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Parent Convo Starters

Parent Conversation Starter: Preventing Homophobia

We’ve provided these free Parent Conversation Starters to help parents begin intentional dialogue about sexuality with children and teens. Each Starter includes step-by-step instructions for parents to (1) prepare for conversation and (2) initiate conversation, broken down by age-group.

These starters are just that–starters. These are not meant to be one-and-done conversations, but rather a place to begin ongoing conversation. We know these are difficult conversations, which is why we’ve created a 12-hour Parent Course, designed to give parents all the tools they need to have compassionate and theologically accurate conversations about sexuality with their kids throughout childhood.

 

(1) Prepare for Conversation: get familiar with the topic

Topic Summary: How can parents be careful not to hurt children with homophobic remarks, considering that their kids might one day experience same-sex attraction?

Parents, read Equip’s blog post about preventing homophobia. As you read, pause and reflect on the following questions:

  • What are some ways you’ve seen culture teach kids to fear gay people? Or to fear someone thinking that they’re gay?

  • How has this bled over into the Church?

  • How have you already seen the ways this has impacted your kids? (Do they fear being too close, too affectionate, too “into” friends of the same sex? Do they use gay slurs against their friends as put-downs? Do they feel the need to “prove” that they aren’t gay or worry about being perceived as gay?)

  • What are some things you’re doing to combat any fear you may have around gay people?

 

(2) Initiate Conversation: ask good questions

With your deepened understanding of the topic, initiate conversation with children and teens with age-specific questions:

Conversation about LGBT+ topics should take place within a broader conversation about the need for everyone to steward their sexualities in God-honoring ways. Here’s a brief summary of what all children need to know about sexual stewardship–please ensure your children have grasped these foundational truths before exploring sexual minority-specific conversations:

  1. God created all of us to enjoy human intimacy in the context of life-long, lived-in family, and we find that family through one of the vocations God created: Christian marriage or vocational singleness. As our kids enter their young adult years, they will begin to discern with (ask) God which vocation He has given to them.

  2. Humanity’s sin has bent and broken the goodness of everything God created. We see the results of this bending and breaking everywhere. We are all broken in the area of sexuality, and none of us can do intimacy or family perfectly. Encourage your child to share with you when they discover where broken sexuality is part of their story.

  3. We are still able to find beauty and goodness and flourish in this broken world because God offers us His wisdom through the Bible and the Church. When we follow God’s wisdom, we’ll find the greatest joy, the deepest meaning, and the richest belonging in this life.

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 2-5

If you have children ages 2-5, use this discussion guide to talk with them about close, affectionate friendships.

Start the conversation by asking some questions:

  • What is a friend?

  • How do you know someone is your friend?

  • What are some things you like to do with your friends?

  • Who are your best, closest friends? What makes them your best friends?

  • Would you say that you love your friends?

Say, “You know, friendship is a wonderful gift from God. We love our families, but God also gives us close friends to love.”

“Even Jesus had close friends. Do you remember which of the 12 disciples Jesus was closest to? (Peter, James, John) Jesus had best friends! A man named Lazarus was also one of Jesus’s close friends. When Lazarus died, Jesus cried because he was so sad to lose his friend. Do you think Jesus loved His friends? He did!” 

“Just like Jesus, we can have close friends. People we love and who we show affection to. People we talk to about our fears and joys. People we are able to be ourselves around.”

Say, “I want you to know that it’s normal and good to be close friends with other boys/girls your age. If someone tells you that boys can’t be close friends with boys or that girls can’t be close friends with girls, please don’t listen to them.”

Ask, “Can you think of any people in the Bible who were close friends?”

Say, “Jonathan and David were such close friends that their ‘souls were knit together’ (1 Samuel 18). When Job was experiencing much pain and hardship in life (his children were all killed, he had a disease, and his job was taken away), his friends came to sit with him, grieve with him, and comfort him (Job 2). Abraham had such a special relationship with God he is called a friend of God (James 2). Ruth insisted that she stay with Naomi, even though that meant she would leave her own family and homeland behind (Ruth 1).”

“God values friendship. It’s good and appropriate for us to have close friends. Let’s pray and thank God for friends.”

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 6-9

If you have children ages 6-9, use this discussion guide to talk with them about close, affectionate friendships.

Start the conversation by asking some questions:

  • What is a friend?

  • How do you know someone is your friend?

  • What are some things you like to do with your friends?

  • Who are your best, closest friends? What makes them your best friends?

  • Would you say that you love your friends?

Say, “You know, friendship is a wonderful gift from God. We love our families, but God also gives us close friends to love.”

“Even Jesus had close friends. Do you remember which of the 12 disciples Jesus was closest to? (Peter, James, John) Jesus had best friends! A man named Lazarus was also one of Jesus’s close friends. When Lazarus died, Jesus cried because he was so sad to lose his friend. Do you think Jesus loved His friends? He did!”

“Just like Jesus, we can have close friends. People we love and who we show affection to. People we talk to about our fears and joys. People we are able to be ourselves around.”

“I want you to know that it’s normal and good to be close friends with other boys/girls your age. If someone tells you that boys can’t be close friends with boys or that girls can’t be close friends with girls, please don’t listen to them. Being close friends with someone of the same gender as you doesn’t mean that you’re “in love” with them or want to be their boyfriend/girlfriend.”

“In fact, there’s a wonderful example of close, affectionate friendship between two people of the same gender in the Bible! Do you remember King David? Well, before he became king, he met King Saul’s son, Jonathan. And the Bible says that when they met their souls were “knit together.” When describing David and Jonathan’s friendship, the Bible uses phrases like “deep love,” “Jonathan loved David as he loved himself,” “Jonathan treasured David,” “covenant friend,” “my brother Jonathan,” “I have delighted in you; and your love for me was wonderful.” Jonathan saves David when King Saul wants to kill him, and when Jonathan dies, David weeps bitterly and composes a profound lament in his grief, declaring that Jonathan’s love for him far surpassed any other love he had known (1 Samuel 18-20; 2 Samuel 1).”

“Jonathan and David aren’t the only example of close friendship in the Bible. When Job was experiencing much pain and hardship in life (his children were all killed, he had a disease, and his job was taken away), his friends came to sit with him, grieve with him, and comfort him (Job 2). Abraham had such a special relationship with God he is called a friend of God (James 2). Ruth insisted that she stay with Naomi, even though that meant she would leave her own family and homeland behind (Ruth 1).”

Read these verses about friendship:

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  • John 15:13

  • Proverbs 17:17

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11

  • Proverbs 27:9

  • Romans 12:10, 15

Ask, “What new things have you learned about friendship from these examples and verses?”

“How important do you think it is for you to have close, deep friendships with people of the same gender as you?”

“Why do we need friends?”

“God values friendship. It’s good and appropriate for us to have close friends of the same gender. Let’s pray and thank God for friends.”

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 10+

If you have children ages 10+, read the blog post with them and discuss some or all of the following questions.

  • What thoughts or feelings do you have about what we just read?

  • Why do you think Tommy might fear other kids thinking he is gay?

  • Do you feel like your close friendships with others of the same gender are being closely examined?

  • In your circles of friends, how is “gay” perceived?

  • If someone in your circle of friends was perceived to be gay, what would the other friends do? Would that person be forced to “prove” they aren’t gay? Be ostracized? Feel the need to hide?

  • How do you feel about calling out homophobic comments? How would you defend your gay friends against homophobia?

Say, “Let’s read about a friendship in the Bible, between David and Jonathan.”

Read 1 Samuel 18-20 and 2 Samuel 1.

Ask, “What are some words or phrases the Bible uses to describe David and Jonathan’s friendship?”

“The Bible mentions that David and Jonathan share non-romantic physical affection. What do you think about that?”

“If David and Jonathan were part of your friend group, do you think their close friendship would be acceptable? Would people assume they were gay? Would they feel the need to hide their closeness? Would they drift apart as friends due to homophobia in the group? How would you feel about calling out the homophobic comments and actions?”

“David and Jonathan weren’t in a gay relationship and their friendship wasn’t at all romantic; rather they formed a deep bond and remained loyal to one another for life. But I want you to know that if you ever experience same-sex attraction (an attraction that’s more than close friendship), I want you to know that you don’t choose who you are attracted to, you’re not alone and you don’t have to make sense of this alone, you don’t need to feel ashamed–I know this isn’t your fault, God doesn’t love you any less and He has great plans for you, I’m not going to try to make you straight, and I want to walk through this with you. Please don’t ever feel afraid to tell me; I won’t love you any less.”

 

 

Equip’s Parent Course includes over 30 example scripts you can use with kids ages 2-12 to talk about marriage and singleness, intimacy and family, sex and sexuality. Check out a free preview and register for an upcoming Course here.

 

 

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