It makes sense that concerned parents are wondering how to best support their gay and lesbian children in the wake of recent anti gay bullying and suicides. Research has shown that one of the most important protective factors for a gay or lesbian youth is a supportive family. Here are some ways you can nurture and support your gay or lesbian child.
1) Hug your child and say “I love you!”
2) Find a supportive faith community. If you are a religious family, search for a faith community that reflects a diverse group of people where gays and lesbians are considered equal. Your child will not only be able to maintain their faith connection but also see gay and lesbians in long term committed relationships some of whom are raising children. ( a good way to set the stage for grandchildren in the future )
3) Ensure a safe school. Ask their school if they have an anti bullying policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. If so, make sure they are enforcing it. If not, petition the school board to write one.
4) Maintain family rules and expectations. If you tell your all your kids that you expect them to find a life partner and give you grandchildren while they finish medical school so they can take care of you when you are old – tell your gay or lesbian child the same thing. Just because a child is gay or lesbian does not mean they should be exempt from family rules or unrealistic parental expectations ( except for the obvious – don’t ask them to be straight! )
5) Find good role models. Become knowledgeable about, and discuss movies, historical figures and political movements that show positive role models for lesbian and gay youth.
6) Attend a local PFLAG meeting ( Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) to connect with other people who may be experiencing similar feelings and/or concerns about having a gay or lesbian loved one.
7) Hug your child and say “I love you!”
If you are looking for a family therapist in the St Paul area please feel free to contact to me schedule an appointment.