For parents and other caretakers, finding the appropriate response when a child comes out can be challenging. Naturally, parents want to be as encouraging as they can, but it can be difficult to know what to say.
The Trevor Project has announced the results of a national poll on the emotional wellbeing of LGBTQ adolescents, calling it “one of the most diverse surveys of LGBTQ youth ever performed.” New research suggests LGBTQ children who live in an LGBTQ-affirming environment are less likely to attempt suicide.
However, parents may be justified in worrying about their LGBTQ children, as these young people still face significant mental and physical health obstacles, even in the year 2022.
Unfortunately, only 37% of LGBTQ young people said their households were welcoming to their community. The research also uncovered five methods that parents frequently used to help their children adjust to their new identities.
Accepting children with LGBTQ friends or peers, having open and honest dialogues with them about their identities, using the appropriate names and pronouns, supporting positive gender expression, and learning about LGBTQ experiences were suggested.
Creating a Welcoming Home for Your Kids
Almost half of LGBTQ young adults say they are raised in a community that is either not welcoming or very unaccepting of their identity. This raises the question of what parents may do to safeguard the safety of their children at home.
Establishing early on that people of various identities are welcomed and valued is crucial, and this includes educating youngsters on gender identity and sexual orientation. Recent studies have shown that parents, in particular, can take easy steps to make their LGBTQ children and teenagers feel supported, such as engaging in respectful conversations about LGBTQ identities and educating themselves on LGBTQ problems.
It appears that acceptance and open dialogue are the keys to creating a welcoming home environment. Such expressions of love and acceptance can begin well before a child reaches the age at which they must decide whether to come out since families can instill the principles of acceptance and kindness toward people of all identities from an early age.
For youngsters on the LGBTQ and trans spectrum, having open and accepting interactions at home is a constant reminder that help is always close by. However, it is possible to create an accepting atmosphere for youngsters even before they come out. Parents may ease their children’s fears of coming out at any age by talking openly about sexual orientation and gender identity.
What to Do If Your Kid Comes Out to You
Your child has come out to you, and you want to be as supportive as possible, but you may be wondering what to say to them. What you say matters greatly, so watch your wording. In response, it’s important to be brief and courteous. You could say things like, “I appreciate you being open with me,” or “That was quite courageous; I’m very proud of you.”
As a parent, you can do your child a lot of good by assuring them that you love them no matter what. Always give a positive response and offer assistance in whatever method is requested. Let them direct you, but make sure they know you’ve got their backs.
An important step in supporting your child when they come out is to have an open and honest dialogue about their feelings and the significance of their identity.
When your child comes out to you, here are some things you should never say to them.
The challenge of knowing what to say to your child when they come out to you is matched only by the difficulty of knowing what not to say. It’s possible that you’ll be astonished, baffled, or perhaps feel as though you already knew.
Major under- or overreactions have to be avoided at all costs. Get away from claims that make it sound like you’ve known all along or that you aren’t surprised because of the child’s past behavior. Negative language should be avoided so that your kid always feels secure at home. However, silence can be just as damaging.
Many young people have said that their parents or loved ones remained silent after they came out to them. Your silence may be interpreted as rejection if your child comes out to you. If you feel uncomfortable replying to inquiries or comments involving gender identity and sexual orientation, it is crucial to educate oneself on these matters and acquire confidence.
There can be difficulties even for LGBTQ youngsters in families who accept them. My mother was taken aback when I first began questioning my gender and eventually came out as transgender. The comfort they felt came from their mother’s love and encouragement.
Negative effects on mental health are more common among children who feel less accepted in their own homes. Parents should realize that their child is an individual; behaving inappropriately will impair their self-esteem.
Coming out can be difficult for the youngster and their loved ones. Parents can help share in the delight of their children’s journeys to self-acceptance and pride by meeting them with love and acceptance and educating themselves on best practices.