How to talk to your children about Pride Month

Young children may have plenty of questions about Pride Month. This time of year may also open the conversation for others about their gender.

We talked to a doctor who specializes in treatment for the LGBTQ+ community. She shares important advice about how to talk to children in a healthy way about it all.


(Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

The theme for this weekend's Pride Parade in Houston is "All We Need is Love." Dr. Amy Dryer shares that same emotional message, when kids identify as LGBTQ.

"This information came out in 2016 in the Journal, Pediatrics, and I always get teary when I talk about this, I'm sorry, but the single factor that allows these kids to thrive is one supporting adult, ONE supporting adult. You don't have to understand it. You need to be open. You need to be curious. You need to be tolerant. You need to make it clear that you will be on this journey with them," explains Dr. Dryer.

For other children, Pride Month may bring about questions of what it is. Dr. Dryer encourages parents to be ready for that conversation.

"I don't know any children who don't love rainbows and I see from very little kids asking why are there so many rainbows? I don't answer more than I've been asked, so kids don't need the adult-level explanation. All they need is that one little question asked, and I tend to turn it back on the child, so 'Mommy, why are there so many rainbows?'  'What do you think about rainbows?  What do rainbows make you think about? What do you know about why there are so many rainbows time of year?' So, just teasing from the kid what they already know," states Dr. Dryer.

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She also encourages parents to explain how rainbows fit into Pride Month.

"A rainbow is many different colors and could also tell us about many different kinds of people and how a community could welcome many different kinds of people and, and be proud about, about that acceptance," encourages Dr. Dryer.

She also suggests parents be ready to answer questions about the dynamics of a family, which has been addressed on programs like Sesame Street. For instance, if your child has a friend with two moms or two dads.

"If they seem confused or uncomfortable about it, I would say something to the effect of: there are so many kinds of love in this world that this month is all about celebrating so many kinds of love. And yeah, you know, Tommy's lucky enough to have two people who really love and really care for him and happen to both be women. Let's teach universal values of acceptance and tolerance, self-efficacy, and self-education," says Dr. Dryer.

If you don't feel you have the right answers, many resources are available to help you find the right words, from websites to children's books.

"I think that PFLAG is a really good place, there are PFLAG meetings all over. There's the website the Trevor Project is an excellent website, GLSEN: Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network," shares Dr. Dryer.

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She not only encourages families to read aloud and have open-minded discussions, she also trains doctors in Houston through The REACH Institute about how to successfully monitor the mental health of all youth.

"One of the statistics that stops me dead is the fact that over 50% of LGBTQ kids in this country have brushed with anxiety and depression and thoughts of suicide. And there are many studies to support that in the Trevor Project survey from 2023, which definitely states that the more startling statistic to me is that almost 50% or more of those kids, when they seek mental health care, are not able to find it in this country. There are not enough adolescent psychiatrists. So what we teach through The REACH is how to take care of those kids with basic mental health care needs," explains Dr. Dryer.

She teaches pediatricians how to assess kids for anxiety, depression, and ADHD through evidence-based evaluation, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. If parents talk to their children about Pride Month and encourage them to be kind, loving, and accepting to all, the hope is to lower the anxiety and depression in teens who are struggling with feeling different from their peers.

For more information on the organizations that Dr. Dryer mentioned: