait till they are a little older or until she gets serious about someone and brings them into your kids' lives.

I'd rather tell them when they are truly of age to understand, and I certainly wouldn't want them to witness it with their own eyes before we have "the talk".

I think that it's not your news to tell. Your sister can tell them if and when she wants them to know.

My best friend is a lesbian and has been out for 20+ years. My kids are little (2.5 and 5) and see her and her girlfriend often. I've never had any questions from them yet. I would go with a simple explanation like aunt ___ dates women not men. If she isn't seeing anyone, I can definitely see leaving the issue alone for now.

My sister is gay, and the subject has never come up with my 7 year old. At this point she knows that her Aunt is single, and chose to adopt her children from China because there were children there that needed a home, and she didn't want to wait to see if she would find someone to marry. My sister has never had a girlfriend in the presence of my daughter, but that is because we live in different states, only see her once a year and she has been single for a couple of years now. I will broach the subject with her if she asks, but at this point, I don't see that happening for a long while.

Well, considering that my kids have known about the "birds and bees" from relatively early ages (younger than 6 yrs old) I don't think your kids are "too young" to know about same sex partnerships. However, I don't think it needs to be made like some big announcement. I mean, whether you announce things like this to the kids or not they're going to find out and learn about them and this particular thing is not something we need to "shield" our children from.

Anyway. The situation with your sister? Not your friend's business. I would talk to your sister. It's HER opinion that matters since it's HER situation that's been discussed. Tell her that you'd like her advice on something that's been on your mind. Bring it up as, "I've been thinking about having the sex talk with Six Year Old. How do you think I should go about it?" When you've broken the ice and talked about that a bit, you can then ease into asking her about bringing up same sex relationships with the kids and if she has any advice or preference about bringing her own sexual preference up with them.

I agree with the others that telling them at this point is not necessary. I also think that it shouldn't be made into a big deal if the issue does come up in the future. If the kids see that the adults in their family have no problem with it and it's no big deal then they are not going to find a problem with it either. Waiting for the kids to be age appropriate to tell them that a family member is gay is silly in my opinion. You don't wait for them to be old enough to tell them that other family members are straight. It shouldn't be any different. If they ask questions, answer them appropriately making seem like it is no big deal. As it should be. Good luck.

You might want to talk to your sister about it - she may take some pride in being able to talk to her niece and nephew on this very personal aspect. I agree with the other posters that this is not about sex, it is about love. There is nothing wrong with saying that "some women love men, and some women love other women" and if you need to give it the label of straight and gay, respectively, that is your choice.

Good luck!

My kids are 7 and 8, and I think they would not get it. They think when you kiss, you have to get married, and married people have babies. I think it might be too confusing. You will know when the time is right for your own kids, and when it is a time that it will not shock them. Being around your sister and her partners, they will sort of get the gist anyway and will likely not be surprised when it is explained to them. Good Luck.

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