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Psychologists urge parents to tell kids about gay marriage

Parents and teachers have been urged to explain sexuality issues to children as young as five in the lead up to the gay marriage postal vote.

Experts at the Australian Psychological Society said the debate was an ‘important opportunity’ to talk with them about ‘marriage, relationships, diversity, and equality’.

‘The marriage equality debate is not just for adults. Most children will have heard about it at school, in the media, or overheard adult conversations,’ it said.

Parents and teachers have been urged to explain sexuality issues to children as young as five in the leadup to the gay marriage postal vote (stock image)

Experts at the Australian Psychological Society said the debate was an 'important opportunity' to talk with them about 'marriage, relationships, diversity, and equality'

Experts at the Australian Psychological Society said the debate was an ‘important opportunity’ to talk with them about ‘marriage, relationships, diversity, and equality’

The society on Tuesday released a four-page guide explaining how to bring up the subject, what to discuss, and how to ‘clarify misconceptions’.

APS told Daily Mail Australia the ‘tip sheet’ was intended for primary and secondary schoolchildren, including those in Year 1.

The guide advised starting the conversation with: ‘As you probably know, there’s a lot of attention on marriage equality at the moment. I’m happy to talk with you about this and answer any questions you may have’.

Parents were told to first listen to what their children wanted to know, as they may have heard something they needed to ask about.

The society on Tuesday released a four-page guide explaining how to bring up the subject, what to discuss, and how to 'clarify misconceptions'

The society on Tuesday released a four-page guide explaining how to bring up the subject, what to discuss, and how to ‘clarify misconceptions’

They should then ‘explain the meaning of LGBTQI+ words’ and explain the concept of same-sex attraction, but ‘focus the discussion on love and committed relationships’.

It suggested giving them examples of people they know who might be in a same-sex relationship to help illustrate the point.

A section on discussing the issue of marriage equality and the postal vote included information on Australia’s laws and the meaning of marriage.

It also said to explain to children that not everyone wants to get married and that there were many ways of showing love, commitment and responsibility.

The APS wrote that most Australians supported gay marriage and the country was the only English-speaking nation in the developed world to not allow it.

The APS wrote that most Australians supported gay marriage and the country was the only English-speaking nation in the developed world to not allow it

The APS wrote that most Australians supported gay marriage and the country was the only English-speaking nation in the developed world to not allow it

The guide advised telling children that not being able to marry discriminated against same-sex couples because they didn’t have the same rights as heterosexuals.

‘Discrimination is hurtful and harmful to people,’ the APS, which publicly supports the ‘yes’ vote, wrote.

A section on clarifying confusion and misconceptions said to explain that some people were strongly opposed to gay marriage on ideological or religious grounds, or because it seems like a major change from what they are used to.

‘Another misconception is that some people worry that children will be harmed in same-sex families, and believe that children do better when they have both a mother and father,’ it read.

‘This is not true, but also irrelevant to the marriage equality debate.

‘Research shows that children growing up with same-sex parents do at least as well as children with heterosexual parents on a range of psychological, social and educational measures.’

Children should be told it's 'ok to question one’s sexual orientation or one’s gender identity' and be shown books, websites and movies that show them in diverse families

Children should be told it’s ‘ok to question one’s sexual orientation or one’s gender identity’ and be shown books, websites and movies that show them in diverse families

Children should be told it’s ‘ok to question one’s sexual orientation or one’s gender identity’ and be shown books, websites and movies that show them in diverse families.

The last section discussed talking with children about how to treat others, such as telling them calling someone ‘gay, sissy or queer’ was hurtful.

‘Homophobia, hate, and prejudice are not innate but learned,’ it read.

‘Let them know that hate directed at anyone who is different is unacceptable, and that meeting hate with more hate does not solve the problem.’

Parents could encourage their children to be an ‘ally’ and stick up for classmates being bullied at school, and tell their peers it was ‘not ok to use gay unkindly to mean something bad’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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