How did we get here? A question you might be asking yourself. I challenge you to flip it!
Here we are…so, let’s do this!
Being a parent of a LGBT teen provides different questions to ask yourself. How can I support my child if I don’t believe that this is really them? I don’t believe in being ‘gay’; how can I still love my child? Or I see that they are who they are…but I’m still the parent and how do I support them safely?
All of these questions are logical at any time during your teens growth; take out the concept of LGBT and you still have valid parenting questions. You are doing your job if you are still asking questions and growing!
LGBT Teens are still teens and need to be raised as such! They still have to follow family rules and complete family chores. You can still not like who they are dating and who their friends are. It is the why that matters! Trust the teen you are raising to make choices you have modeled for them.
Provide safety in the conversations you have with them; not judgmental. The talking, the conversation, is the gift your child brings to you.
* Provide information and learn together. If they are questioning their sexuality, support the child not the concept by finding healthy information about the community and how they can learn about themselves while living in your home.
* You are the parent, monitor their friends. Healthy friends (you and your child can list what that will look like.) YOU WILL NOT LIKE ALL THEIR FRIENDS; that is a fact of parenting. ARE THEY HEALTHY; do they promote well-being in your teen? Remember the gay teen that you dislike your child being around, is someone else’s child and they might be full of the same questions.
* There is a dangerous side to everything in life. The internet is a FABULOUS place to find safe group meetings and activities. Please remember that it also has lots of people that look for children with parents that try to ignore or hate the ‘gay’ fact away…they wait until your teen can’t take another day isolated…then they are there. So find safe together; maybe even together and uncomfortable…but together.
* Your teen loves you. Most do not look at someone of the same sex and say, “Now that would really hurt my family!” Most of the time there is immediate shame and fear of who they are on the inside. They need you.
Here you are! You and that sweet child becoming an adult…Here you can stand together…
“If I have to pick a day I can make a difference in….Today…would be the answer!”
Melinda Porter MA