Recently, I have written on a couple of Cana Vox videos, which are about helping our kids to navigate gender ideology. Some weeks ago, I posted an article about speaking to kids aged 5 to 10 on these topics, as well as a piece on the video for talking to 11 to 13-year olds.
This time I’m looking at the last video in this series, on speaking about gender ideology to children aged 14-18. As usual, Dr Ana Samuel starts with the four pedagogical principles that are of utmost importance when having these discussions: staying grounded in natural law; being able to speak intimately with your child; speaking age-appropriately; and practicing moral balance in your conversations (for more detail on these, see here).
She then moves on to scenarios that a parent might face with their older kids. In her first example, she talks about kids seeing a friend come out as gay. She says that it is important to of help your child to distinguish between same-sex attraction and gay identity: what does this person really mean by coming out as gay? That he is experiencing attractions to other males, or that he is planning to start engaging in a public gay lifestyle?
The next step she suggests is talking to them about social scripts, which are the social and cultural expectations of how our culture talks about certain situations (for example, cohabitation is the normal social script rather than dating followed by marriage). Dr Ana describes the current “gay script” as saying that same-sex attractions are naturally occurring; they are at the core of who a person is; that behaviours matching that identity are crucial for self-fulfilment; and that a person can’t be blamed for behaving according to their identity. The flaw in this script would be saying that identity is grounded in sexual identity, which isn’t true. She suggests giving your child a “natural law script” to compare to the narrow “gay script”. This would be that some people experience same-sex attraction; sexual feelings are real, but they do not define us; identity is grounded in human nature and has a lot to do with the choices we make; and we can accept and integrate our feelings into a healthy human identity. It is also worthwhile to remind them that strong and non-sexual friendships are necessary for self-fulfilment; and that everyone is worthy of great, unconditional love.
Another scenario described by Dr Ana is one in which your teen wants to continue watching a series with a gay sub-plot. She says that in this instance, parents could ask them to think about what they’d do if it was another inappropriate sub-plot, such as teen sex. Would they want to endorse it with their views and normalise or glorify it in any way? It’s okay to let them know that watching even small amounts can erode their sense of shock, and we always want to be shocked by wrong. Dr Ana says the most patient and thorough approach would be to sit down and watch the show with them, and help them cast a critical eye on what they’re watching.
The last scenario discussed is one where a classmate of your child says she’s a boy – should your child use trans pronouns to talk about them? In short, Dr Ana’s answer was “no.” She says that using trans pronouns makes us complicit in the situation; and that we have to speak the truth always; and teach our kids to do the hard, right thing. Of course, ensure that your child always treats the other child with kindness, and can use that child’s desired name without using the pronoun too. She also suggests that while there is a tendency to tell our kids to stay away from trans kids, parents should perhaps consider that their child might be mature enough to be a true and truthful friend to these kids.
CanaVox is an interfaith marriage and sexual-integrity movement founded by modern moms who haven’t forgotten timeless principles.