LGBTQ+: Raising An Inclusive Child
Three Things You Can Do to Start a Conversation in Your Home
Written By: Christy S. Renjilian
You believe all families and individuals are worthy of our respect. Everyone should have the ability and opportunity to feel good about themselves.
So being inclusive and welcoming is essential to you. And creating a space where you, your family, friends, colleagues, and those around you can see themselves and be themselves, you’re all about it.
And you know your child wants this, too. He’s naturally inclusive. And curious. And you want to nurture those traits.
If we all did that, it sure would make for a more inclusive community. A more inclusive world.
At Child Care Consultants, Inc., we work equally hard to ensure equal opportunities for all children so that they have the resources they need to grow up and be successful.
For me personally, inclusivity means that coworkers, clients, friends, and family members that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, see me as an ally. I’m committed to doing the hard work of listening and learning, to grow in my understanding of the issues they face and how I can be supportive.
And clearly, you are too.
If you’re ready to take the next step, to have meaningful conversations with your child about LGBTQ+ inclusion, here are three ways you can start.
Read Inclusive Books With and To Your Child
You know the importance of reading and the impact it has on early childhood development. So start there. Find a book that showcases that families come in all forms, and each person is to be valued and included.
“Diverse literature enables students to see themselves as the heroes of the story.”
– Lily Eskelsen García
Not sure which book to start with? You can always head to your local library. Your librarian will be happy to lead you to really great choices.
Or, if you’re looking to order online, here are some of my favorite inclusive children’s books:
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Families by Shelley Rotner
The Family Book by Todd Parr
Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
Create opportunities for sharing and teaching. Welcome your child’s questions and curiosity, and if you don’t know the answers to his many questions, seek out the answers together.
The best books spark new thoughts, new conversations, and new ways of thinking. So go on, read an inclusive book with your child.
Immerse Yourself in Communities that Include LGBTQ+ Members
Be a part of communities that include LGBTQ+ members and provide welcoming spaces for them and their families.
For you, it may be participating in a local, regional, or online workshop. Or volunteering your time with an impactful organization. Maybe it’s a celebration or parade. Or maybe it’s inviting a loved one or community member to have coffee with you.
If you’re interested in learning, immerse yourself. Become better informed. And do the work.
And when you’re ready, intentionally immerse your child in inclusive environments, if possible. Start by bringing her along to an inclusive environment. As a next step, maybe you work together to identify a summer camp, an extracurricular activity, a local community day, or another experience she’s interested in.
Look for opportunities. And have open conversations.
“The richness, beauty, and depths of love can only be fully experienced in a climate of complete openness, honesty, and vulnerability.”
– Anthony Venn Brown
Many nonprofits are a great place to start. They serve the needs of all the members of their community and are some of the most inclusive businesses in the region.
At Child Care Consultants, Inc. our mission is to ensure that all children succeed. So we are mindful of the challenges facing LGBTQ+ families and work to promote their well being.
As an organization, CCC staff have attended workshops sponsored by other community partners and state and national experts. These inclusive, immersive training events assist us in our support of early childhood education providers and community partners; and ultimately impact families here in our region.
It’s about learning and doing and engaging in the communities we serve.
Seek Out Trusted Resources to Expand Your Thinking
When we want to learn something new, to train our minds on a particular subject or topic, we often go to the worldwide web. And while it can prove helpful, at times, we can also get sucked into an endless vortex of knowledge and ideas and opinions.
Because you want to expand your thinking, your awareness, and really be that welcoming, safe place for young people in your life.
Let me point you in the right direction. Visit PFLAG, an organization of parents, families, allies, and others who support people who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. They are working toward a world where diversity is celebrated and people are respected, valued, and affirmed regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
PFLAG works to build on a foundation of love, helping families unite with LGBTQ+ people and allies who support one another. And to educate people and communities to speak up as advocates until all hearts and minds respect, value, and affirm LGBTQ+ people.
They offer free resources, like their video blog series, membership, which comes with access to PFLAG Academy Online, and local and regional support.
If you’ve never visited their site, do so today.
Start Talking to Your Child Today
Look, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Chances are good, really good, that your parents didn’t talk to you about sexual orientation or inclusivity during your childhood. Or even as an adult.
But you, you can change that. The most important thing is to start learning, and to follow that up with conversations in your home. And then, together, work to build a more inclusive spirit and environment for our LGBTQ+ family and friends.
“We should keep calm in the face of difference and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity”
– George Takei
As you read a book together, with your child, turn to her to discuss what you just read. Ask her how she’s feeling and what she thinks about it. Share your thoughts, too.
Because you’re ready to wonder, to soak in the diversity of humanity, to not only know it in your heart and see it from a screen, but to really engage and live a full, meaningful, inclusive life.
One step at a time.
Learn More About Being a LGBTQ+ Inclusive Parent
About Child Care Consultants, Inc.
Child Care Consultants, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They serve childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic.
For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.
Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director.
To learn more, visit childcareconsultants.org.