Parents of LGBTQ+ teens know that coming into terms of their sexual orientation is not an easy journey. It is a life-changing decision that requires a whole level of courage and confidence especially in coming out to the family.
Teens, in general, experience so many changes and issues during their adolescent years. Finding their true self is both a struggle and a crisis that requires support and understanding by their family. Coming out as an LGBTQ+ is a more serious issue to tackle that demands time, open-mindedness and unconditional love from all family members.
How to show love and support to your LGBTQ+ teens?
As parents, you may have an inkling that your children are somewhat different from what society defines boys and girls. You are just waiting for them to tell you with all honesty their preferred sexual orientation.
Parents of LGBTQ+ teens who are clueless on their children’s sexual preference may find it shocking and disquieting. Other parents refuse to accept this truth no matter how hurtful their reaction is to their children. But whether you are happy or upset by this news, you need to start acknowledging it.
1. Educate yourself.
The term LGBTQ+ may not be new to you but there is actually more to it than the plus sign. If your children are part of the LGBTQ+, educate yourself about this and what it comprises. Learn about gender identity and sexual preferences. Read about the facts and issues. You can even ask other parents the right approach in discussing topics concerning LGBTQ+. You may also read national and local laws that aim to protect their rights and welfare.
Show your love and support to your LGBTQ+ teens by learning more about their world without judgment. Most times, the reason parents do not accept their children as an LGBTQ+ is because they lack the right level of knowledge and awareness.
2. Get to know your LGBTQ+ teens.
They choose to tell you the truth about them because they respect and trust you. This is not the time to dismiss their words. This is actually the best time to connect to them and get to know them more as part of the LGBTQ+.
Find out if they have new interests or any plans when they finally know now who they are. Get to know their new friends and even invite them for a meal. Take interests, show love and display affection to your children no matter who they are. If you find it hard to digest this issue at first, it is harder for your teens to tell you – so be more supportive.
3. Stay involved in their academic and after-school activities.
Your LGBTQ+ teens should feel comfortable not just at home but also in school. They should feel that you continue to support and applaud their accomplishments in school. They should not feel pressured in making you feel good to compensate for what they are.
Be as enthusiastic as before when your children join a spelling bee or a science competition. Cheer them in their basketball or football meets. If your son wants to join a ballet class, let him be. Let your LGBTQ+ teens know that you will always be there for them.
4. Look for any signs of bullying.
Even if society is more accepting of them, there are still people who are disgusted by this. Never get too comfortable with the thought that your LGBTQ+ teens will always feel safe. Look for signs of any discrimination and bullying in school or in the community. If there is a sudden change of their behavior and mood, step in right away.
If the teachers are already aware of your children’s sexual orientation, you can talk to them and let them know that you need their help in ensuring the safety of your teens. You also need to talk to your teens about the ugly side of society and they should know who and when to ask for help.
5. Talk to them about relationships.
One thing you must do as a parent is to discuss sex and relationships with your LGBTQ+ teens. Even if they insist that they already know about these things, there are still aspects about these topics that cannot be read in Google or discussed thoroughly in school.
Make them aware that as part of the LGBTQ+ community, it may not be that easy to have healthy and positive relationships. Let them know that you are just there to listen and give advice whenever they feel lost and tired.
6. Find out if there are support groups in the community.
Research about different support groups in the community that advocate for the welfare of all LGBTQ+. This is the right avenue to openly discuss issues and learn more about the community. You may also ask your children’s school of they have groups or programs that discourage bullying and discrimination against LGBTQ+. If none, you can start your own and encourage other parents to embrace and accept this change.
7. Encourage them to talk to a qualified therapist or psychologists.
As parents of LGBTQ+ teens, you want them to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy at all times. However, with so many issues and controversies about the LGBTQ+ community it is normal for you to feel worried. It is also acceptable if your teens feel low and sad about how other people treat and judge them.
Mindshift Psychological Services offer help and guidance to both parents and LGBTQ+ teens. Here you and your teens can discuss the things that bother you. Their therapy near me and counseling sessions will be the best place where you can talk about your thoughts and feelings. There is a therapy near me specifically for LGBTQ+ and Family Therapy near me for parents and for the whole family.
They also have Depression Therapy and Trauma Therapy for those who have experienced unpleasant situations because of their sexual preferences. Schedule for an appointment through their website or contact them at (714)584-9700.