How do you have a family that talks?
November 29, 2010 2:04 PM Subscribe
How can we develop the kind of family where things like race and sexuality and other big topics are discussed in an open, healthy, relaxed way?
posted by flail to Human Relations (17 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I were both raised in religious households where things were ignored or swept under the rug instead of talked about. My husband's parents never talked to him about sex and mine said "Don't it do it until you're married" and that was it. Homosexuality or anything having to do with sexuality in any way were never discussed. Our parents were all wonderful and loving, but I think they had the mindset that talking about sex would make us go out and have sex (because we obviously wouldn't learn about it any other way), or that acknowledging two men holding hands would make us catch TEH GAY.
Added to this, we recently read through NurtureShock, and the chapter on race made me realize I have no idea how to discuss that either. My impulse that talking about race will only draw attention to differences and thus increase racism is flawed at best. My husband is a minority and learning to talk about this will be important, I think.
Also, in our extended family, jokes based on weight, gender, race, religion and other stupid stereotypes are frequent (good-natured teasing towards each other included). There's no chance of changing them and we love them anyway, but I would never want my kid to think that just because Aunt Suzy made fun of his cousin for being fat, he could ever do the same to anyone else.
I know this is a bit of a jumble, but when my five-year-old nephew asked me what sex was the other day and I just froze, I realized how unprepared I am. We only have one baby for now, so we have time to work this out.
I want the kind of relationship with my child(ren) where race/racism, sex/sexuality, religion, and any other topics can be discussed organically as part of our every day life, instead of saved for Big Talks and After School Specials, but I've never seen this in practice and I'm afraid my tendency to ignore things like my parents will win if I don't work hard from the beginning to be the kind of parent I want be.
If you grew up in a family like this, how did it work out? How do you encourage it in your own family?