The June 26 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states is a wonderful opportunity for parents to talk with their teens and young adults.
What are your kid’s friends saying about the ruling on social media? Do they all think the ruling is a great thing? (Most of the young people I’m seeing are very positive, but I don’t know whether that’s true everywhere.) Are people respectful of people with differing views? What does your child think about the ruling?
What are things like at his school? Are many gay students open about their orientation? How do straight students treat the LGBTQ kids? What, if anything, will the Supreme Court ruling change for your kid and his friends?
Throughout this conversation, listen to what your kid has to say. Your goal is to learn about her thought process and social situation, not to convey your own opinions.
One piece that parents might add to the discussion is how different things are today than they were 40 years ago. The way our society views sexual orientation has moved at a stunningly fast pace, and this makes many people uncomfortable. A little historical perspective may help your kid understand the complexities of cultural change.
Another topic to be curious about: What does your child think about marriage? Justice Kennedy’s eloquent words on marriage have touched many people. Does your child someday want to get married? Why or why not? In what ways does he think legal marriage differs from just living with a significant other?
As always, there are two main reasons to have these sorts of conversations: to encourage your kid to think about things in the world, and to get to know her more deeply by hearing her thoughts and feelings. Keep talking!