We recently celebrated Pride Month, and National Coming Out day is October 11th. While many teens will come out on that day, others will come out when the time is right. Society has become more open, and inclusive in the last several years. Most people understand and accept that homosexuality has a strong genetic component and is not a choice. Even so, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or questioning child is probably really nervous about telling a parent if his or her sexuality is anything but straight. It’s not easy, but you can help make the process easier.
What should you do when your child comes out to you?
Remain Calm – First and foremost it’s important to remain calm. Thank your child for telling you and tell them how brave it was. You can also acknowledge their nervousness, as well as your own.
Love Them – Maybe even more important than being calm is to tell your child you love them – no matter what their sexuality is. Many children worry about being rejected by family because of their sexuality and they may have been rejected by peers if they came out to them. Tell your child you love them and will always love them, not matter what.
Accept Them – Don’t try to talk your child out of his or her sexuality. While it’s true many kids experiment in their teen years and may be more fluid in their sexuality, it isn’t for you to pressure them to go in one direction or another. Accept your child for who they say they are. If it changes in the future, accept that version too.
No Blame – Don’t blame your child’s sexuality on anyone. Your son isn’t gay because he played with dolls or his older sisters dressed him in dresses. He is who he was made to be, and that is a beautiful thing.
Be Supportive – Ask your child what they would like you to do. It might mean going to a Pride Parade with them or learning more about the gay culture. Whatever it is, listen and do what you can to be as supportive as possible.
Don’t Lecture – Now is not the time to talk about sex. There will be time for that later. Now is the time to listen to your child, ask questions (but don’t pressure them for answers if they don’t have them) and to love your child.