LGBTQ Parent Support
Parenting Support When Your Gay Child Comes Out
Support your child’s path as his/her own
Valuing your children’s choice in coming out, to be themselves, and supporting their path, wherever it may lead, is what parenting really is about. It is the wise parent that acknowledges the power and impact of their child’s tender struggle and, no matter what, advocates for that child. Our children are not our replication, nor are they reflections of us, but rather, their own unique selves. If parents can be more open to who their children are and love them for that, then this coming out step, though stressful, can precipitate a far deeper relationship between parent and child. By recognizing their own humanity, parents have a great opportunity to confront their own feelings honestly, while listening to the deeply emotional challenges of their children. This will allow the child to live honestly and find genuine relationships with both themselves and others.
During this process, parents and children alike should remember to have empathy for one another. The child who is coming out is confronting the entire breadth of his/her history and fear of rejection, not only from family, but also from peers. Yet, if this child is supported by family, that child can be liberated. Then all of the energy that was used to suppress who he/she really is will come back as creative energy so that he/she can live life more fully as a whole person.
Seek outside guidance
Coaching and Counseling are great tools for parents and children to reach for at this juncture. Coaching can create the supportive environment necessary for the coming out process. A good coach or counselor can address the questions that challenge mom and dad. Until sexual orientation is understood, parents may question their relationship and the home environment that they fostered. They may grieve the loss of their expectations and the future that they imagined for themselves and their child.
Coaching will help parents recognize that by letting go of that conceptual framework, they have the opportunity to journey with their child into the future of his/her choice. Life is a collection of memories and when we let go of the past, we realize that all we really have are the memories we are making now in the present. By embracing our child and his/her reality, we will get reacquainted with that son or daughter hidden in the shadows.
Further, support groups are available for parents and children who are in transition. By taking advantage of this, parents and children can connect with others who know how they feel because they live there.
Come together and grow together as a family
As a family talks their way through this chaos, they come to recognize that sexual orientation is really not a choice, and just a small part of who we are as human beings. By valuing our children and advocating their choice to come out, we move through a phase of emotional instability into the safe space of a mutual and loving family. Children grow up, and parents remain parents. By being the kind of parent that can be counted on, we legitimize our rights as parents to parent , to always share our feelings, and to be the resource and lifelong support for our progeny.
Life is an adventure – take the journey together.