A New Year’s Resolution That Lasts Beyond Next Year
As the holiday season comes to a close, New Year’s resolutions abound as we typically vow to lose that extra five pounds we gained. Many of us go to a Pilates class for our “Core,” only to drop out after two weeks.
But how about a plan for a core that will have durable, meaningful effects on your relationship with your gay child?
To do this, you need to get information and support to understand what your child is experiencing. Get suggestions for books and internet sites that can enlighten you and broaden your knowledge.
· Educate yourself. While you can not know what it feels like to be gay as a straight parent, ask your child to educate you.This is a role reversal; now your child is the one who has more information!While this new role may make you uncomfortable at first, keep these thoughts to yourself until you can find a support group.
· Join a support group and find others who have coped with and conquered the same negative feelings of failure, helplessness, depression and anxiety you may be feeling.PFLAG(Parents of Lesbians and Gays) has nationwide meetings where you will find advice and role models.
· Offer unconditional love and support.That’s what your teen wants. It’s not about YOU! He/she may be experiencing shame, loss, depression, knowing he is disappointing you. Put your withered dreams on the back burner and focus on your child’s happiness. Teens don’t like to be different, and a gay teen constantly fears being singled out.
· Accept that your child is gay/ bisexual. Don’t try to change his orientation so you feel better.The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University found that positive family attitudes and behaviors protect GLB kids against depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
With documented facts like those, why not make a resolution to develop a spiritual core with your gay child?
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.