Article written by Gary Direnfeld
It is officially Pride Month, a time which signifies that after years of having to hide and being made to feel bad for one’s sexual orientation and gender, people can finally be who they really are. It is a month that acknowledges past, and still present, discrimination while recognizing the strides we have made in creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. It is a celebration we are happy to be a part of.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as accepting. A problem on its own, this becomes an even larger issue when the prejudice is coming from your co-parent.
Co-Parenting & Divergent Views
To be clear, discrimination is NOT okay! But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist. So, what do you do when it is your co-parent who is expressing divergent views?
Children are always learning, even when you think they aren’t paying attention. That means they pick up on your views and beliefs. Unfortunately, when you have to split your parenting time with a co-parent, you need to consider what they are learning while they aren’t under your care.
For some co-parents, a slight difference in beliefs can be easy to navigate through communication. You may even be able to agree on what views you hope to impart on your kids. Other times, when the differences are insurmountable, parallel parenting might be the best course of action.
Parallel parenting means that each parent will live their life and expose the child to views consistent with their own. This works best when done delicately without demeaning or destroying the views of the other. That being said, what we teach our children will make a huge difference for the future of the LGBTQ+ community. While you may not be able to force your co-parent to be accepting, it is important that they show tolerance for the sake of shaping our children.
In a perfect world, love would simply be love and there would be no discrimination. We still have a few more steps to take before we see that in society, so in the meantime, do what you can to support the LGBTQ+ community. Even if your co-parent has conflicting views, you can still teach your child to show acceptance and respect for everyone – no matter their gender or sexual orientation.
Keep in mind, one day it may be your child looking to fit in. Help foster an accepting community to welcome them.