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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:04 AM
Original message
Ok gang, I need some advice or something...
I have an 8 year old daughter, relatively bright, very aware, reads wikipedia for fun. Trouble free except for recent rants about what a 'farce' God and religion is.
We live in a small town, she has had zero personal exposure to any GLBT people but understands what those terms define.
Well, this weekend, we will have an openly gay couple staying with us for two nights as part of couchsurfing.com.
She gets that girls can like girls, boys can like boys, that gender identity can be
confusing.
She will want to ask questions, I know it. Apropriate or otherwise, it's her nature to be curious and outspoken.
Should I be proactive and talk to her about what she may ask and what she may not? In general terms?
Or should I just warn my visiting couple that I have an 8 year old who is going to be giving them the once over?
I doubt she would offend any one but she might cause some discomfort.

Thoughts?
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't want to derail this thread -- but how do you like couchsurfing?
Been thinking of joining it myself, but haven't yet...

btw, I think you should be proactive - she sounds like she could handle it...
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Been a member for two years now...
And only one bad experience. We are on the coast so we get mostly bicyclists touring down from Seattle to San Diego or further.
The one bad experience came from a 'hiker' who turned out to be a freeloading bum who was gaming the system.
But overall, great fun, lots of interesting poeple from all over the world.
Gypsy students on break out to see the world, one woman who was three days out of the IDF, lots of Europeans', most didnt smell.
We have hosted maybe 40 people, from 13 to 66 years of age.
Our place is popular with the bike tourists, hot tub and all, actually booked right now through July (we take two a week).
Most buy food and cook dinner, some I take surfing, all in all, do it.
Just don't be afraid to be picky about who and when.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:13 AM
Response to Original message
2. This is what I learned
about kids asking tough questions (about anything) when I was in graduate school studying counseling. When she asks a question, ask her what she thinks then correct any misconceptions she may have.

She may not ask anything. You are having guests and that really may be all she really cares about.

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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
3. Mine are teenagers now and we've had enormously good results by waiting for them to ask the question
and then answering in brutal detail. We then, often, have good discussions regarding such subjects wherein we discuss every aspect, tell them what our opinions are and let them/watch them make their own judgements. We've almost never had to correct them unless they got their initial information elsewhere. Sometimes we have brought a subject up, & discussed it in a situation like yours so as to avoid their being confused, embarrassed, or embarrassing.. It's worked very, very well as they are very compassionately open minded without being judgemental or confused. Good, caring, and laid back kids.

So that's us..
Good Luck & let us know how it goes!
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Thanks, your way seems to work and its what
I was thinking. I think prejudices start young and want to head off anything like that. We have had honest and frank conversations but nothing quite as adult as this.
I mean, she is 8, ya know?
Yikes.

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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. You seem to think that having a gay couple over is more "adult" than having a straight couple.
Why is having a gay couple to visit a more "adult" situation than having a straight couple to visit? Is it because you automatically equate "gay" with "sex?"

Your daughter is eight years old. You don't mention whether or not she knows about sex - the birds and the bees conversation. I'll assume that she does know about sex but as a mother myself, I know that most eight year olds don't think about sex very often. When they meet people they don't think about whether or not they are going to have sex soon. When an eight year old goes to bed she's going to bed, not to have sex (unless there is sexual abuse in the home, which I assume is not the case here, right?) When the eight year old sees a straight couple go to bed is she thinking/speculating about their sex lives? I very much doubt it.

So why do you fear that your daughter will speculate about the sex lives of your gay guests? It seems very unlikely to me.

When my kids were little I told them that some people liked people who were the same sex. They were familiar with the idea of husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. I simply stated - very calmly and without going into any detail - that some men were boyfriends or husbands of other men, and some women were girlfriends or wives of other women. And even that some people liked both. And that was that.

As they got older I mentioned that there were people who were mean to some other people, including being mean to people who liked the same sex. This resonated because my little kids had already learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. being assassinated because of the color of his skin (typically this is taught in kindergarten) and had already encountered extremist Christianists at school who had informed the other kids that they were all going to hell for not going to the right church. So by the time my kids were eight they certainly understood that there were bigots in the world.

Don't mix up sex with orientation. You don't know that your gay guests are going to engage in hot sex in your guest room and you would probably agree that it is not very polite to speculate about it. I can practically guarantee that your eight year old daughter won't be speculating about their sex lives.
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Webster Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
4. Go with the flow.
Anyone couch surfing will have to do the same.

I would be pretty impressed with an 8 year old ranting about what a farce God and religion is.

Sounds like a really smart kid!
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. It started with "Dad, I think Jesus was a Zombie..."
And went straight to hell from there.
Three hours later, she had decided that "these beliefs just get you out of dying!"
Oh shit...
Kids!

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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:02 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Or maybe she truly has those beliefs.
That would make her an atheist. Or she may feel more agnostic.

At least she feels open to express her beliefs and thoughts. Many non-theists don't have that freedom with their family and friends.
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thanks_imjustlurking Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. I had approximately the same experience at the same age.
I'm still an atheist, 50 years later.... ;->
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FreeState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
5. I would not limit her questions at all - kids are smart
Let her ask what ever she wants - I can't imagine a question coming from a person that age that would offend or make me uncomfortable. Honesty is always the best policy. I actually love being asked questions in stark honesty, something kids seem to know how to do very well! ;)

By the way gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation (gender is how you act and view yourself based on your physical sex, orientation is what sex you are attracted to).
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William769 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. +1.
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. I knew I was a bit confused...lulz...
Thanks for that, I do think that open mindedness comes with the territory.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
10. I'd offer my guests a heads-up and let my daughter do it herself. nt
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. My thoughts exactly
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
12. But it's not a farce.
We know that religion was in the caves and in our first burials. Religion began when we began. It isn't a farce. It's the history of our attempts to understand a world that didn't cater to us and sometimes brought us great sorrow and sometimes great joy. And religion became the cement of community with which we managed to endure it all by enduring it together.

I have a glossary of indo-european word roots. The words for witch and wand and economics have the same root, because all of it had to do with us trying to make our best deal with life.

"Farce" dismisses that struggle. Which had so many triumphs as we made our way through the millenniums.

But maybe that's too much for 8.
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Had to go to printer friendly
to read this post.
Ppppfffftttthhhhh....go hijack some other thread with this tripe.

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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
15. Talk to her and educate her. It's less uncomfortable than her unfettered questioning could be.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 02:06 AM by TheWraith
Besides which, it's better for her if she gets a clear and non-confusing explanation instead of getting things in dribs and drabs.
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yes, much better than adding to the confusion!
I wasn't this aware at that age nor inquisitive.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
17. ''Trouble free except for recent rants about what a 'farce' God and religion is.''
You call THAT trouble? I call that being a lucky Dad.
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. lol, I know but get lasts nights question about a song...
Ben Harpers' "Burn one down" was on.
"Dad? What does he mean by burn one down?"
I told her I could lie to her but would rather not.
30 minutes later she had the whole story of marijauna, from the ancient uses to Hearst and the Reefer Madness, the States rights issue and what the Feds do today.

"So all of those bushes in the room are illegal?"
"Not here" I said.
"Yeah, States rights, right?"
"Yes Dear..." said I.
"So instead of those white pills, you smoke a bush?"
"Yes Dear..."
"Sounds reasonable Dad...sorta..."

Oh boy...
I will be going to Hell.
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Rhythm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Hooray for honest parenting...
Lyric and i try very hard to do that with our son (almost 11), as well as the nephews we are helping to raise (ages 9 and 7). It would be so much 'easier' to beat around the bush on most issues, but then we wouldn't be doing our jobs as parents and mentors to these eventual adults. They can only make good decisions if they have good information in front of them to utilize.

You sound like you have an insightful daughter...
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