If you think your teen is gay you may be worried about how best to support them as they try and figure out who they are.
Most parents have a good idea if their teenager is gay whereas others may not and that’s fine. But if you think they are, it is a good idea to find out how you can support your teenager and let them know that you are there for them.
A teenager has a lot going on in their minds and their sexuality shouldn’t be something that they feel under pressure about. If they know you are there for them, it will make the process easier.
Talk it out.
A good place to start is to talk to your teenager. Some parents find it hard to bring the subject up and a lot of teens won’t want to talk about it, but it is important that you open the door to discussion.
Even if it goes nowhere, your teen will know you are there for them when they do want to talk about it. Thinking your teen is gay or actually knowing they are is completely different, so it is good to have that conversation.
Accept that your teen may not want to answer your questions and they may be finding it hard to figure out if they are gay or bisexual, etc. When you want to broach the subject with your teenager, pick a time when they have your full attention as if they do want to talk, it probably won’t be a short conversation. If it helps take your teenager out for the day so they are away from household distractions.
Talk to your teenager about LGBTQ+ before reassuring them that you are there for them regardless of their sexuality. Your teen may know this, but they can’t hear this enough as they need to know you are on their side and proud of them regardless of their sexuality. Talk to your teen about their feelings and how they might be worrying – ask them can you help in any way.
If your teen is still saying they don’t know if they are gay, remind your teen that they don’t have to label themselves just yet and that it’s ok to figure it out in time. There is no pressure and your teen should know that they don’t have to make those decisions right away.
Take time to go through what being gay means to your teen and how they think it will affect their life. This is the time when you remind them that your relationship will remain the same and that you and your family are with them.
If your teen realises they are gay, then offer to support them in telling others and if there may be some bad comments from others, promise to deal with that with them.
Your teen needs to know that the people they love most in the world are going to stand beside them if they are gay. Remember, not all teens find it easy to ‘come out’ whereas others will be more confident and self-assured about their life.
If your teen is not sure about ‘coming out’ then they may need more time and that’s ok. Teens who are gay or are confused by their sexuality carry a lot of stress on their shoulders, feeling like they are different from everyone around them. Now is the time to tell your teen they are who they are and they are your child and you love them.
Be the support to them and offer to help in any way that you can. When your teen decides to admit to themselves that they are gay and begin to want to share that news with others, get all the family involved in supporting them. That’s exactly what your teen needs.