Teach Kids About Same-Sex Marriage, Psychologists Say

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The Australian Psychological Society has published talking points so parents can engage their kids in frank discussions about marriage equality as Australians prepare for a postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Throughout many breaking debates, kids are likely to overhear terms they don’t understand. The APS anticipates this, and released the guide “Tips for talking with children and young people about marriage equality and related issues.”

"Sometimes children aren't quite sure about the meaning of LGBTQI+ words, or have heard them used in an unkind way," the document explains. "Give children direct and simple answers to questions they might ask about LGBTQI+ words," citing resources which provide definitions to some of the most commonly used terms.”

Instead of using conceptual terms, the APS urges parents to discuss marriage equality in the context of daily life — to avoid ineffable in favor of global concerns.

"Give them examples of people they know who might be in a same-sex relationship.”

The guide also suggests describing current issues, like the fact that Australia is the only English-speaking country that prohibits gay marriage by law since 2004.

"Not being able to marry discriminates against people in same-sex relationships because it does not give them the same rights as heterosexual couples," offers the APS to parents. “Discrimination is hurtful and harmful to people." And children know that hurt is wrong.

The APS guide is also a helpful tool for teaching kids about alternative relationships, and what it means to love a person — about variegations in love.

"There are many ways of showing love, commitment,  and responsibility that do not involve getting married but might include living together, or bringing up children together, or maintaining separate lives but having a close, loving relationship, or being a loyal, loving friend," the APS said.

"But it is the right to choose whether or not to get married that is important to remember in discussions around marriage equality.”

The same-sex marriage postal survey hits mailboxes early September. Australians will have as much as 56 days to cast their vote.


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