When Your Kid Comes Out: 5 Tips for Parents

Clifton It’s tough to comfortably grow into your own skin in today’s society. For some, it’s even tougher to go home and be yourself without having to hide your true identity. For 23 years, I struggled with accepting the fact that I liked the same sex. Throughout those years, I noticed a handful of things that would’ve made the journey less frightening for me but one stuck out the most–my parents. It’s not easy being LGBTQ and it may not be easy for parents of an LGBTQ individual. Through the stories of struggling youth that write to me daily, I have compiled five basic things that can help you as a parent, better help your son or daughter through accepting their own identity if they have just come out to you.

1. Listen.

It is difficult to express your feelings when we are taught that having romantic feelings for the same sex is wrong. That is why coming out to your parents and life teachers can be one of the hardest things to do. Let your son or daughter know that they can come talk to you at any given time about anything on their mind, no matter the topic. The important thing here is not to push it. Just give them that sense of security that they can come talk to you without being judged. When they come to you, listen to them and allow them to openly express themselves. It’s tough being in the closet and many of us tend to isolate ourselves and hide our true emotions. Give us some time to dig for those feelings but, with your unconditional support and unconditional love, we will get there. 

2. Stay away from calling it a phase and naming it a choice. 

If there is one thing I have heard over and over again, it is that homosexuality is a choice. That tends to be one of the things that stings the most. I can assure you that if being homosexual was a choice, every single individual that is LGBTQ and has struggled with it would opt out the second they were given the choice. No one wakes up wanting to take on hate, discrimination, name calling, and unnecessary judgment. Your son or daughter would not deliberately put themselves through hours of lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, beating themselves up constantly trying to be accepted by themselves and loved ones. No one wants to go through that pain. Likewise, it is not something you could call a phase, like the one year all you wore were bell bottoms or had the same hairdo. If it were something we could collectively call a phase, we wouldn’t worry as much as we do about being LGBTQ in the first place. 

3. Ask Questions.

Don’t ignore the fact that your kid has come out to you. Ask as many questions as you need to without harshly grilling your son or daughter. Do your best to stay calm and really try to understand him or her. As we all know, it’s all about communication. The communication between you and your kids is incredibly important, especially when it comes to something as serious as talking about their true identity. Many of those who are opposed to same-sex love are simply uneducated when it comes to the topic. There is nothing wrong with not knowing the first thing about a certain topic- -that is why we need to educate others. If there are questions that he or she may not want to answer at the moment, let them slide. Don’t assume that just because they are LGBTQ they want the entire world to know either. Ask how they feel about that and find out if that is something they would like to keep from certain family members or friends for the time being. Opening up to your parents isn’t exactly easy every step of the way. Be aware that there are some answers that you may not want to hear, but it is part of the process of learning how to better understand your son or daughter. 

4. Don’t blame yourself, your kid, or anyone else for their sexual or gender identity.

Parents will often blame themselves for not teaching their children certain things or putting an end to it when they noticed their child was unique. Or maybe it was a divorce that made them that way or bad parenting or today’s media, TV shows, etc. No one has any fault in this. No one has influenced your son or daughter to be LGBTQ. Like I mentioned before, it is not something we choose nor catch, like the common cold.  

5. Tell them you love them.

Many parents don’t realize the importance of saying “I love you.” The power behind your parents telling you that they love you no matter what, especially after just confessing your deepest, darkest secret to them, is actually incredibly healing. That is what we need. We need unconditional support and unconditional love, most importantly from you. You deserve to take your time coming to terms with the fact that your son or daughter is LGBTQ but it doesn’t change who they are. This is just another marvelous quality about them and it shouldn’t influence your love for them. That being said, if you feel you do need some time to process, please express that to your child. The communication will help put things in perspective and let your child know you are putting in the effort. 

Parents, you are the ones we don’t ever want to disappoint and having your unconditional love and support means the world to us. Forming a stronger bond with your kids can help stop bullying, self-harm and suicides, not just in the LGBTQ community but all around. This goes for every parent out there because teaching your kids about respect towards everyone goes a long way. It all starts at home. 

Stacy Solis
Stacy is a regular contributor to and a Learning Ambassador for their Master Classes, an initiative to get vetted health and parenting information in the hands of all women. She is also an LGBTQ YouTuber devoting the majority of her time creating advice videos to help the LGBTQ community in hopes that she can inspire anyone struggling, with her personal story. Her passion derives from being that voice for those that are and feel voiceless. Check out her YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story and your advice for parents, Stacy!

  2. Caroline Coelho says:

    Thank you for writing this amazing text. It touched my heart. It would be great if my parents reach like that.

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