Supporting Your LGBTQIA+ Child
The day your child comes out to you is an emotional day for both of you. Whether you had a feeling all along, or the news was a surprise, the most important thing for you to do is to listen, accept them for who they are, and do your best to be there for them. By seeking out resources and information, you are already showing supportive, loving actions.
Byard recommends an “openhearted” approach to discussing LGBTQ identity with a child.(See reference below). First, if that young person thinks they’re LGBTQ, they might bring up a related subject to test your level of tolerance and acceptance. By seeing your own openness to the conversation, they’ll feel a greater level of safety and security, says Byard. Moreover, when parents and caregivers set a compassionate and empathetic example, it helps children model that behavior. Byard says it’s particularly important for parents of heterosexual and cisgender kids to make clear that discrimination and violence aren’t acceptable behaviors. Your level of comfort and the language you use with a child can reinforce or diffuse negative and potentially dangerous stereotypes of LGBTQ people.For parents who may not be prepared to have these conversations because of personal or religious beliefs, Byard says it’s “absolutely critical” to a child’s well being that you let them know they’re loved, even if you don’t agree with their sexuality or identity.
What Do We Do?
At Childhood Health Associates of Salem, our Behavioral Health Consultants work with your child’s PCP to provide behavioral strategies to help manage symptoms that may occur. This can include learning relaxation skills, managing effects of bullying, symptoms of depression / anxiety as well as gender questioning / curiosity and supporting the patient, and patients family through this process.