You know your child is different, right?
Every single person on the planet is. We are all unique and bring something different to the world we live in.
But what do you do as a parent when you think your child could be LGBT+?
Maybe they have said something to you. Or maybe you just KNOW.
Three Things To Be Aware Of
- A child can know from a very young age that they are ‘different’. They may not know how to talk about what they feel. They may not understand how they feel. They may not know the words to describe how they feel. Do not assume they ‘can’t be’ because they are too young. I had the feeling I was different when I was 9 years old. I didn’t ‘classify or label’ it until I was 16.
- Education from schools around LGBT+ issues is limited.
- The mainstream media and messages we hear on a daily basis are not inclusive to the LGBT+ community. You will predominately see heterosexual references as a norm. It is rare to see LGBT+ scenes on TV, for instance.
The Key Message To Send Out To Your Child
Everyone is unique. We are all different in some way and difference is good.
The Ultimate Parent’s Guide To Supporting An LGBT+ Child
- Encourage your child to explore their identity. Let them play around to see how they like to express themselves. They will want to explore ‘who am I?’ so they can define their own identity. Create a safe space for them to do this.
- Cultivate the environment where your child can share and talk about anything with you. If they feel they can talk to you about the little things, they will talk to you about the big things. By doing this you are sending out the message to them that they can talk to you when they are ready.
- When your child talks to you, put down your phone/devices and give them your full attention. All any child wants is to be heard and to be loved…
- Ask questions. Be curious about them, their interests, their life and their view on the world. Keep the communication between you flowing.
- Be inclusive with your language. For example: use gender neutral references when talking about partners.
- Educate them. Watch documentaries and videos you find on YouTube together. Engage in discussion around what you have seen. Again, this opens the door for the conversation to flow.
- Normalise being LGBT+. Talk about your LGBT+ friends, colleagues and those in the public eye.
- Become an LGBT+ ally. Talk about the work you do around this and what you observe others doing.
How To Talk To Your Child When They Open Up To You
- What do you want?
- What do you want to do about it?
- What do you feel about it?
- How can I support you?
Do’s And Don’ts When Your Child Comes Out To You
Answer any questions they may have. If you can’t, guide them to someone that can.
Thank them for sharing with you.
Let them know they can talk to you about anything.
Don’t say ‘you are brave’. Subconsciously you are telling them it is a difficult thing to talk about or that it shouldn’t be talked about.
You don’t need to sit them down and have ‘the chat’. If you cultivate the environment where they can talk to you about anything, they will never feel the need to ‘officially come out’ to you. You will be exploring and learning together. How beautiful is that?
There is no right and wrong here. Trust me when I say you can’t get it wrong.
You are doing everything you can for your child.
You are supporting them more than you know right now.
Continue to be there for them. Reassure them. Encourage them. Nurture them. Love them.
Create the space for them to blossom into who they really are.
And don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
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