Parenting LGBTQ Teens: The “Coming Out” Process
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Teens
The world can be a difficult place for teenage kids. Teens are faced with stereotypes, judgments, and harsh consequences in the real world. There’s also the struggle to deal with their own feelings of confusion and guilt, making it even more challenging for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) teens struggling to come out to family members or friends.
While the coming-out process can be filled with joy, celebration, and acceptance, many parents fail to realize that coming out does not always guarantee an easy time for LGBTQ teens. On the contrary, the process of coming out can often be a tough one, which can lead to all sorts of issues.
The Coming-Out Process for LGBTQ Teens
Coming out can be highly confusing for many teens. The struggle with gaining acceptance by family and friends is tough enough, but it can also be complicated when they struggle to learn how to deal with their sexuality.
For most LGBTQ teens, there’s a feeling of being ‘different’ from other kids around them. They’re beginning to realize they may be experiencing certain emotions they don’t feel they should have, or they’re noticing a pattern in their attractions that doesn’t fit in with perceived ‘normal’ behavior.
As teens are going through puberty and beginning to develop, it can lead to an internal struggle within themselves as well. They may be trying to accept who they are and come to terms with their own sexuality while also learning how to deal with the changes appearing in their bodies.
For many teens, discovering their sexual identity does not happen overnight. Instead, it often starts with small moments or actions the teen is aware of but doesn’t realize are the beginnings of a more significant revelation.
There may be times when the teen tries to act like the other kids around them or stop themselves from feeling the way they’re feeling inside. It’s common for LGBTQ teens to feel confusion and guilt because they don’t precisely know how to handle their feelings or come out.
In some cases, LGBTQ teens will try to deny or hide their sexuality to protect themselves. They may be afraid of what other people will think or fearful of answering questions about their identity.tural Serotonin Boosters
Finding Their Inner Strength
Parents should be aware that kids who come out often don’t do so because they actively want to ‘convert’ the world. In many cases, kids will come out simply because they want to know and accept who they are. They want the same thing any kid wants – love and acceptance from their family and friends.
Coming out can be an empowering experience for LGBTQ youth, who will learn to appreciate and celebrate their own diversity and individuality. They’ll learn to find the strength to deal with their feelings and begin to accept themselves for who they are.
For many teens, coming out isn’t about changing anything in the world around them – it’s about accepting who they are and appreciating all of the amazing things that make them unique. It becomes more about what you can do than what you cannot do with your identity.
Parenting LGBTQ Teens
There are several ways to show our children love during this time. But, at the root of it all, parents want to make sure that their child knows how important they are.
LBGTQ teens need to know that they are loved and that their parents support them always. Parents can show their children love in a variety of ways:
Show Your Support
LGBTQ kids need to know that their parents support them unconditionally. There’s nothing more important than showing them how much you care about who they are as a person without any judgment or preconceived notions about sexuality.
Be there to listen
As parents, we must be very understanding of what our children are going through. Children need a source of support and understanding in all of their experiences.
Let them know that they are loved and respected
They need to know that they can come to you whenever they want to talk about their feelings or emotions. You can be a great example of showing them how to deal with their identity and help them learn how to accept themselves for who they are.
Support your local LGBTQ youth organization
It’s essential for us as parents to show our children that there’s a supportive community out there for them. LGBTQ youth centers, support groups, and organizations can be a great source of immediate help for kids struggling with sexuality. In addition, there is nothing more important than a place where kids can feel safe and respected enough to discuss anything they want or ask questions they may have about their sexuality.
These places provide a forum where LGBTQ teens can get the answers they’re looking for and find others experiencing similar feelings and who understand what’s going on inside. For example, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) provides resources for gay youth and people who are struggling with their sexuality.
Get support for yourself
When the time comes, you may need both the physical and emotional support to help you better deal with what your child’s coming out process will be like – especially if you’re unable to accept their sexuality. If you’re having a hard time, it’s crucial to find people who can help you through the process, whether it be one of your gay and lesbian friends or a therapist.
Provide your LGBTQ teen support
It’s important to provide your child with resources that can help them learn how to deal with their sexuality and make sure they’re safe at all times. If you feel like your child may be struggling with their identity and needs help getting through this process, consider talking to a therapist who can help you give the love that your child needs at this point in their life.
Seeking LGBTQ Affirmative Psychotherapy
Washington Psychological Wellness is proud to provide LGBTQ counseling for children, adolescents, teens, and adults. Our clinicians provide a safe, non-judgmental, and affirming environment optimal for healing and growth.
Are you interested in seeking LGBTQ affirming therapy? Contact us now for a complimentary 15-minute initial consultation to see how therapy can help you today!