How You Might Feel
While for some people it is not a surprise to learn a child is LGBT+, and you may find it affirming that they have told you and feel 100% supportive of them, it can be surprising for some people, and you may find you need to go on a journey towards acceptance.
How we feel about a child coming out to us is likely to be shaped by our own life history, our culture, the media, our own family background and whether we have had contact with LGBT+ people in our daily lives. It is important to listen to the child directly, whilst acknowledging that whether it feels okay to you or not, they might have different emotions to you. Try not to assume how they might feel.
A good way to start this may be:
‘Thank you for sharing that with me, how do you feel about it? What do you want or need from me?’
You can find more tips on how to support a child you comes out you to here.
If you feel you need some time to process the news then please do this privately, away from the child. It is not their responsibility to help process your emotions while they are also processing their own.
There may be different stages on your journey to acceptance, everyone is different. It is completely usual for many people to experience some or all of the feelings outlined below as this may feel like a big change for you and your family.
It’s important to remember that being LGBT+ does not mean life will be worse for your child; they are still able to achieve everything they aspire to and, if they choose to, they can have loving relationships and a family of their own. Whether it be consciously or unconsciously, you may have dreamt and imagined a particular life for your child that will now look a little different, related to the fact they are LGBT+. Their life may be a different one to the one you had presumed for them, but this is true for many children and for many reasons. Different is not bad, it is just different.
Be aware that the members of your family may experience some of these feelings too and at different speeds, so there may be some tensions in your home. Try and support one another through this journey and remember that your LGBT+ child is not at fault in any way, they are only being truthful about who they are.Please click on the following boxes for examples of how you and others may feel.