One thing about parents is the fact that they almost always want what is best for their children. I guess it is a feature that naturally gets installed into people once they accept the responsibility of being parents.
As children get older, they become themselves and start making decisions regarding who they want to become. One big area in which they become more independent from their parents is gender and sexuality. They start figuring out who they find attractive and how they feel in their bodies.
As they start getting into relationships, some children come out as part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer) community. Depending on the values upheld by the parents, some children find it easier to come out than others.
However, despite the values which the parents adhere to, all children deserve to be supported and accepted.
Sadly, parents are not always sure what to do to support and keep their children happy. And despite having pure intentions, there is a possibility that they might say or do the ‘wrong’ thing that could offend or make the child feel uncomfortable.
Below are ways you can adopt to support your child.
Often parents tend to forget that they should also respect their children as much as they want their children to respect them. If your child chooses not to wear certain clothes or use a particular pronoun, respect their decisions and do your best not to disrespect them intentionally.
Moreover, forcing your child to talk about their sexuality or come out is never a good idea.
Allow them to process their feelings and come out when they are ready and feel safe.
Children often find it hard to identify and communicate their feelings, so if they manage to communicate how they feel, validate them.
This will build their trust in you and allow them to easily communicate with you. Validating your child’s feelings will also help you help your child explore their identity further. You might find that sometimes you don’t really understand how your child is feeling. That is okay, just validate their feelings.
Each child's experiences and coming out story is different, so the best way to be there for your child is to communicate and ask them what they want.
This will save you from trying to be the ‘perfect’ parent who knows it all. You could be focusing on doing something that your child does not really want you to do.
Creating a platform that allows your child to clearly communicate what they need will allow you to provide them with exactly that. Sometimes all they need is for you to remind them that you love them.
While your child can help you know more about the LGBTQ community, you should also make an effort to educate yourself.
There are a lot of platforms and resources online that can be of assistance.
This will help you communicate with your child more effectively and be aware of the possible challenges they could be facing. Your efforts will also result in your child getting a sense that you care about their wellbeing.
Show zero tolerance for hate, even when it comes disguised as a joke. In a world where LGBTQ children are likely to experience hate, knowing that their parent is supportive of them and will do anything to make sure that they feel included and heard is important.
This will also boost your child’s confidence allowing them to stand up against bullies.
Just because your child is comfortable with you knowing their sexual orientation or gender identity does not mean they want everyone you know to also have access to that information.
Unless they tell you to tell other people, keep it to yourself and respect their confidentiality.
They might not be ready to let everyone else know, and in some cases, they do not want anyone else to know.
We live in a world that has so much hatred. As a result, some people do not come out to their families and friends in fear of being abused (both physically and verbally), being discriminated against, or losing some relationships.
In some cases, this might take a toll on someone’s mental health as understanding your sexuality can come along with overwhelming changes. The last place we would want hate to come from is our parents.
We all want our parents to accept us as who we are, although that is different from who our parents are or who they wanted us to be. Your child also needs the same.
Do the best you can to be there for them, let them tell you their experiences and what they want, learn as much as you can and protect them from all sorts of hate. Sometimes this might mean tough decisions like cutting ties with some family and friends, which might make you sad.
You might not easily understand what your LGBTQ child is going through, but support them and show them love.