The best initial response from parents when your child comes out is to give them a hug and let them know that you love them. There has never been a better time in history to be in the LGBTQ+ community. Great strides have been made and there is much more tolerance and equality worldwide than in previous decades. Nevertheless, it’s still not a perfect world, and bigotry and judgment still exist in all corners of society.
Coming out is still an intensely emotional and personal experience for people of all ages. And especially for children or teenagers who are still uncertain of their own identities and face constant peer pressure from their friends and classmates. As a parent, you may find yourself in a situation where your little one opens up to you and tells you that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, or any other identity they might associate with.
This is a huge milestone for any LGBTQ+ person, and when your child comes out, they will no doubt be feeling incredibly apprehensive and vulnerable in this situation. They may even fear your judgment or rejection.
It’s essential that you as their parent, offer them the support and acceptance they need at this time. They are trusting you with this information about their identity and you should treat it with the importance it deserves. But you may be unsure of how to react. No matter how you feel about it, this is a new situation for you and you want to respond in a way that makes your child feel as loved and accepted as they deserve. To help you out, here are four tips to be as supportive as possible when your little one comes out to you.
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You might be desperate to tell your child that you don’t care about their sexual preferences and will accept them for whoever they are, but remember that this moment is not about you. Refrain from voicing whatever is running through your mind and just let your child speak their mind. They have probably been preparing for this moment for some time so let them say what they need to say.
Tell them you love them
Once your child has come out to you, you may find you struggle to find the right words. But the only thing you need to say is that you love them. This information shouldn’t change your relationship in any major way (other than maybe strengthening your bond), and they may need confirmation that you still love and accept them. Don’t hesitate to let them know.
Don’t be negative
If you have any negative thoughts or worries about their well-being, keep them to yourself for now. You will have to accept their lifestyle, and nothing you can say will change their mind. You don’t want to risk pushing them away so remember to be positive.
Ask how you can help
Your child will be learning to navigate the world as an LGBTQ+ person and may be figuring out things like online dating, phone chatline (such as https://chatlinedating.com/gay), and dealing with the intolerance of others. Throughout their life, you will provide a source of support, guidance, and comfort, so let them know you are there for them. Ask how you can help and do what you can to make their life easier.