I am frequently asked by parents, “What can I do when my child comes out?”
How a mom or dad behaves during the moments when a child comes out as gay to his parent(s) can be critical to sustaining an ongoing relationship with the child. This is true whether the child is underage or an adult.
Unfortunately, these conversations are emotionally highly charged, the parents are often blind-sided, and any misstep can confirm the child’s conviction that he is unloved or unlovable. What transpires in this conversation will reverberate through your relationship with your kid, for just about ever.
(If you have already had this conversation, and it didn’t go well, forget all the import I put on you in the first paragraph. Forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you made in that encounter, and start from where you are now.)
Here are five things to do in this first conversation. In subsequent posts, I will elaborate on each point.
- Rein in your own feelings, and sublimate them to the needs of your child.
- Immediately affirm your love for your child, and his goodness as a person, and as a child of God.
- Remind him (or her) that God loves him (or her).
- Acknowledge his feelings.
- Establish this conversation as the first in an on-going series.
- Gently ask questions.