Two of my husband’s cousins are gay. And now my sister in law’s brother is gay. We don’t see these people very often. Around holidays and birthdays we see them and they are there with their “partners”. I haven’t had any problems as of yet with questions from my children, or any real PDA between the gay couples. But I’m not sure how I should handle things if the gay couples we see at family get togethers start getting more open in their displays of affection.
Be open and willing to talk to your children about it. It is the perfect opportunity to explain to them what marriage is and why the Church holds what it does about marriage. Then explain that sometimes people don’t understand this and so get into relationships that are missing some important element. Don’t try to overly shelter or protect your kid, theres no way to do that forever anyway, some day they are going to grow up and start examining the principles you have taught them and decide which they actually accept and which they don’t. Explain the reasons behind everything, show them how the Church’s teachings all follow from the catholic worldview, and show them how beautiful that worldview is.
My son is gay and my 9 yr old grandson knows he & his partner live together. He recently asked his uncle if he & J slept in the same bed. When his uncle said “yes.” My grandson “oh, okay.” Then went onto talk about his HOT WHEEL cars.
Most gays I know are very rude, talking about favors they did for other men, and they are really uncharitable when you have a differing opinion, that doesn’t align with theirs. They spit to much venom.
Or unmarried people who are living together. Or people who support abortion. Or married nominal Catholics who profess their support and use of contraception.
What’s one mortal sin from another in the end? You are quite right. It’s best that we gird our children with strong beliefs and leave the judgment to God. Not acting charitably to others who are in serious sin will only push them further away. It’s good to admonish the sinner but not to ostracize him.
Show them the love and respect that our fellow humans deserve. I can guarantee that nearly everyone you come in contact with probably does something that you would disagree with. You can’t avoid everyone. As for the PDA, cross that bridge when you come to it, but I don’t think it should be an issue. Just because a couple is gay, it doesn’t mean that they will suddenly engage in way more PDA. Sure, they might hold hands or something, but your kids will eventually learn the ways of the world. Treat others with kindness and your children should learn by example.
But seriously. your children will eventually find out that there are all kinds of sinners out there. And all family members fall into that category. Since you can’t totally avoid sinners you will have to teach your children how to behave when sinners are around and also when it is a good idea to try to avoid being around certain kinds of sinners. You also need to consider whether the sinner is openly flaunting the sin.
In the case of the gay family members, I would not invite them to spend the night in my home. I would not want my children to see lots of hugging and kissing. (That would also be the case for straight unmarried couples.) That might mean going home sooner than I would otherwise chose to do. If my children were old enough that they understood what gay meant then I would tell my children I did not approve of relationships between same sex couples. But I would also not allow my children to use “gay” or other such words as insults. I’d expect my children to be as respectful to the gay family members and the partners as they would be to other family members.
I would agree with you that we cannot avoid sinners, however I think the issue here is concern over public displays of affection and how that will impact impressionable young ones. Not necessarily trying to avoid every kind of sinner.
Most 6-year olds have no idea what abortion or contraception even are…and seeing people that support or even live out these sins would not be overtly obvious to them. However seeing two men kissing or “making out” clearly would be something that would be shocking or confusing to young ones.
Often when these subjects come up it turns into a debate of what sinners we should and should not avoid and I am confused by that. Yes I clearly will have to explain to children all the different people and things in life…however that does not mean they have to witness behavior at an age when it may be too confusing for them.
Guess I don’t really have any answers, just think it is a parenting decision what is good for children not necessarily a judgement on homosexual individuals. Just my two cents.
Thanks for the advice. I agree that I’m not trying to isolate my children just because someone’s a “sinner”. I don’t have any problem with them being around gay people per se, but I don’t really want the idea of men kissing and hugging each other to be normalized, and eventually seen as ok. I feel like I’d have a problem if the men were hugging and kissing each other in front of my children. What would I do in this situation? We stay with my in laws when we visit, as it is a 5 hour drive away. We can’t exactly leave if the visiting gay couple to their house is getting too friendly.
Someone asked what’s the difference between someone who’s living together, or supporting abortion. Well, I would think people wouldn’t really be flaunting this in front of my children. (Not that all gay people flaunt it, but some do, and some feel the need to prove that it’s normal and ok). I wouldn’t want anyone I hang around with to be telling my children that abortion is ok, but really who would talk that way to a child.
You know rude people and it would be a very easy choice to keep children away from such people. Now what about others who have gay family members and friends of whom they are very fond and who are not rude or disgusting around their children?
I am of the opinion here that your situation is potentially more serious then others do, not that I am correct necessarily, just my opinion and experience within my own family.
dejagerw- you may not have a problem now, in fact you may not have a problem ever and I sincerely pray that you do not. However if I were you I would spiritually prepare. You did not mention how old your children are, this may not be an issue for toddlers but think ahead to when your chidlren are 10…12…14 and what they will see every holiday should these couples begin to display affection.
If this were a generation ago things would be different, however with “gay rights” and “gay marriage” on the agenda everywhere you have a legitimate concern that your children may see something very inappropriate as I do not think gay couples are under as much social pressure to keep their relationships private. Not only that but you potentially have **three **couples as you mentioned two cousins and now a third person who has professed themselves as gay and their partners are at these events regularly.
It may not be an issue immediately but something to pray about a LOT and prepare yourself for. What will you do if there are public displays of affection? Perhaps it is not practical to leave when you have a 5-hour drive however what about all future holidays?
We faced a similiar although not identical problem in my extended family and went to seek spiritual counsel. We were told that although we were to love all our family that we had a specific moral obligation to our children not to have them witness the behavior that was clearly being displayed. It was an awful time, we were treated quite badly and called names by family members. I would not change my decision for the world. This was an extended family member and although their feelings were hurt I know the spiritual damage to my children would have been much worse.
Do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ that have same-sex-attraction…YES! They are creations of God, made in his image and likeness and I love them. Would I take my child to a popular gay-community hang out? Well, no.
I don’t mean to be an alarmist and I hope your situation with your family turns out to be nothing and get-togethers are peaceful. However I urge you to discuss this with your spouse and take it to prayer so you are prepared in advance what you will do if you are ever at a party and shocking behavior takes place. I am only saying that so you are ready to make a well-though-out decision that you have prayed about and not just acting on the spur of the moment.
I was going to suggest that you may have to balance your values and your family relationships with your pocketbook. In other words, like Monicad suggests, staying with the in-laws may not be an option compatible with protecting the Faith of your children.
You might need to eliminate visits with your children or you might need to budget so that you can stay at an inexpensive motel where you can take refuge if the situation warrants it. You" might even have to accept the role as the “reclusive spouse” who can’t handle all the family togetherness.
There is nothing wrong with gay people, but only with the choices they make in response to their desires. You cannot keep children entirely away from people making bad choices, and you particularly can’t keep them from being exposed to those who have given themselves over to homosexual relationships.
Homosexuality is not an easy trial, and those who have to deal with it deserve a great deal of compassion. We need to treat the homosexuals around us in the way that we want our children to expect us to treat them if they grow up to have these desires to cope with. If we are not shunned for accepting our homosexual relatives as persons while refusing to make their relationships out to be the equivalent of a marital relationship, then we ought not shun them, either.
We can co-exist with those who are have different degrees of success in rejecting “the world, the flesh, and the devil”, and dealing with those who have this temptation of the flesh to deal with are not an exception. After all, the measure we measure with will be measured back to us. Shun the sin, shun acceptance of the sin, but do not shun the sinner, because we are sinners ourselves.
I totally agree. If a someone is divorced and has a new opposite sex partner, a kid has no way of knowing. And if a couple is not married, again a kid has no way of knowing. But to see two men holding hands as a romantic gesture is modelling behaviour that is extremely confusing to a kid. Also, and this is my opinion, in God’s eyes homosexuality may not be a worse sin then contraceptive or living together, but to a child’s eyes it is definetly more emotionally damaging.
I do agree however, children should be taught manners and not to say anything. However, I also think it is almost impossible to teach a kid that homosexuality is wrong but don’t way anything. A kid might think ‘oh the poor person doesn’t know it is wrong, I will be helpful and tell them’
So to the OP, I really think it means you need to decide how much time you want to spend with these people. I know it is not a fun place to be
And this is where I would like to politely disagree with you. You know there will be gay people there ahead of time. You can have a pre-planned exit strategy. You can also talk about this with your in-laws. If they promise they will tell the homosexual couples no PDA and ask them to leave is they don’t respect the rule, then you are safe. However, if your in-laws are not going to take your concern seriously, then you can find alternative arragements
Hopefully it will be confusing and seem unnatural, but the more the children are exposed to it the more “normal” it can seem to them. It isn’t normal, it isn’t healthy, it isn’t good. We should try to avoid exposing our kids to unhealthy behavior. Sure, if a couple that was using bc or divorced and dating etc were clearly exposing a child to their unhealthy behavior, we should avoid them as well.