How Parents Can Be Supportive for LGBT Children?
Experts recommend these tips for helping your LGBT child:
- Protect privacy. Ask your child first before telling anyone else about his or her LGBT status. If you, as a parent, need to talk about this issue for your own mental health, then find a parent support group. But, don’t betray your child’s trust – it is most important to be respectful of what your child wants when it comes to information shared with friends, neighbours, and extended family members.
- Praise your LGBT child for coming to you to discuss this issue. Encourage the youth to continue to keep you "in the know." If your child turns to you to share personal information, you're must be doing something right! You are approachable. You're sending out consistent verbal and non-verbal cues that say, "Yes, I'll listen. Please talk to me!" Give yourself some credit—your GLBT child chose to come out to you. Congratulations!
- Explore the Internet. There is a growing amount of excellent information on the Internet that connects people with support and materials on these important topics. Three excellent Web sites are Youth Resource, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. For a diverse selection of links to a variety of LGBT sites, including education, family, health and wellness, and multiple identities
- Find out where your local Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meets. Many parents say that their connections with other parents of LGBT kids made a world of difference in their progress toward understanding their young people. Finding another person you can trust to share your experience with is invaluable. Many people have gone through similar things and their support, lessons learned, and empathy can be very valuable.
- Be on guard. Watch for behaviours that might indicate your child is a victim of bullying or he/she is depressed. If bullying, violence, or depression is suspected, parents should take immediate action, working with school personnel and seeking a professional counsellor.
- Work with your child’s school. All youth – whether LGBT or not – deserve to feel safe and accepted in school. Parents should request that schools implement the following policies and practices:
- Encourage respect for all students and prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence against all students.
- Identify “safe spaces,” such as counsellors’ offices, where LGBT youth can receive support from school staff.
- Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment. In particular, creating gay-straight alliances (which are school clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations) would be particularly helpful for an LGBT student.
Middle Earth: https://middleearthnj.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/challenges-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-or-transgender-lgbt-youth/
Advocates for Youth: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/parents/173-parents
The opinions expressed in Healthy Mind Online “Specialist Opinion” are solely those of the named Specialist, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Some information have been abridged from the mentioned sources. Nothing in the content should be considered, or used as a substitute for medical advice, psychiatric advice, diagnosis or treatment. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any medical, psychiatric nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. We advise users to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions regarding personal health, medical or psychiatric conditions.