Being a teenager is hard. Being a gay teen is harder, given the unfortunately negative stigma at high schools around homosexuals. In high school, it is always hard to be different from whatever standard might dictate social life.
As a parent, it is important for you to be there for your child and avoid feeling pity if things are not as smooth as you might hope for them to be. All you can do is support your teen by being receptive when he or she approaches you seeking advice or comfort. The thing about familial love is that it should be unconditional.
Kids In The House understands the stresses some parents face when it comes to raising a gay teenager. One expert featured on the site, Brian Pinero, is the director of the National Dating Abuse Helpline, the advocacy service provider behind loveisrespect.org. In his video, Fearing Your LGBTQ Child is in an Abusive Relationship , he talks about the importance of starting a conversation with your child and making sure that he/she knows that you care about them. To start the dialogue, it is paramount to ask, “What’s going on in your relationship?”
Pinero has another video on Kids In The House that helps parents understand how to interact with LGBTQ youth. In this segment, he stresses that both the child and the parent feel pressure during this coming of age process, so working these challenges out together will reap better rewards.
Another expert, Traci Cummings, characterizes herself as the ‘unconventional mother.’ She is a mother of two and believes heavily in open communication with both of her children. If they have a question about sexuality or dating, she will answer it candidly. In her video, How to Discuss Gender and Sexual Orientation with Kids, she talks about how she has always been honest with her kids, especially when it comes to her dating life.
Cummings dates both men and women and feels an obligation to make sure her actions are transparent. This openness on Cummings’ side shows her children that she would not judge them in a reverse situation.
Ultimately, raising a happy gay teen who is looking to date depends on a parent's willingness to communicate, listen and internalize without judgement.
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About Traci Cummings
Traci Cummings is a divorced, self-described unconventional mom of two children, ages seven and five. When she isn't preparing meals, cleaning up or playing card games with her children, she is busy trying to spread the word about babywearing. Traci – who is a strong advocate of breastfeeding, the family bed and instinctual parenting – believes her children are the teachers providing daily lessons to further her practice as a parent.