Raising a child as a Same-sex couple

By Alicia Goodspring

It takes a lot of work, patience, dedication, and lots of love to raise a child. Your child will always need you, so you have to be there for them. Even when your children are teenagers or adults, they will need your help, support, or advice. So, raising a child is a lifelong duty.

However, children don’t come with a manual. Before you make the big decision to be a parent, you and your partner have to be sure that you are ready to be parents. Being a parent might seem scary, but it is also exciting. These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you become a parent; do I want to have more than one child? Am I really ready to be a parent? Once these questions have been answered, the next question is, how do I have my baby?

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You can have your child through heterosexual couples, surrogacy, adoption, or artificial insemination. The third stage is your finances, emotional well-being, etc.

You also need to check if you have a room for a baby, or you may have to move into a bigger apartment. It is expensive to conceive a baby through assisted reproduction or adoption. Also, it is costly to take care of a baby.

You have to check if you are both emotionally ready to raise a child, and one of you may need to take a break from their career.

When you finally have a baby, the next phase is how to raise him or her. Another question that might run through your mind is how parenting as same-sex couples might affect your child’s sexual orientation.

Raising a child sure has its ups and downs, but raising a child as a gay or lesbian couple also has its challenges. However, several studies have proven that children raised in same-sex households can talk about emotionally difficult topics.

Children raised by same-sex couples are not different from children raised by heterosexual parents.

Here are some tips on how to raise a child as same-sex couples

  • Seek the help of a professional - Before you even bring your child home, you should seek the advice of a professional counsellor who has worked with other LGBT families. Your counsellor will help you and your partner adjust to being parents. 

  • Allow yourself to make mistakes - Always remember that you are a parent, not a demigod. So, you are allowed to make mistakes as long as they don’t put your child at risk. Don’t criticize yourself too much when you make mistakes as a parent, learn from it, and move on. Read parenting magazines, do research, and talk to other same-sex couples who already have a kid or two. However, it would help if you remembered that everyone’s parenting style and beliefs are different. Find what works best for your household and stick to it.

  • Division of labour - You can’t do it all alone, parenting could be exciting and also daunting. Allow your partner to chip in their opinion. You can also divide the house chores if they are too much to be handled by one person. 

  • Have a bedtime routine for your child - Children can stay up all night if they are allowed. Also, remember that nap times are essential. Set a bedtime and a naptime routine for your child. It will be easier to follow the method if you start it when your child is an infant. Even if you adopted an older child, ensure that you set a bedtime routine for them.  

  • Have a healthy routine - If one partner chooses to stay at home to care for the child, the other parent should also find the time to bond with the child. Take your child on a walk, and take turns to read a bedtime story to him or her. This helps the child to know that he is loved by both parents.

  • Be honest with your child - As your child grows, he or she will have a lot of questions about your family. It would help if you answered your child’s questions as best as you can and always ensure that you tell them the truth. Address any challenges they may come across in the future and also prepare them for it in a positive way. 

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  • Have dinner as a family - No matter how busy your schedule is, you should make out the time to have dinner as a family. This is to show the essence of being a family, encourage your child to talk about his or her day while dining together. Children who are picky eaters are likely to eat more when they see their parents eating. 

  • Teach your child values and morals - Teach your child how, to be honest, kind, and courteous to others.

  • Let your child/children know that you love them - Teach your child how to be confident. Also, let him or her know that you love them. Your child will be able to confide in you if they know that they have your love and support.

  • Discipline your child - Even though you are same-sex parents, you should discipline your child when they have done something wrong. You don’t have to spank your child because you want to discipline them; there are several ways to discipline a child without raising a hand to them. 

  • Listen to your child - Don’t be that parent who is too busy to listen to his or her child. The truth is that as a parent, you will learn or discover a new thing about your child every day. Parenting is a journey that can be fun or horrible, depending on how you handle certain situations. Apart from food, shelter, and clothes, your child needs your love, respect, and support. You should also allow your kids to grow and be independent. Guide your kids when they need your guidance. Seeking the help of a professional counsellor, doing chores equally, having a healthy routine amongst others will help you be a better parent. In conclusion, as a parent, you should always listen to your child. 

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