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Big Kids

13th Jul 2021

“Is she your girlfriend?” Why joking about romance can be damaging to your kid

Kat O'Connor

“Pushing heterosexual norms can be harmful”

The language we use around children is something we need to be extremely conscious of.

Everyone is trying their best to be progressive and open-minded, but sometimes parents slip up and use dated sayings like “is she your girlfriend?” when joking with their boys.

An expert has recently warned parents about the harm of joking about romance around their children. We may think it is just a bit of fun, but it can actually be super damaging.

According to experts, “Kids get a sense of what they’re told, what’s acceptable for them,” so using traditional phrases can make them feel uncomfortable or pressured.

Senior director of programs and partnerships at Human Rights Campaign, Ellen Kahn told Parents that pushing heterosexual norms can be harmful, especially if they’re LQBTQ+ themselves.

Obviously, parents mean no harm in using these terms, but Kahn warned that they can cause doubt and internal conflict in kids.

Saying things like “oh there’s the happy couple” or “here come the lovebirds” can cause children to feel confused and pushes them into a box.

When they hear these sayings it can make them feel isolated and like their feelings are wrong.

“It potentially isolates them further. As an LGBTQ kid, you already feel different, like the sore thumb. You feel separate,” said professor Renata Sanders.

Parents try their best to be progressive and make sure their children are growing up in a happy and safe environment, but being aware of the language you use around them can make a massive difference.

The best thing you can do is to simply avoid making silly remarks about love or relationships and just focus on friendship instead. You could also try using gender-neutral language too.

Another expert recently warned parents about the everyday phrases that cause extreme stress and can damage your child’s confidence. The phrases, which many parents use without the intention of harm, can make kids feel like they’re useless, incompetent, and a nuisance.

Phrases like “you should know better” or “it’s no big deal” were amongst the phrases causing more harm than good.

Everyone is learning and trying their best, but making these little changes will simply make life easier for kids, and isn’t that what everyone wants?