Homosexuality is still today a taboo subject that we sometimes avoid to talk about with our children. It is however important to address the subject, simply to transmit values such as tolerance and acceptation, to inform your teenager on all sexual identities and to support your homosexual child, if necessary. You do not know how to do this? Here are a couple of tips.
When should you talk about homosexuality?
There is no ideal moment to talk about homosexuality with your teenager, when you feel ready will simply be the right time! Some parents may do this when having diner, and for example say “I watched a program yesterday on homosexuality and learned a lot! Have you ever heard of ‘conversion therapies’?
Another technique: you can clearly ask your child if he/she knows what homosexuality is and tell him/her that he/she can ask all of the questions he/she has on the subject. In this case, it is better to find a moment alone with your teenager, in a calm place. If your child seems ill at ease, you can simply ask him/her : “does talking about homosexuality make you uncomfortable?”
Whatever the way, do not feel ashamed if you do not have the answers to all of the questions. On the contrary, it is the occasion to show that you do not know everything! The most important is to show that you are open-minded and keep a positive attitude in order for your teenager to feel that he/she can talk to you when he/she needs to.
My teenager is homosexual, how do I react?
Your teenager may have done his/her coming-out, or you may have guessed or learned that he/she has a homosexual relationship. This may come as a shock for some parents, it may not be in line with your usual representations or may worry you if you are afraid that your child may be rejected by others. And it is sometimes not that simple to consider that your child may be attracted by a person of the same gender. Do not feel ashamed about what you feel, and do not hesitate to join associations or groups of parents that can help.
If you feel at ease and ready to talk with your teenager, do not be too abrupt, he/she may not want to for the moment. Try not to say something like : “We do not mind if you are gay!”
Your child’s sexual orientation id his/her own choice, and he/she must choose when and if he/she wants to talk about his/her love life. He/she must feel free to talk about it, so it is important that you show that you love him/her as he/she is and that you are there to listen, without being too intrusive.
Of course, society has evolved in a good way and people are more tolerant. However, revealing one’s sexual orientation is delicate if it does not correspond to what is considered to be the “heterosexual norm”. If your teenager has told you that he/she is homosexual, it is his/her call to announce this to other members of the family. Do not do this on his account, helop him/her if he/she asks you to, but let him/her manage his/her life. Trust him/her! Remember that the identity of a person is not limited to a sexual orientation and that this must not change anything in your relationship.
Moreover, homosexual teenagers are 4 times more exposed to suicide, therefore it is important to address the issue and to take things seriously.