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'Out' child presents sleepover challenge

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a mom to two girls (11 and 14). When my oldest was in middle school, I learned quickly about some of our generational differences, especially as it relates to identifying as LGBTQ. Now, kids seem to come out at an even younger age. That makes me happy, but it creates a parenting challenge.

When she was an adolescent, my oldest gave me her list of friends for a sleepover. One girl was openly lesbian (12 or 13 years old). Of course, this child was welcome into our home. We had hosted her a few times before.

At that time we decided that if this child was coming to our house, it would be a hangout only for everyone (no sleepover). That seemed appropriate, as we wouldn't invite boys who were sexually attracted to girls to a teen sleepover.

My daughter agreed, and that's how we moved forward.

Now it gets tricky. My 11-year-old recently asked for a sleepover. She gave me her list, which included a 12-year-old openly lesbian child. We talked about our "hangout vs sleepover" decision when it came to our lesbian friends. My daughter began to cry.

It turns out my younger daughter is gay. Again, I feel proud that a child as young as 11 can openly discuss this with her mom. But it really complicates the whole sleepover question for us. I don't want to tell one daughter that sleepovers are OK, and the other it's not.

 

Please weigh in!

-- iStruggling with iGen Dilemma

Dear iStruggling: Given that you have already denied your daughter's (presumably platonic) gay friend access to an overnight at your house, you could choose to be consistent regarding your younger daughter. But ponder how she will feel when her platonic friends' parents won't let her spend the night at their homes, presumably because they assume she might behave sexually toward another girl.

My point is that gay people have platonic friends -- both straight and gay. Just as many straight teens manage to participate in group "lock-ins," overnight trips and retreats, gay kids should also be granted the same opportunities, with the same assumptions: Sometimes they behave as the adults would wish, and sometimes they don't. Trust, but verify.

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