Have you, the straight parent of a gay kid, burst into volcanic eruptions over your gay child’s pronounced sexual identity? Maybe it’s time you ‘fess up that you don’t have all the answers. It’s never too late to apologize – the time to start is now to mend the relationship.
Recipe for Humble Pie
• Unconditional love. Sure you may be disappointed that your child is not living up to your expectations, but doesn’t he/she deserve the unconditional love he experienced before he/she told you he was gay.
• A generous compliment. Your child, risking rejection, has revealed his true inner self to you. Consider it the ultimate compliment. Think of the discovery as a gift.
Make Amends by:
• Showing interest in your child’s friends and lifestyle.
• Discussing his fears for the future, disappointments in not leading the life you perceived for him/her.
• Tell your child that it may take you some time to digest his “coming out” and to adjust your thinking about his sexual orientation.
• Remain open. This is not a time to exercise parental authority. It is your child who is educating you. Listen.
Don’t believe the famous adage from the movie “Love Story”(1970): “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Admit when you’re wrong and your kid will be more apt to view you as human, approachable and loving.
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.