Having a child come out as LGBTQ can come as a surprise, especially for parents that do not know how to react. We sat down with Dr. Julie Hanks to learn the do’s and don’ts of handling the conversation.
Dr. Hanks said the Family Acceptance Project found that supportive family reactions to a youth coming out “promote well-being and help protect LGBTQ young people from risky behaviors.” Negative reactions by family members can have a serious impact on a LGBTQ young person’s risk for physical and mental health problems, including increased risk of suicide.
Dr. Hanks said to show love and acceptance to your LGBTQ child and thank them for trusting you. Ask your child what kind of support they need and provide that support system. Lastly, become an LGBTQ ally and welcome your child’s LGBTQ friends.
On the flip side, there’s what not to do according to Dr. Hanks. Do not ignore it or tell your child it is a phase because, “you wouldn’t tell a heterosexual child that it is a phase. It makes no sense.” Do not reject or shun your child for coming out as LGBTQ and do not use religion to shame them. When your child comes out, it is not about you or what you believe, it is about them. Lastly, do not let others tease or belittle your child for coming out as LGBTQ.
Overall, you need to be there for your child during the process of coming out as LGBTQ. To seek professional help, visit wasatchfamilytherapy.com or call 801-944-4555.