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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Living Consanguinamorously - What To Tell The Children


A question many people in consanguinamorous relationships have is
if, what, when, and how to tell their children about their relationship.


There is no one right answer because it depends on many different factors.

It will be great when we get to a point where it doesn’t even have to be a question, but since most consanguineous lovers are still living in places where such relationships face severe discrimination, often including imprisonment, it is a question some people have.

Most people in consanguinamorous relationships have children, whether they have those children together or by some other relationship or through adoption or third party reproduction, because most people in general have children, so this is an issue faced by many people.

Let’s consider some of the factors involved.


1) Do you live where such relationships are criminalized? It can be tough on a child to keep a secret. It is often best if they wouldn’t possibly reveal anything incriminating, and if that can be prevented from them knowing something incriminating in the first place, great!

2) Other than the law, how are things where you live? Even if you live somewhere that your love isn’t criminalized, you and your loved ones can still be subjected to hateful discrimination and attacks.

3) What kind of relationship do you have? If your consanguinamory is limited to what amounts to a family-with-benefits situation, that’s easier to hide from the children and a lot of other people as well. But if if you’re living as spouses, and your children think of you and your lover(s) as spouses to each other, and the children are likely to talk about you to others as though you’re spouses, that’s another matter.

4) How are you presenting your relationship, if at all? Do people know of your relation? A mother and the adult son she raised who have a “benefits” situation can easily keep that closeted. But if people know you are lovers but don’t know of your genetic relation, are they likely to find out?

5) Who knows what, and what is their attitude about it? If you have hostile, blabbermouth relatives who know all about it, and you can’t keep them from contacting your children, that’s a far different situation than, say, your approving parents knowing and being able to keep it a secret.

6) Are any of the children your joint biological children, and if not, were they around and older when you and your lover(s) got involved? A DNA test on a child conceived by you and a consanguineous partner can reveal your relation.

7) Are you or your partner a parental figure to any of these children? If a woman has a child by her genetic brother, uncle, father, or son and he’s thousands of miles away or he lives on the other side of town with his other children and/or stepchildren, that’s going to make things different than if you’re living together and he’s living as their father or a father figure. Just as someone being a parent or a parental figure doesn’t necessarily mean they are a lover to the child’s other parent, being a lover to the child’s parent doesn’t necessarily mean they will be acting as a parent or parental figure.

In general, children should be told things like this only on a need-to-know basis. If it won’t benefit them, they don’t need to know.

Will it benefit a child who is, say 11, to know that her parents are siblings or father and daughter? Usually it won’t.

As they get older, what they need to know might expand.

What concerns children above everything else is their needs being met. If they are being loved, nurtured, protected, housed, fed, clothed, talked with and listened to, if they are allowed to play and learn, and are provided some stability and consistency in their life, they will thrive. If they have a childhood like that, it really won’t matter to them, as they are growing up, what the genetic relation is of the adults raising them. Just about any child out there would rather have kind parents who protect them and are siblings than unrelated parents who are neglectful.

One of the reasons we fight for rights and equality is that it is harder to provide children with what they need when the parents are being discriminated against simply for loving each other.

Here are some of the possible problems and what people think might be problems people think about when it comes to telling or NOT telling:

1) If the neighbors or anyone else find out and aren’t supportive, it’s one more thing for which they might bully your children.

2) Children may be traumatized if their parents are arrested and prosecuted, and will be if they are ripped away from their parents. The good news is that, although people do continue to be prosecuted on many places, the overwhelming majority of consanguinamorous relationships never involve being arrested for being consanguinamorous. So would it be good for a child to worry about the possibility of something that, odds are, won’t happen?

3) A child may find out from someone or something else and confront their parent(s) with “Why didn’t you tell me?” If that ever happens, though, the parent should be honest: “Because it was of no benefit for you to know, but there were potential downsides to you knowing. What matters is that I/we love you and have taken care of you.”

4) Some people fear their child will reject them/their lover(s) or otherwise react negatively. Maybe you were rejected by your parents or someone else due to your love, or something else about you, such as your orientation or gender identity, and you fear that your child will likewise reject you. But...

This last one isn’t likely to happen if you’re good parents to them, and especially if part of that good parenting is that you raise them with healthy attitudes about sexuality and relationships. One of the reasons people (maybe even your own parents) bash consanguinamorous people is simply because they were taught to. Teach your child to be thoughtful and respectful and understanding. The earlier you start (age-appropriate, of course) the better. If you’ve got a 13-year-old and you just found the half sibling you never knew you had and have fallen madly in love, it’s probably not going to be easy if the 13-year-old has been raised with the attitude that consanguinamory is wrong (as some people who experience GSA used to feel!) It matters how your children are raised. You had no control over how strangers or your parents or your siblings (usually) were raised, but you have much to do with teaching your children and setting good examples for them.
So, if you raise them to embrace human diversity rather than fear it, to be loving and kind and accepting and sex-positive, chances are, things between you and them will be good. If you’re loving towards them, it usually isn’t going to matter much at all to them if they do find out that you and your partner(s) share genes. If anything, if they hear it is wrong from someone else they will likely be baffled that someone would say it is wrong. (Although, even the best parents can raise a child who goes down the wrong path and grows up to be an awful person.)


There are certain situations in which it might be helpful for the children to know:

1) They are getting involved with each other, whether it is youthful experimentation or a budding romance. Especially if they’ve internalized some of the prejudiced bigotry against consanguinamory, they might need to be assured that it is OK by their parents coming out to them as an example.

2) Especially if they are older and looking for a permanent or long-term partner (or have one or more) and are frustrated because they perceive their relationship(s) don’t measure up to the connection they see their parents have, it could be helpful to reveal to them that the reason your relationship is different is because it is one of double-love.

3) If the now-adult children express a romantic and/or sexual interest in one or more of you. Whether that bond will be added or not, it can be helpful for them to know the full reality of the existing or prior relationship(s).

4) They are well into adulthood and you think you might need their help in protecting you.


How To Tell Them

If you decide that your child should know, whether you have the luxury of tell them yourself or you have to clear up something they found out from someone or something else, it should be age-appropriate. You know your child better than anyone else does, so think about what generally concerns them and how they process new information. What kind of relationship do they have with you and your lover(s)?

Dependent children want to know "What does this mean for me?" They want to know how it has an impact on them. Usually, it won't actually change anything.

Point out to them that what matters most is that you and your lover(s) have been there, and will continue to be there, for them. What matters is how you've been treating each other and them.

Do not feel obligated to abandon your privacy. You don't need to answer every question they ask in extensive detail. Likewise, don't volunteer anything unnecessarily that would make your child uncomfortable (after all, many children spend at least some of their life NOT wanting to hear/see anything relating to their parents' sex life.)

You can provide them with general information about consanguinamory.

This page may also help, depending on how old they are.

Remind them that everyone has their own path and there is diversity in relationships; what is best for some is different than what is best for others. This is where you've found love and it really isn't anyone else's business to be concerned with.

And yes, do discuss, as appropriate, that there's still ignorance and prejudice against some love and that you've had to take certain steps to protect yourself and them.

Let them know they can keep coming to you with questions or concerns.

If you think it would help them for them to have something to do with this information, maybe they can support equality?


Some Odds and Ends

Unable to think of a single good argument against such relationships, haters might ask something like. “So are you their father or their uncle?” (or whatever the situation is.) The biological fact is, you’re both. However, people are generally identified by their closer relation. So if you’re socializing them as their father, then you are father, dad, or whatever. First cousin marriages have been common and legal throughout history and remain so in many places. To the biological children of such marriages, dad is also their first cousin, once removed, as is their mom (and, likewise, the children are first cousins, once removed to their parents.) But nobody talks like that. It is simply “This is my daughter” or “This is my father.”

[Please note we are generally talking about consensual (to be redundant) relationships and births, not assault. If your child was conceived in incestuous assault, it usually isn't a good to tell them that their conception was an assault. You should protect that child from the abuser if the abuser is still around, but the child doesn’t need to know the truth about their conception.]
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2 comments:

  1. once again Keith you hit the nail on the head, a very well written article.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is something my brother and I have talked about a lot. We feel it's important to be open and honest with our daughter about her parents. I am certain she would learn the truth anyway eventually, and I don't like having to hide this from her. Plus I do not want her to pick up society's attitude regarding consanguineous relationships like ours. Even if she never has a consanguineous relationship, I would hope she would be accepting of others who do.

    Liz Smith
    blond_one89@tutamail.com

    ReplyDelete

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