Guest post written by Denise Sensiba
When was the last time you read a book to your child that didn't make a big deal about the parents being LGBT and instead just followed the family on their everyday adventures? Or when was the last time you read a children's picture book that was explaining in detail what a heterosexual couple is? Probably never.
As a parent, prior nanny, early childhood music educator, and current psychotherapist, I have read my fair share of children's books and have always found it to be an enjoyable part of my life. Unfortunately, LGBT families have an incredibly small fraction of the children's books market. The few books that I encountered about same-sex parents did not follow the family as a normal family but focused on nothing more than the same-sex parents. They don't take you on adventures, or teach everyday educational lessons that our children need. Some of these books even deliver a weird message in between the lines saying, "see, same-sex couples can be loving parents." I wondered how that is teaching our kids that there is nothing unusual about LGBT families?
It was not until I graduated with a degree in psychotherapy that I learned about the importance of normalization. Normalization is the process through which ideas, ideals, thoughts, and behaviors that may fall outside of a perceived social norm come to be regarded as normal. We consider something normal if it is treated as normal. Children create social norms based on what we teach them. If we teach them that there is nothing unusual about for instance gay parents, then that is what they will come to believe. Ultimately, it will allow children the ability to acknowledge, accept, and celebrate family diversity.
The Little Panda book was also written to give LGBT families a book that they can connect and relate to.
We need to stop making a big deal about different family structures in front of our kids and treat LGBT families like we treat every other family. Little Panda is simply trying to make room for a genre that hopefully someday can be found in every child's bookshelf.
Copies of the books are also being donated to daycare centers and non-profits such as United Way to really make a difference
About the author
Denise is a licensed psychotherapist who graduated from an ivy league school. She has spent many years of her career working with children in educational and therapeutic settings. Above all, Denise is a devoted spouse and a loving mother of a little boy who means everything to her. She also is a mom of a puppy that never seems to grow up and a tubby cat that thinks he is the king of the house. Her biggest wish is that her son will grow up with an open mind and a loving heart in a society that needs more of both.