One of the most amazing things about the last decade or so is the fact that children, in general, have become more accepting. They know that people come in all shapes and sizes. Kindness is one of the most important traits to pass on. That said, there are still plenty of important resources that you should utilize if your child comes out. But, it can still be very hard for children to come to terms with their sexuality and gender identity.
What to do when your child comes out as LGBTQ
Coming out: What parents of LGBTQ kids can do
When a child first comes out to their parents as either being gay or having same-sex attraction, their initial responses are usually the wrong ones, says Chris Doyle, a psychotherapist who specializes in SSA. Although the child has probably already told their closest friends and trusted family members about their thoughts and feelings, the parents are often the last ones to know. And in their panicked state, parents sometimes look for someone to blame or even think about how they might change their child. They're trying to figure out, a lot of times, how to change their child. What we do as counselors is we encourage them to stop and take the focus away from the child and look at this as a family issue.
Family Support for Gay Teens Saves Lives
Would you parent your straight year-old daughter that way? Stephen Russell, an adolescent psychologist at the University of Arizona, says that he and his partner, Scott Neeley, have faced many challenges while parenting their gay son, Enrique, Russell credits the majority of his parenting successes to the open communication that both he and Neeley encourage within their home, and says parents should remember the importance of talking openly with their teens not only about the rules, curfews and boundaries that are part of the dating experience, but also about sexuality and relationships. Russell also suggests that parents of gay teenagers be aware of whether or not the person their child is dating has already come out himself, and of how their parents reacted to the news. Russell also stresses the importance of being familiar with gay sex and intimacy before engaging your teen in discussions about sexuality, and says to be prepared for questions about what constitutes sex and where limits lie.
Positive environments are important to help all youth thrive. On this page, find resources from the CDC, other government agencies, and community organizations for LGBT Youth, their friends, educators, parents, and family members to support positive environments. Some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes.