Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
10 Ways Parents Can Support Their LGBTQ+ Youth After Coming Out
Published Feb 23rd, 2021 & updated on Mar 19th, 2021
So, your kid is part of the Queer Community. That’s dope!! It sounds like they’re prettyyyy awesome. If you’re not part of the Queer Community or aren’t that involved with it, you’re most likely reading this article because you aren’t quite sure how to support your child after coming out to you. But we think you’re pretty dope too, because you’re here to learn!
You probably have a lot of emotions whirling around, or you’re totally chill. Either way, we’re going to give you some tips on how to support your newly Queer kiddo!
Tell Them You Love Them
This is the most important thing that you can do for your kid. Coming out is a maaaaaajor life event for some people! They were probably really worried that you wouldn’t love and accept them anymore.
We know that you care about your kid, so show them that you’ll love them unconditionally and forever. They need you right now because they’re probably feeling really vulnerable and raw. Your support means the world to them, especially right now!
Talk To Them
Keep that line of communication open! Let them know that they can go to you for anything they need. If there ever comes a time when they’re going through some really hard shit (hopefully that won’t happen, but it’s better to be prepared), they’ll know that they can trust you for guidance and support.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions too! Keep learning through them and work to understand how they need you to support them during this new stage of their life.
There is a lot to learn about the Queer Community! We won’t lie to you! But it’s important that you do your homework on Queer issues, Queer history, different gender and sexual identities, and the emotional state of Queer people before and after they come out.
Learn as much as you can! If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your kid. They’ll probably be really excited to teach you allll about themselves! But if they don’t, that’s okay. They’re probably still learning too.
Respect Their New Identity
Your child’s new identity might mean that they identify with a specific sexual orientation or a new gender (or no gender at all). They might even go by a new name or use a new set of pronouns.
It might be hard for you to adjust to at first, but even though it might be a tough transition, keep working towards it. Your child deserves to be respected. Practice your kid’s new pronouns! Do some research on their sexual identity! Honestly, respect can also be as simple as showing no judgement towards them and the choices they make. Just frickin’ love your kid!
Connect Them With A Queer Mentor
If you are straight and cisgender, you probably won’t know or understand the experiences of your Queer child, and that’s ok! Unfortunately, you can’t be an expert on everything even though you might want to be. That’s why you should look into connecting them to a mentor who is also part of the Queer Community!
This mentor could help your child through some experiences that are totally foreign to you. For example, dating a person of the same gender might not be something that you know how to navigate. There are a million dating apps for Queer people, and you might not even know what those dating apps are called! Isn’t Bumble something a bee does?
Validate Their Feelings
Even though you might not understand what they’re going through and experiencing, let them know that it’s totally fine for them to feel how they’re feeling. Whether their emotions have to do with gender dysphoria, heartbreak, or questioning their sexuality, let them know that it’s ok to feel this way!
Don’t negate or push down their experiences because that will be soooo painful for them. Validate how they feel and remind them that you’re there with them every step of the way.
Listen To Them
This tip kind of goes along with validating their feelings. Listening to your kid can make a world of a difference. Talking out problems can feel sooo cathartic and can help a person dive thru their problems.
Let them cry on your shoulder or vent to you about their day. Just be there to support them with a judgement-free and open ear. You can also encourage them to practice self-care after coming out, which can help them process all the emotions and feelings they’re feeling.
Respect Their Boundaries
As a parent to a newly Queer kid, you probably are really curious or concerned with how they will be living their life moving forward. You might want to be involved in everythinggg to make sure that they’re safe and happy, and that’s totally ok! But, at the same time, you’re going to have to respect their boundaries.
You can absolutely show a healthy interest in their life, but don’t pry or be overbearing. Don’t smother them or become a helicopter parent because they definitely won’t appreciate that!
If you’re wondering how to look after your kid and be respectful of their space, ask them! Have a conversation about boundaries and what you can do to be involved in their lives while still letting them live theirs.
Let Them Express Themselves
You might not like what we’re about to say, but we’re going to say it anyway! Let your kid express themselves through their appearance. This means supporting them if they want to change their hair colour, dress a certain way, change their style, start a new hobby, whatever!
You might not love that they want to do this, but this process is allll about self-discovery. Let them find who they are through the expression of their outer self.
Don’t Tease Them (And Stand Up For Them When Others Do)
Even though you might have a fun and jokey relationship with your kid, try to not tease them about their new identity. Obviously, we don’t know the inner workings of your family dynamic, but if your kid has recently come out, it might still be a sensitive topic.
If someone bullies your child or teases them in any way, stand up for them! Protect them and make sure that they know they can count on you to help them stand up to people who display prejudice and hate.
You’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed, and we totally get it! It’s a lot to take in all at once. But we know that you’re a great parent. How can we tell? Because you’re reading this article! You clearly want the best for your child and so do we. If you do these 10 things, your kid will definitely love and appreciate you for it. Now, go give them a hug!