How to show support to your LGBTQ kid
More parents are finding themselves coming face to face with their own feelings on the LGBT community when their child admits to being part of it. As parents, we sometimes have conflicted feelings about how to respond when our beloved children are exploring their sexuality. How you respond can have a big impact on their future wellbeing, so if your kid has told you they're LGBT, here are a few ways you can help support them:
Start from a place of love
You love your child. That's why, if you come from a highly religious background or other demographic that isn't especially open to the LGBT community, it might be particularly hard to process what they have said. If you find it hard to process, let them know first and foremost that you love them and always will. If you can't say something, hug them.
If you aren't sure what the right thing is to say, be honest. Let them know it's a shock and you need time to process it before talking about them, and thank them for letting you know. After all, it took a lot of trust to tell you about this.
As a mom, there are some concerns your LGBT child probably wishes you didn't have, but you do. What if your child gets AIDS? What about grandchildren? What if they change their mind about gender reassignment after it's too late?
These questions can be troubling, and the reassurances of a teenager that none of these things will happen isn't very comforting. Speaking to experienced adults on the matter, who are not biased (for or against) the LGBT community, can help ease some concerns. A therapist would be ideal.
If you'd like to speak to people who are familiar with the community, the PFLAG website was specifically designed to support families of the LGBT community, as well as individuals.
Ask how you can help
While you may want to talk frankly with an adult about concerns you have about the LGBT community, asking your child how you can support them is also important. If they want you to come to an LGBT event or meet their partner, doing so can help make them feel less stressed, and also make healthier decisions when it comes down to their sex life.
Supporting your child when they're LGBT and you're not can be a difficult road to navigate. You want to do the right thing by your child, make sure they feel loved, but also that they are safe. If you're not sure, reaching out to get the help you need can guide you on the path to helping your child feel loved, supported, and safe as they figure out who they are.
Studies show that LGBT children who are supported by their parents have fewer symptoms of depression and other common mental illnesses. By supporting them, you will help give them the confidence they need to thrive, regardless of what their sexuality is.