Conditional Love Common
Sometimes it’s hard for a Mother to love her kids unconditionally. Kids act up. They fight with their siblings, beg for another glass of water so they don’t have to go to bed, leave pizza crust in the sofa just to name a few transgressions. To a parent, they are disrespectful when in fact they are just kids.
It may feel as if God forbid they should appreciate you! In short, they disappoint and don’t live up to your expectations!
However, as the mother of a LGBT child, you cannot afford to love conditionally when they come out. Sure, you may be disappointed when you’re told that your child is not entirely whom you thought he was, that he doesn’t follow the script you’ve had for him – that he’d marry someone of the opposite sex, give you grandchildren, and perhaps settle into the same career as his father. This is a common feeling. You may also experience guilt and think what have I done to make my child gay? Or maybe you are ashamed at your family now being “different?” Are you starting to worry already about your gay child’s future? Will he be picked on? Fired from a job just because of his sexual orientation?
These common rebuttals do not endear you to him and can seriously jeopardize your relationship.
· “You couldn’t be! No son or daughter of mine could be gay!”
· “It’s just a phase! You’ll grow out of it!”
· “You’re too young to know! “
Or you could be in awe of your child’s self-confidence, self-awareness at such a young age, and be proud of his decision to come out to you. It is flattering for a child to entrust such an important part of his/her self with you. As he has probably thought about what and when he was going to tell you, give him the courtesy of a hug and an audience.
LGBT Kids Need Unconditional Love
Your child is looking for unconditional love. He needs your unwavering support as he tries to navigate school where bullying takes place, friendships that may change due to his orientation, and a community and/or church which may not embrace him.
Your home should be a haven for him/her from all these road blocks. Studies have shown that LGBT kids usually come out to their mothers first. So, you set the tone. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and think how they want to be treated. This is one instance where your child knows more than you and you need to follow his lead.
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.