A parent listening to their teenage LGBTQ+ Child

The Power of Parental Support for Your LGBTQ+ Child: Confusion to Confidence

Parenting your child from teenage to adulthood

Parenting your child from teenage to adulthood isn’t an easy process, especially if you find your child questioning their identity or sexual orientation. As a parent, you can feel overwhelmed and unprepared to address such a situation, which is understandable. You might start to doubt your parenting skills and worry about what society might say. Most of all, you will be concerned about your child’s well-being. However, it is essential to consider the situation, first for your child, and then navigate this journey with them and their newfound self-realisation. At the same time, criticising yourself for your lack of knowledge is unfair. As a parent, you don’t necessarily have to stand on a pedestal of everything right. You, too, are humans; you might make mistakes. In such instances, educating yourself about the changing world scenario is the right thing to do. Ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to parenting.

Anchor Your Child Like No One Else Would

When you realise your child identifies with the LGBTQ+ community, your first instinct might be to overreact. You may feel unprepared for the situation, but isn’t that how every stage of parenthood is? So, why make your child feel unwanted when they need your support more than ever? Remember, you are their support system, especially when they are young. Moreover, your child might find it most challenging to handle peer pressure from revealing this to their friends in a scenario like this. It is where you, as a parent, step in and can assure the child that they are loved for who they are. When you have their back, your child will become a happier adult. A young adult confused about their gender identity Often, in such instances, while dealing with your confusion, you might forget how much your child has struggled before coming out. Indeed, you need to handle yourself and, more importantly, remember that your child needs support; after all, they are the ones going through this dilemma every day. Furthermore, you may or may not have thought about this before, but this could be the beginning of cultivating a deeper understanding of the changing world and your role as a parent.

Parents, You Have Got This

Trying to understand your child during their coming-out phase might be challenging, but it is not impossible if you work with these five steps.

  1. Get the Facts Right
  2. As parents, it is essential to avoid all misconceptions surrounding this topic. It is where you should seek help from experts; three simple facts, for starters, understanding that it’s not just a phase for your child to feel a sense of belongingness to the LGBTQ+ community. Also, don’t look for reasons to blame or justify this occurrence. Finally, accepting that it’s not a problem that needs a cure; it’s the way your child is. Acknowledging these facts makes it easier for you to understand your child and help them understand themselves better.

  3. Easing the First Conversation
  4. Conversations with teenagers can become nightmares if not appropriately handled. Surprisingly, doing this does not require any significant steps. You simply ensure that they trust you for small things; eventually, these will help them open up to you for more complicated situations in their lives. However, the first step is to strike up a conversation about their LGBTQ+ identity, which might be difficult, considering the topic of sexuality is widely hushed. To make things easier, you can initiate a talk while watching a movie where similar situations are mentioned. It might seem tricky initially, but remember you are just taking advantage of an opportunity to support your child.

  5. Show Them Support and Love
  6. If your efforts are successful and your child opens up to you, it’s time to be your most supportive self. You might feel confused at this stage, but remember, it’s even more challenging for your child to handle this phase of opening up to you. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to seek support from counsellors or groups that might be familiar with this. It will help ease out the phase of acceptance for you. Furthermore, let your child know you have their back and see them blossom as healthy individuals, which benefits society. Assuring them that they are loved and will have your support, no matter what, is the most extensive support that your child needs from you.

  7. Have Discussions With Them
  8. Know that your guidance and support are crucial to your child’s healthy development. You have to play a significant role in mentoring them through the challenges in their lives. Regarding their worries about themselves and their identity, you can step in, hold their hand, and lead them positively. When you are ignorant of your child’s doubts and do not take the time to clarify them, the child may seek information in the wrong place. It could even lead to dangerous situations. Moreover, teenagers are likely to be curious about their bodies and identities, and denying them information will only cause more trouble. Instead, as a parent, you must teach them what they should know. Talk to them, listen patiently to their curious questions, and guide them on the positive path. Who better would they find than you to teach them the most significant things in life?

  9. Encourage Them Towards a Positive Future
  10. Once you constantly communicate with your child about their newfound identity, you can help them come out to others. They don’t need to make the revelation on social media, but at least they will find the courage to open up to their closest circle of friends and family. It is crucial to let them know how they should feel about themselves, and other’s opinions about them don’t matter in the long run. Once they have crossed the threshold of self-doubt, they can embrace their identity before the community. Furthermore, don’t relinquish the responsibility of supporting your child before the world. Be the pillar of support and constantly have their back. There might also be situations where your child is bullied; you can teach them to stand up for themselves. Remember, your child will be confident to face the world only when they accept themselves. So, help them step up to that level.

You Know What’s Best For Your Child

Parenthood is a journey that unfolds in phases. Parenting is not right or wrong; it only depends on what works best for your child. So, accept your child for who they are; this will help them accept themselves more. When your child is ready to acknowledge who they identify as they will be able to grow. It will help them develop as optimistic individuals because one day, they, too, might grow up to become parents, and as LGBTQ+ parents, the world will hold a different set of challenges for them. Parenting them the right way will help them become a better person and a parent one day!

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