Don’t We Blame More Often?
Human nature seems to dictate that it is much easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility for your actions that may thwart or disappoint you. Sunday, July 13, is supposedly “Blame Someone Else Day.” I don’t know about you, but I can find myself blaming others for my shortcomings on a daily basis. Why do I need a special day for my actions?
However, as the mother of a gay child, now thirty-one, I learned not to blame my child for the disappointment I initially felt because his life would not be what we envisioned for him: no marriage, grandchildren, openness about whom he is dating. Of course, nowadays (2014), it is possible for your child to have a same-sex marriage, albeit not in every state, and to parent a child through adoption or surrogacy.
Causes for Blame
As the parent of a LGBT child, you can not afford to blame your child for causing your initial unhappiness. You may be annoyed that he/she, in your mind, has put you in a position where you feel guilty (what have I done to this child to cause him to be gay?), shameful (what do I tell my friends and how do I deal with the school he/she attends?), angry that your family now has a member who is affiliated with a minority group, that some people hate, through his sexual orientation.
Your child has probably already blamed himself for being attracted to the same sex. He/she probably wished he’d be straight so his life would be so much easier and he would be more readily accepted. But this lifestyle is not a choice. If it were, many GLBT people would choose to be straight. Wouldn’t it be simpler to not be a member of a minority group that the religious right condemn?
According to Kevin Jennings, MA, founder of GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network), 2003, and author of Always, My Child (2003),” the fact that your child is LGBTQ is not a reflection of your lifestyle, your parenting skills or your masculinity or femininity.” You have not committed an unpardonable sin now visited on your child.
In short, your son or daughter should not be blaming you for what he perceives as a loss nor conversely should you blame him/her for stirring up a torrent of emotions that make you uncomfortable.
If blame is your modus operandi, you could
- benefit from talking to someone who has an LGBT child and has gone through a similar experience when their child “came out.” Or perhaps a gay-friendly therapist could help you work through your unsettling feeling.
- A nearby chapter of PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays) has parents who’ve been there and can advise you.
- Human Rights Campaign is just one organization that can refer you to websites and books that can educate you about parenting a gay child.
Although parenting is parenting, as the straight parent of a gay child, you have additional issues to contend with. Your child looks to you for unconditional love and acceptance. That’s hard to do when he is blaming himself and you are blaming the world!
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.