Whose Life Is It Anyway?
Many parents have trouble believing that their teens are gay. To them, it’s a phase that their kids are passing through. They can rationalize all they want. “ How could you be? You’re too young to know!”
It’s difficult for parents to shift mental sets and assimilate the new data of what it means to have a gay child. At first, they are unable to reconcile a gay child’s homosexuality with their heterosexual notions of their child’s identity and future life plans, according to Jonathan Tobkes, M.D., a Manhattan psychiatrist who sees many gay teens in his private practice.
Call it denial on the parent’s part or homophobia, but in this instance, it’s the child who knows best. Your child may have been aware of his sexual orientation since early childhood. He/she doesn’t want to hear from you that it’s a stage when he/she is certain of his sexual orientation.
Even if you don’t understand, there are others who do and will make the acceptance of his identity easier for you.
Tips for Greater Understanding
Dr. Tobkes suggests the following to make the adjustment to the coming out easier:
- · You might try individual or family therapy.
- · Talk to friends whom you trust.
- · Join a Support Group such as PFLAG,( Parents and Friends of Lesbians & Gays), with national chapters.
- · Utilize ongoing open and direct conversations with your child.
- · Educate yourself with literature, online websites for parents of gays, and reputable videos or programs.
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.