The Malta Independent 21 November 2018, Wednesday

Gay-themed books in schools: Children should be given choices - clinical psychologist

Duncan Barry Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 11:35 Last update: about 4 years ago

Clinical Psychologist Dr Anna Cassar said she believes in giving children choices despite the fact that through our attitudes we can influence our children on the choices they make. She was referring to the fact that a set of books on diversity, were distributed to State schools last month.

Late in July, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, along with the coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement Gabi Calleja, announced that a set of books on diversity were to be distributed to students, teachers and families. The announcement sparked a debate among our readers. The books are ‘Daddy, Papa and Me’, ‘The Sissy Duckling’, ‘Be Who You Are’, ‘My Princess Boy’, among others.

The Malta Independent asked Dr Cassar whether this move could be seen by some as an attempt by gay right movements to impose their views on others. Dr Cassar said that children ask ample questions but the important thing is that the questions are answered in the right manner by parents or teachers.

“Some children may ask why a classmate has two mothers or two fathers for instance.  If we were to avoid answering such questions, it will instil fear among our children which in turn would lead to misconceptions. Children will then create their own realities.

“Books can help dispel these fears, especially ones which emphasise on normality. “Books are a tool to facilitate the learning process but children learn through the attitudes of adults, whether it’s their parents or educators,” she emphasised.

“The first years of life are extremely important for our children to learn how to interact socially and establishing a value base. At times not all adults know how to deal with certain situations and it is pertinent for educators to be given a good knowledge base on how to deal with all situations since even educators and parents have their own questions.

“Children with fearful parents tend to have fearful children. It is normal to be afraid but it is how the fear is dealt with which varies from one individual to another,” she explained.

Citing an example, she said: “I can be frustrated and choose to damage a car or I can opt to go for a jog instead.”

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