April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month
“The physical wounds (of child abuse) heal but research is showing that the effects on a child’s social, emotional and future physical health is far more damaging that we once thought,” states Mary E. Jones, MD, child advocacy physician at Loyola University Health System.
Bullied At School
Eighty-five percent of LGBT students, according to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network), are more likely to be verbally harassed in school – called “faggots,”
“dykes.” Twenty percent reported physical assaults and not just being pushed into lockers, to the point where they have a higher absentee rate. You can’t assume that teachers and other school professionals will always come to your child’s rescue.
Bullied At Home
With such egregious treatment, an LGBT child needs their home to be a safe accepting haven. However, this is not always the case. Some parents, believing their child’s sexual orientation is “just a phase,” will deny their child is gay, a few will even try to convert them (from gay-to-straight) although President Obama wisely banned conversion therapy this week.
Angry and disappointed that their LGBT children don’t fit their master plan of a life envisioned in a traditional manner, some parents go to the extreme of kicking their children out of the house. Nearly 40% of homeless youth are LGBT “throwaways.”
The Better Alternative: Affirmed and Supported
Studies from the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State reveal that parental acceptance can save LGBT children from drug abuse, low self-esteem, depression, even suicide! Gay teens whose parents accept their sexual orientation grow up happier and healthier.
Unconditional Love and a Hug Go Along Way!
A nurturing parents makes such a difference! Your child needs to know from you that he or she is loved and special.
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.