We can’t always prepare for the things our children will share with us, but it’s important that we do everything in our power to make sure our kids feel safe and loved no matter what they tell us. If your child has talked to you or another adult or child about their sexual or gender identity, it may be especially important to ensure you respond with understanding and acceptance. In this blog, we’ll talk a bit about how you can help your child as they explore their sexual and gender identity.
1 – Don’t Judge!
Your child is trying to understand themselves, and it’s very important that they felt safe and confident telling you about it. If they hear judgmental responses from you, the only likely response on their part is to stop coming to talk to you. If you’re upset or worried, talk to the other parent or another adult when your child is not present. Don’t make any issues you have with this situation your child’s issues. Express your love and support of them no matter what.
2 – Believe & Validate Their Experience
It can be difficult for parents of younger children to believe what their child says about their sexual or gender identity. Parents may have thoughts like, “They’re only a child; how would they even know about their sexual orientation or gender?” or, “They’ll grow out of this.” This is you trying to understand and come to terms with your child’s truth. It’s okay for you to have these thoughts, but your child should only hear you validate and affirm their experiences. Let them know you’ve heard them, and you believe them. Tell them you love them.
3 – Ask if They Have Questions & Work with Them to Find Answers
If your child is sharing this situation with you, the odds are good they feel overwhelmed and confused. They may have a lot of questions. Don’t feel like you need to answer all of their questions, but you can show your love and support by helping them find answers. Whether that means an online search or talking to a professional or someone in the LGBTQIA+ community, do whatever you can to help your child better understand and explore their emerging identity.
4 – Support Them in Finding Their Community
Speaking of communities, being in regular contact with people who share your child’s sexual or gender identity can help them feel more comfortable and confident. These people can also help your child find answers to questions as they continue exploring their newfound identity. They can also ensure your child feels safe and connected. We all want and need a community. Encourage your child to find theirs.
5 – Make Their Sexual & Gender Identity Part of Your Life
Heterosexual relationships are overwhelmingly what is seen on TV, in movies, in books, and through other media representations. Work to seek out diverse and inclusive media for your family, so your child can see good representations of the many different types of relationships.
Want to Talk with a Professional?
If you or your child need support, the Lotus Psychology Group team is here to help. We make getting started working with us quick and easy. Just take a few moments to give our office a call at (248) 957-8973, email email@example.com, or fill out our online inquiry form.