Hi Miss Kayela! Terrific questions! I suppose there was a developmental stage where the boy said “ma” to indicate that he was talking to either me or busy daddy (but mostly to me). Then again, he called the dog “ma” and the TV “ma,” so I don’t think it really meant much at the time. When the boy was little, he would sometimes call the nanny or my sister “mom,” not because he thought either of them was his mother, but because that’s what he thought their names were.
The boy definitely understands that most kids have a mom and a dad. Here’s how we explained it to him: from the time the boy understood what we were saying, we’d tell him, Most kids have a mom and a dad, while some kids have a dad and a daddy, or a mom and a mommy, or just a mom, or just a dad. It’s a simple concept for kids to understand. Weird that it’s so hard for adults to grasp.
When kids say mom and dad, I imagine that most (if not all) of them are simply talking about the people who parent them. It could be a grandparent or an uncle or an aunt, it doesn’t really matter. Kids aren’t thinking, “These people had sex and made me.” I think (some) adults feel uncomfortable explaining to young children that some kids have same-gender parents because they assume that the conversation will inevitably lead to a conversation about the mechanics of sex and procreation. I don’t know who these five-year-old kids are who are thinking about sex, but it’s not my kid.
Because my son has only known a life where he has a dad and a daddy, that setup is perfectly normal to him. He sees that most of his friends have different parental arrangements from his, i.e., a mom and a dad, and that’s perfectly normal to him as well. The preoccupation with sex is an adult phenomenon, not something that children give much (if any) thought to. Frankly, any adult who would impose a sexual idea into a kid’s mind (relative to who a kid’s parents are) is kind of creepy, IMHO.
In my limited experience as a dad so far, I’ve found that children are incredibly open-minded (unlike many adults). Kids are open vessels and their ideas are largely informed by what their parents tell them, as well as how their parents behave. If we told our son that there was something weird about the fact that he has two dads, and we acted ashamed about it, then I’m sure my kid would feel the same way. But we’re two guys who have a kid, NBD, which is pretty much how he thinks and feels about it, too. Thanks for your question!
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