Talking to our kids.

We’re thrilled to present today’s guest post by Byron & Mariah
Edgington, founders of

“One divorced mother of three, became involved with
another woman when her children were between 8 and 15. In what was
an otherwise open home environment, her partner lived as a
housemate in a basement room, and only came upstairs to sleep after
the kids were asleep. The women never showed any signs of affection
in front of the children. Years later when the mother ‘confessed’
about the relationship to her children she discovered that they had
always suspected, and were angry that she had been too ashamed to
admit it. They told her how painful it was when her “friend” moved
out. Since they didn’t have a label for this person’s role in their
lives, they also had no way to understand their grief and confusion
when the relationship ended.”  (Arlene Istar Lev.)

Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. The above
anecdotal piece from Arlene Istar Lev is a commonplace occurrence
in many homes, and illustrates yet another reason we need to share
the old ‘birds and bees story with our kids as early as possible,
and in as honest and caring way as we can. It’s likely that the
situation described above was every bit as painful in the end for
the kids as it surely was for the lovers involved. This is why
transparency is required in all our relationships, and yet another
reason to always be true to ourselves first. As someone said, tell
the truth and you don’t have to remember what you said.

Kids can access much more information than we sometimes wish they
could, at least without our presence or input in the process. The
message is that if you suspect they know of your relationship with
another person–straight or gay–assume they know, and proceed

Here’s a personal story. I was very open with with our daughter
Amanda about gender matters, and sex, filling in the blanks for her
without hesitation. And I could always tell when the discussion
reached a point of discomfort for her; she’d change the subject,
ask an entirely unrelated question, or just make a statement out of
the blue.  Once Amanda came to me with a question about her female
guinea pig. The pet had given birth to three adorable offspring,
and, incredibly, by the time the youngsters were a mere two months
old, junior pig was making overtures to Momma pig in their cramped,
cedar-shaving lined pen. I was nearly as incredulous as my
daughter, but for a different reason. “Why’s he doing that,
dad?” ‘Manda asked, as junior attempted his incestuous

It was time for a chat with Amanda.  But halfway through my
explanation of the mechanics and purpose of the lusty young pig’s
behavior, Amanda looked toward the kitchen. “What’s for lunch,
dad?” she said.

That, of course, was my cue that she’d heard enough. I fixed us
each a P & J, poured two glasses of milk, and had lunch with my
daughter. Then I promptly found junior pig another home.

So the balance is found in telling kids everything they need to be
assured that they’re senses are accurate, that they can trust
their instincts. And if we try to hide what they suspect, it can
only create a sad, tension-filled result. Hopefully soon the need
for stories of evasion and denial such as Istar Lev describes will
be a thing of the past. For that to happen we all need to be brave
enough to tell our kids what they already know.