Parents of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) kids play a crucial role in supporting their children and creating a positive and accepting environment. Here are some key things that parents should keep in mind:
Unconditional Love and Acceptance:
Let your child know that you love and accept them for who they are. Reassure them that your love is unconditional.
Take the time to educate yourself about LGBTQ identities, terminology, and issues. Understanding your child’s experiences will help you provide better support.
Create an open and non-judgmental space for your child to express themselves. Listen actively and validate their feelings. This will help strengthen your relationship and build trust.
Respect your child’s privacy regarding their identity. They may not be ready to share everything, and that’s okay. Let them take the lead in sharing their experiences.
Be Open to Communication:
Encourage open communication. Make it clear that your child can come to you with their questions, concerns, or experiences. Be approachable and non-judgmental.
Advocate for Your Child:
Stand up for your child if they face discrimination or prejudice. Be their advocate in various settings, such as schools, healthcare, or other community spaces.
Connect with Supportive Communities:
Seek out supportive communities, both online and offline, where you can connect with other parents of LGBTQ children. Share experiences, ask questions, and learn from others who have been through similar journeys. I recommend PFLAG for in person support. Click the link to find a chapter near you. For online support, if you’re on Facebook and not in my group for parents, it’s a great source of support. Respond to this email for more information on how to join.
Use Correct Pronouns:
Respect your child’s chosen name and pronouns. Using the correct name and pronouns is a simple yet powerful way to show support and affirm their identity.
Understand the Coming Out Process:
Recognize that the coming out process is unique to each individual. Some may be ready to share their identity early, while others may take more time. Be patient and understanding.
Educate Others in Your Circle:
Share your knowledge and experiences with friends and family. Help them understand and support your child, creating a broader network of acceptance.
Utilize resources such as books, websites, and support groups to enhance your understanding and support your child effectively.
If needed, consider seeking guidance from mental health professionals who specialize in LGBTQ issues. They can provide additional support and resources.
Remember that supporting your LGBTQ child is an ongoing process, and your understanding and support can make a significant positive impact on their well-being and happiness.
If you want more specific suggestions, let me know and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you a peaceful, harmonious home,
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.