Top 4 Tips To Come Out To Your Loved Ones (Part One)
Your child has just come out, and you don’t know how to react? Have you just come out, or are you planning to come out? Is it difficult for you to talk about it with your parents? Are they uncomfortable with the subject, perhaps even awkward or even rejecting it?
After reading it, you may want to have your parents read it too… One idea, among others, is to facilitate your exchanges with them. So, your child has come out, as we say, that is to say, that he/she has “come out of the closet”, telling you that he/she feels gay, lesbian, bi, trans or in questioning (we also say LGBTQIA+).
You may feel happy that he or she has shared this part of him or herself with you, but you certainly have questions or concerns or simply don’t know what will happen next. Coming out can be tricky, and we, all parents and children alike, wish we could adjust some of the reactions or responses we’ve experienced early in the process. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of our tips to help you through your child’s coming out.
1. Discuss how to tell others
It is possible that you are comfortable enough to talk to your family about your child’s gender identity or romantic orientation, but it is equally possible that your child has not reached this point in his or her coming out. Perhaps he or she wants to tell the whole family, but not their friends? Maybe he or she is comfortable telling others, but only if he or she does it. Or maybe he or she wants to tell everyone, but you are not ready?
There are many possibilities, but it is very important to talk about it with him or her first. There is no other way to find out what he or she wants than to ask them directly. Don’t be afraid; to be honest, and express how each of you feels, and chances are you’ll come to a mutual understanding. If you need a few weeks (or months) to feel more comfortable before telling the family, it’s best to say so directly and explain why; likewise, if your child needs time, it’s essential to give it.
2. What to avoid: stating things outright
It can be very easy to imagine what your child’s gender identity or romantic orientation means to him or her as a person. However, it’s best not to assume anything. For example, it’s best to refrain from predicting what he or she will wear, where he or she will date, or who he or she will fall in love with. Rather than making assumptions, we recommend that you ask him or her questions.
Of course, you won’t get answers to everything, but asking questions is always better than making assumptions and dismissing the discussion completely. Your child’s sexuality or gender identity is not an indication of all of his or her preferences or choices; it is simply a very complex part of his or her personality!
3. Teaching them to protect themselves
Education about safe sex practices (safe sex, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases), especially about safe sex practices specific to gay, bisexual, or transgender people, is generally ill-equipped. Even if your child’s school is educated in this area, most young people pay attention to what their parents tell them about sex (even hiding their heads in their hands or rolling their eyes).
In fact, safe sex is the same topic regardless of gender, although sometimes there are a few extra things to know. The most important thing is to be well informed about all the safe sex practices and then figure out how to pass that information on to your child.
4. Telling them you love them
Your child will hear you; you can be sure- we know this because they tell us they need to hear it. You can never, ever tell him or her this enough. Even if he or she rolls his or her eyes and wants to run away because it’s so embarrassing, don’t hesitate to say it as often as necessary. Over and over again.
Finally, coming out is a difficult experience for all of us- we are human, after all, and we may do or say things that we later regret. But what you will always keep, though, is the relationship with your child. Reminding them that you love them every step of the way can only do them good.
Sound off in the comments section below, and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about coming out.