At the core of being a parent is wanting what is best for your kids. But, providing the right support is not always easy. All children face challenges and as parents, we want to be there to help them get through it. LGBTQ children face many of the same hurdles as their peers, but there are many unique challenges that come with navigating growing up as someone that identifies as LGBTQ.
While some parents may be unwilling to support their LGBTQ children, there are many out there who want to do so but may feel unprepared or unknowledgeable on how they can do that.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the best things that you can do as a parent to support your LGBTQ child/children.
Give and Confirm Your Love for Them
At the end of the day, all every child wants is to be loved by their parents. For many youths in the LGBTQ community, telling their parents is the hardest part of the coming out process. There is always the worry that they will be rejected, that they will hurt or disappoint the most important people in the world, and that they will be unlovable.
As a parent, you are your child’s anchor and your acceptance is key in ensuring that they grow up to be happy adults. In fact, numerous studies show that LGBTQ children that have the support of their parents have a much better chance of a happier, healthier lifestyle as they grow.
You don’t need expert advice on how to let your child know that you love them and it’s a completely individual moment for every family. However, something along the lines of, “You’re my child and I love and support you no matter what,” can go an incredibly long way in letting them know that you are in their corner.
As a parent, you’re probably well aware that getting your kids to open up and talk to you can feel a bit like pulling teeth. However, it’s important to know about your child’s day-to-day life in order to understand them as well as you can. This all starts with small acts that build trust. You should be curious about their lives, get to know their friends and what they like to do in their spare time. Always ask your child how their day went, what they learned at school, and so on. Don’t be discouraged if they aren’t forthcoming to start with, as children really do want their parents to share their lives and they will start to open up.
While these small conversations about everyday things might seem innocuous, being connected to your child’s world will make it easier for them to approach you when it comes to more complex, difficult issues, such as sexuality. The more dialogue you have with your child, the more comfortable they will feel talking to you about big issues.
Don’t Dismiss their Sexuality
All too often, children that have the courage to finally come out to their parents hear phrases like “Oh, it’s just a phase”. This completely dismisses their evolving sense of self and will have an impact on their self-confidence.
Instead of dismissing their sexuality, try to embrace them as they are and who they are going to become. There is no “cure” for sexuality and your child is not something that needs to be fixed. Remember that they came to you in confidence and courage, repay them by celebrating everything that they are.
Get Involved at School
School isn’t the kindest place for kids from all walks of life, but it can be a particularly brutal and intimidating place for LGBTQ children. They spend a large majority of their time at school and so it’s important that you ensure that they feel as safe and comfortable there as they do at home.
Here are some of the ways you can become more active in making school a safe space for your child and other LGBTQ children:
Encourage Healthy Relationships
The teenage years are tricky and you’re going to start dealing with your child becoming interesting in their peers. One of the biggest issues with LGBTQ teens is that they can feel like they should hide their relationship or feel ashamed of it.
As a parent, it’s important that you take an interest in your child’s love life and encourage them to be open and honest about the person they are interested in. Encourage your child to date in a healthy and age-appropriate way and be open to meeting their partner should they want you to.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
As a parent, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you are unsure how to help or support your child. This can be particularly true for those with LGBTQ children that lack experience and education on how to be the best support system that they can.
Always remember that your child is probably having more difficulty with their sexuality than you are and it’s important to reach out for help if you need it. There are plenty of avenues that you can take when it comes to getting help – you could reach out to a counselor and close family members, or join a community organization for parents with LGBTQ children.
Inclusive Support at Naked Divorce
At Naked Divorce, we welcome people from all walks of life. We have experienced Divorce Angels and trauma counselors that are there every step of the way. Whether you are having problems in your marriage, need help along the divorce journey, or need support for your children, you’re always welcome to give us a call.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.
With you in service,
Book a Clarity Call for any divorce or break up support you need,