Perhaps, it would make it easier for a parent to adapt to the realization that her child is gay if she considers it a possibility from the start. In today’s society, you can’t presume that everyone is heterosexual. (Sex Education classes that preach abstinence-only or have information only applicable to heterosexuals are missing the mark). Nor can you assume that your adolescent is not having sex.
Penn State sex researcher Megan K. Maas suggests in her blog “7 Steps to Establish Yourself as an approachable parents so your kids will talk to YOU about sex,” http://www.meganmaas.com/blog/7-steps-to-take-to-establish-yourself-as-an-approachable-parent/, that parents use the word “romantic partner” instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” To encourage conversation, rather than close it, and remove stigma as well, phrase a question such as “Do you have a crush on anyone?” rather than “do you have a crush on a particular boy/girl?” The latter will make him feel awkward and ashamed if his crush is not on the opposite sex.
Maas, a National Institutes of Health Fellow, also advises that if you’ve already used the word “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, it’s not too late to change it. Don’t look back! How were you to know?
Don’t Second Guess
I would add that you can’t second guess your child’s sexual orientation. Nor can you tell him/her how they are feeling. Sexuality is fluid as Alfred Kinsey discovered as far back as 1948 when he developed The Kinsey Scale that showed people did not fit into neat and exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories.
Your college daughter could tell you she’s a lesbian in her single-sex college (LUG, lesbian until graduation), then tell you two years later, she’s a heterosexual. It happens.
In this case, the child knows best. The child is, in essence, the parent and is trying to educate you. Try to refrain from disbelief. It smacks of denial.
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.
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