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Wrap Your Head Around the News

May 28, 20244 min read

My new book, Parenting with Pride: Unlearn Bias and Embrace, Empower, and Love Your LGBTQ+Teen is finally here, and I could not be more proud! This book is ultimately a gorgeous tapestry, weaving together stories, lessons learned along our journey, peer-backed research, and proven tips and strategies. Over the next several months I plan to offer small excerpts through my blog and on LinkedIn to give you a peek at the content. Enjoy!

Parenting with Pride book cover

Wrap Your Head Around the News

So your child has just told you they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, or another sexual orientation or gender identity. Unless this has been obvious for a while, the announcement was probably a bit of a surprise.

The First Feelings and Words

I have found that one of three things immediately happen here, usually subconsciously: The movie reel that you have been keeping in your head—you know, the one that started the day your little one was born, not only recording current events but predicting future ones based on likes and dislikes, habits, personality, etc.—that movie reel explodes. As parents, we are left rather stunned and unsure of what to do next, so in that moment we simply decide to ACCEPT, PANIC, or REJECT.

There are different combinations and expressions of feelings that a parent may have when they learn their child is LGBTQ+. There are a million ways we were raised, different environmental factors (such as where we live, where we work, where our kids go to school, etc.), access to education, and varying internal factors (such as core beliefs, mental health, spirituality, religion, etc.) which influence our initial reaction.

As I already shared [earlier in the book], Steve and I were completely blindsided when Connor came out to us. I cried for days . . . but not for the reasons you may think. I cried because I wasn’t physically with him during that moment; because I was beginning to connect all of the dots of his pain; because my movie reel had just exploded; because I had no idea how to help him; because my heart and intuition were in direct conflict with what I learned growing up. It was a lot.

Remember, your child is responding to and processing a lot of feelings too! They are not only dealing with their own challenges, questions, and feelings, but, now that they’ve shared they are LGBTQ+, they are also dealing with your reactions and emotions.

This is SO important. Please be aware of what you are expressing to your child. It’s not their job to manage your feelings. You are both human. Be gentle with where each of you are in this process.

Connor has been a guest on my podcast, Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen, several times. He has shared pieces of his journey, as well as insight into what our teens are thinking and needing from us. I don’t think any of us are immune from saying the wrong thing or wishing we knew how to say the right thing, so I asked Connor to share a list of what to say and what not to say. Here are just a few.

WHAT NOT TO SAY WHEN YOUR CHILD COMES OUT TO YOU :

•Are you sure?

•This is a lot for me to take in/handle.

•This breaks my heart.

•How do you know?

•You’re young; this is probably just a phase.

•We need to have a discussion about this.

•I can’t believe my son/daughter/child is gay (or lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any other sexual orientation or gender identity).

•I always knew you weren’t straight.

•I always knew you weren’t normal.

DO SAY :

•Thank you for being comfortable enough to share that with me.

•That takes a lot of courage.

•I’m proud of you.

•I see you.

•My love for you is unconditional; this changes nothing.

•How can I best support you in this process?

•Is this something you’ve shared with others? I don’t want to say anything to anyone you haven’t told yet.

The only way forward is to be willing to be curious. Curiosity is the antidote to judgment. This first step may take a few hours, a few days, or a few months. Take the time now to process. This is not a sprint; it’s a journey. And a journey implies a long and winding trip.

If you like this tiny excerpt from Parenting with Pride, you can look for it at your local bookseller (and request it if it isn't on the shelves!) or order it online on Amazon or your favorite online bookseller.

coming out of the closetlgbtqgayparenting
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