Christians talking to their kids about Pride.

It is unlikely that your child or teen won’t have their own ideas about Pride and may speak with some authority about it.

It’s important therefore that if you are going to talk about this with your kids you have formed your own views and know why you hold them. Part of that may mean you say to your kids ‘I’m on a journey of discovering all about this’ or ‘I’ve not quite made up my mind yet’, or even ‘ You know I said this the other day … well I’ve just heard something that’s made me think again.’ As we grow and learn, our opinions may change or become more informed. It’s important that children and teens learn how Christians have to sometimes wrestle with ideas and opinions to work out what God says or wants them to do.
It may be helpful to think about:

  • The word ‘Pride’ has a long history and has evolved since the early 1970s. Whom and what it embraces has also changed.
  • It can represent a specific event or a culture. There is no one overriding ‘Pride’ organisation.
  • Not everyone, even in the LGBTQI+ community agrees with everything that ‘Pride’ stands for.
  • What it is about the Pride movement that you are uncomfortable about and why.

Be the one to start the conversation.

Keep it simple and age appropriate.
  • Find out what they already know – asking open ended questions – for example ask about the rainbow flag, what do they think it means, what does culture say it means?  Why do they think we have Pride month, how do they feel about celebrating pride?  Allow them space to answer so that you get a good idea of how much they have absorbed already. What language are they using – love is love, born this way, acceptance, welcoming – all words that can be explored.
  • We can explain that Pride is a time where culture celebrates a community of people who have had a history of being bullied and discriminated against, and that’s not a nice thing for anyone. 
  • Be honest about history – it’s important that children learn the importance of tolerance and acceptance, and are aware of how the world, including Christians, have failed to show love and tolerance to this community in the past. Educate them about how the Pride movement started, explaining the history and frustrations behind it, how this was a response to people being treated really badly and unfairly in the past.  Children understand the idea of fairness which will contribute to more active discussions.  This helps you as a parent to switch the focus from the behaviour, to the unfairness of the way people have been treated, giving an opportunity to talk about how we can fix that unfairness. This can be tied into some Bible stories – how Jesus treated people who other people treated as outcasts.
  • You may want to talk about how not everyone, even in the LGBTI+ community, agrees with everything in the Pride culture. It’s important to think about if Pride represents everyone well, and how people who disagree but who are part of the LGBTI+ community fit in. Can one organisation or movement represent everyone well or will there be some conflicts of interest or belief?
  • You may want to talk about sexuality and gender and what is God’s view – and how do we know. Many Christians believe that God, through the bible, has clearly revealed his design for sexuality and gender.\

Take time to help them know what you think

Whatever your views, take the time to explain it to your children well so you’re not just telling them your decision and expecting them to comply. If you share your reasoning and your heart, you help them understand. You may need to have several conversations and help your kid process their own feelings.  

You can talk about living in a world which has totally different values to the ones we have.  Using Daniel and his friends in Babylon as an example, you can talk about how these teenagers learnt what the new culture was teaching them, but still kept their faith.  When asked to do things that they knew were against their own faith (like bowing down to idols) they refused, and God was with them – even when they didn’t know if things would end well.  But most of the time they got on with their lives in the new culture and were able to live well, without compromising their beliefs, they understood the boundaries between their old world and the new world they were living in.

Equipping kids to hold their own views confidently

Part of discipling our kids is to equip them to stand up for what they believe in. How you do this will always depend on your kid, particularly their age and the situations they are in. For example, you would have a different approach for a three year old whose nursery is celebrating Pride than for a teen whose friends are talking about Pride and going to an event.

  • Prepare your child for the fact that they may come up against people who don’t agree with them – John 16:33 says that we will have trouble in this world, but Jesus is there and will give us peace.
  • Remind your child that they don’t have to speak for ‘all’ Christianity. They only have to speak for themselves, rather than justifying everything from a Christian standpoint.
  • Share stories of times you have had different opinions from friends or work colleagues. What happened? How did you explain things?
  • Depending on your kid, you may need to advocate for them: asking that they don’t take part in a Pride event for example.
  • You may want to ask their school or any club or organisation they are part of that is celebrating Pride what this means and what they are asking your child to do or represent.
  • Equip them for whatever their next steps is: practising how to turn down an invitation to a Pride event, talking to their friends, or role-playing how they might answer a question.

One thing we can not afford to do is to act like Pride isn’t happening and not engage with our children.  If we’re not talking to them, they may not grow up with a balanced view and changing their worldview in the future will be far harder than it is right now.

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