Homosexuality: Helping Children Who Identify As Gay

Homosexuality amongst youths. What can parents do for teens that identify as homosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual?

With the prevalence and changing political atmosphere surrounding homosexuality and the rights of that community more and more individuals are coming out of the closet at younger ages, there is a question about how to approach the subject of sexuality. These individuals can be teens about to leave for college or who are the age of young children.

These youths are being placed in a culture where it is much more acceptable than it would have been even a single generation ago to be gay or bisexual. I use the term gay here to refer to any homosexual relations, not to the exclusion of other relationship possibilities.

So how do parents react and how do they help their children who may be experiencing gay or homosexual feelings?

1. Ensure you stay calm.  Even if you were raised in a family where acts of a homosexual nature were not acceptable, the youth came to you for guidance and help.  They do not want to be judged and they do not want to have someone else's values placed before them to live up to.

2. Help them seek out assistance. 

A.     If you are religious, have them seek out their pastor.  This allows them to discuss with someone more objective than you, the parent or relative, who may have a harder time communicating with someone within your own family.  This allows the person to seek out discussions of a religious or faith-nature that allow them to understand why their religion feels a certain way.  If they have a hard time with their pastor or can't get the pastor to discuss, calmly, then calling ahead to other churches who are similar to your own may help.

B.     Calling a local GALA(Gay and Lesbian Aliance/Association) or LGBT(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual) Group to find a local person who can talk to your child.  These are usually people who may have very good questions for your child so that they can do their own soul-searching on the matter.  They are also individuals who may have had to come out on their own and can relate to your daughter or son in a way that a parent who is straight, cannot.  Such as: bullying, comming out, discussions about faith experiences and acceptance and finally about telling parents or family members. 

C.     Contact a counselor who can discuss with your child their feelings in a way that the child or teen won't feel judged.  This allows the youth to speak very specifically about their feelings and discover more about why they feel the way they do and what their intentions are.  Did they have a dream, encounter, or simply a curiosity?

3. Finally, lay down the groud rules.  If you had a heterosexual teen for a child, would you let them make out on your couch in front of the TV?  If it's 'no' for a heterosexual teen, it should be the same for a homosexual teen.  The same goes for sexually educating your teen.  If you've felt it necessary to educate them about condom usage or other safety precautions, do not skimp on these solely because they are same-sex oriented.  STI's can be passed through homosexual union as with heterosexual union.  Keep your rules firm.  Keep informed about who they're dating and where they go as you would with any child.

I will be writing other articles about sexuality and youth, so please stay posted.

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Amanda McDonald
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