Parents of gay children oftentimes face many of the same difficulties with the process of coming out that the children themselves do. If your child has recently come out or has been gay for a longer period of time, he'll likely appreciate and need all of the support that he can get from you. As a loving, caring parent, it is your responsibility to your child to support him in his life. Recognize that shaming, abandoning or other forms of intolerance from parents can be some of the most damaging and potentially dangerous things that can happen to a child. Read on for a few ways that you can support your child and his sexuality.
One of the most important things that you can do is to listen to your child. He may have a number of issues on his mind when he comes out, and he may want to discuss them. Alternately, he may want to provide you with only the basic information about his sexuality and leave it at that. One of the best things that you can do is to listen primarily. Take your cues from your child, and don't talk too much while he's going through this difficult, personal process.
When parents ask questions, children recognize the parents' interest in supporting them and learning about their lives. Ask questions about your child's feelings, his experiences, and how you can help to support him during what may be a very difficult time in his life.
Look for Resources Together
A child coming out can be a great bonding experience for that child and his parents. Without seeming too eager or overstepping your boundaries, talk to your child about ways that you can work with him to help find him resources, information or support groups. PFLAG is a national organization of parents who support their gay children. If appropriate, consider attending gay pride events with your child as well. Showing an interest in his life, no matter how his life may be, is an excellent way to show your child that you love and support him.
Avoid Hurtful Words
Regardless of your reaction to your child's coming out, it's crucial that you avoid using hurtful words or stereotypes when you interact with him. Do not assume anything about your child; his coming out is not a major change in who he is, but rather a natural progression of his self-discovery. Making assumptions, stereotypes, or using slang and hurtful terms can be especially damaging when it comes from a parent.
Coming out is not an easy process for a child or for a person of any age. The best thing that you can do to your child is treat him exactly as you have previously--as a kind, loving, supportive parent in every endeavor that he pursues. Consult with a counselor or a LGBT center for additional guidance.