All parents should be aware that adolescence is a confusing time, especially teens that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Coming out for LGBT adolescents can be just as daunting for them as it is for their friends and family.
It is important for parents to create a safe environment for their child since they will be facing hardships from peers, friends, and online bullies. Coming out is just one step in the process, and parents should remember that their child fears rejection because they are different from their friends and peers at school.
Parents should invite emotions and expression from their child, encourage questions, and provide an open dialogue to support their child at this crucial point in their life. As a parent you can help your child by staying calm, being supportive and patient, letting him or her see that you understand, exploring your various issues and community resources, considering family therapy, and addressing all the questions you have about the LGBT community.
Remember, you may need just as much education about LGBT issues as your child, so seeking therapy is a tremendous first step toward having an open and honest dialogue with your teen.
Adapted from “Coming Out: A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Your Gay Teen” by John Sovec.