This article was published on July 19th, 2016
Coming out of the closest and openly admitting your sexuality can be a very daunting and frightening time. For some, it can be very difficult to predict the level of support they will be received with, for those unlucky among us they already know there won’t be any there. Hearing your child coming out as gay can also, for some parents, come as a big shock. It can be a difficult thing to know how best to support your child through this time of their life, so in order to give you a bit of a head start, here are seven things it is important to know when hearing your child come out.
- You’re not alone
All the feeling you have had have been had by other parents before, if you are struggling to know how best to move forward and support your child through this, check out these other HomoCulture stories:
- Coming out: how parents talk to their child about being gay
- The straight truth on coming out
- 10 questions to ask yourself before coming out
- Three things to say (and not say!) when someone comes out
- Five questions you should not ask your son about his sexuality
- It’s OK to ask questions
Chances are, if your child has had the courage to come out to you, they’ve done a lot of thinking about it. It’s OK to ask them questions, try to understand exactly what they’re saying, where it’s coming from and what they are trying to tell you. They’re telling you because they want you to understand, so do your very best to do so.
- Accept what they’re telling you
They aren’t asking your permission, they’re telling you who they are. For the sake of your future relationship don’t argue with it, the sooner you accept it the sooner you can move forward into a happier, healthier and more honest family relationship.
- Don’t out them to everyone
Just because they have come out to you doesn’t mean they want to come out to everyone, it can take time to build the confidence and courage to do so, make sure you understand where they want to maintain privacy.
- Support your child
Make sure your child knows that your love is unconditional and this doesn’t change that, make sure they know that you appreciate their honesty and you will do whatever you can to support them.
- Don’t judge
Whatever your personal beliefs or opinions are, you cannot and will not change a persons sexuality, hopefully you wouldn’t want to. Coming out if scary, the last thing your child needs is judgment. Listen with an open mind and accept what your child is telling you.
- Tell them you love them
This is a time in their life when they need love, make sure you tell them and keep telling them how much you love them, exactly how they are. They may ignore you and not want to listen but make sure they know and never forget that this doesn’t change how much you love them in the slightest.