Being a Jewish mom-mom and tending to be over-protective at times over my nine year old grandchild, I wonder if there is an age appropriate time to start informing her about the LGBT community and being aware of the bullying done to people because of their differences.
First, let me say how wonderful it is that you are involved with your grandchild and that you are concerned and aware about the LGBT community and the issue of bullying. It wouldn’t be unusual in today’s world for your grandchild at age nine to already be aware of both the LGBT community and the bullying that folks who are LGBT or who are perceived to be LGBT often face. If it is an option it might be helpful to talk with your grandchild’s parent(s) to explore collective approaches to talking about these important topics.
As children start to observe and experience differences very early on, it may feel appropriate to bring up the topic of diversity and the importance of celebrating differences with your grandchild. Fostering honesty, trust, and open communication between you and your grandchild will help to nurture a relationship that helps her to feel safe and comfortable talking to you about anything.
It may be helpful to have resources that you can refer to and/or provide to your grandchild such as GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) at www.glsen.org and The Trevor Project at www.thetrevorproject.org.
You can strengthen her and reinforce her positive inclinations to celebrate differences and to be welcoming and affirming of all people.
Thanks for writing and for being a caring Mom-mom,