We live in a competitive world and for children to be able to succeed or feel good about themselves they need to have healthy self-esteem. With the competition between kids regarding the kids they are getting or clothes they are wearing this can be difficult. Some kids have learning disabilities and their families cannot afford tutors. Additionally, since inflation is rising many families can barely afford rent, they definitely don’t have extra money the name brand clothes.
Now our government has found a way to make it even harder for children to grow up with healthy self-esteem. In fact, due to many new state laws, we are more likely to create children who tend to isolate and feel embarrassed and ashamed of themselves and families. This is very serious because these kids will be more likely to use drugs, become sexually active at an early age and be less likely to graduate from high school according to our research on children.
What are these new laws? Many States, such as Florida, have passed laws where teachers cannot say anything that relates to homosexuality or transgender issues to children in elementary schools. These misguided states believe that second grade teachers are teaching second grade students about being homosexual or transgender. The idea is crazy because teachers do not teach children about being heterosexual or sexuality in the second grade. They are too young and not ready for these subjects yet.
However, many children may be being raised by homosexual parents or parents who are transgender or transsexual. Based on these new laws many teachers worry how do they acknowledge the family situation that a child is living in. These laws don’t allow teachers to acknowledge different family situations.
Therefore, if you are a second grader and you cannot mention anything about your parents because they are homosexual or transgender or transsexual, how would that make you feel? Most likely it would make you feel like there is something wrong with your parents and thereby make you feel like there is something wrong with you. If there was nothing wrong with you, you would be able to talk about yourself and your family in class like other kids who have heterosexual parents. However, the new laws prevent the students or teachers from discussing families where the parents were homosexual or transsexual. Many teachers were very upset by this restriction because they were concerned about how it would make the children feel about themselves.
Also what if you were in 3rd or 4th grade and you were nothing that you were homosexual or bisexual. Many children are aware of their sexual feelings at this age. I have worked with many gay and bisexual teenagers who can report noticing their sexual feelings as young as 3rd grade. However, if you are a 3rd grader noticing these feelings what do you do? Because of society stereotypes most children are already struggling with these feelings, but now we add a law that you cannot discuss these feelings and it’s wrong to talk about. All we have done is to make that 3rd grader feel even more uncomfortable and increasing the feelings they have that they must be quiet because there is something wrong with them.
We need to think before we enact new laws. No child chooses to be gay or transsexual especially with the bias and harassment they have to face by society and even from their families. If we look at the research, sexuality is a biological issue. For some people it may be a choice, but overall for most people it is in their genes it is not a choice. These laws that were recently passed will only end up creating children who are ashamed and embarrassed about themselves and feel like they need to isolate. Additionally, the suicide rate for LGBTQ+ kids is extremely high. These laws will only serve to increase the suicide rate. Instead of passing laws which separate us from each other, we need a culture which unites us. We are all people and we all deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of race, creed, sexuality or economic status. The United States Constitution states that we are all created equally. Maybe we may want to try living our lives that way.
Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with 25 years experience treating children, teenagers and trauma victims including first responders. For more information about his work and private practice visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.