A Little More for Parents, family, and friends
Before I start let me remind you that in no way am I a professional. Now on to bigger and better things.
Let’s start by talking about when a parent hears from a child about being transgender and or LBGTQ+. One of the key things that I’ve realized in the last few weeks is the first response truly matters. I’ve seen firsthand the hurt and harm that can be caused by not taking a bit to digest and rushing to a quick reaction rather than taking time to understand. To have a relationship severed because of quick judgement isn’t worth losing a child you love. Remember when I say child, age doesn’t matter whether the child is four or sixty. Probably the greatest response starts with three short words I LOVE YOU. As a parent you may need to go back to school so to speak and seek out the education of what your child is sharing. Sometimes if were quick with our words the harm and hurt can be extreme, but if we take a little bit of time hopefully the calm heads and thoughts can prevail. Taking the time to listen on both sides is exceptionally important to here each other out. Most of the time the child making the announcement has spent several hours, days, and years trying to understand the feelings they have inside. Understand these feelings aren’t anyone’s fault, and generally speaking, the feeling inside isn’t just made up because it’s a fad, or because someone encouraged it, or to spite the parents, or some other made up thing. Generally, this isn’t an overnight decision to acknowledge ones LBGTQ+ status. It’s very real that self-harm is a real possibility if someone is rejected especially from family, but you can eliminate this by reaffirming love and support as the situation is worked through. It should be noted that suicide rates go up to a super scary level when someone is rejected by family. When someone announces a change whether it’s in gender or sexual orientation the fear and emotions are super high. The fear of potentially loosing someone you love because of self-acceptance is exceptionally scary. No one is quite sure how the news will be received by their loved ones. Many times, we make presumptions about how a parent, family, or friend will react to the revelation of one’s acknowledgement of their true self. We fear for the worst and hope for a dream reaction of support. When I talk about harm it could be a rejection by either side and both sides need to listen, so things aren’t said one doesn’t really mean. Please take time and ask for a time-out to gather one’s thoughts and resume with a clear head. This goes for both sides again it’s important to remember this isn’t an overnight decision. Allow your kid to share their story as they see it. Ask the questions that concern safety, and deal with the other things as time goes by. If your child comes out to you as transgender one of the first things that is an issue might be pronouns and name. The name chosen by each person is chosen to match their current gender status. Realize the name may be a total shocker and if you respond in a hostile way it can close down communication super-fast. Although pronouns may be different from what is currently on a birth certificate the acknowledgement of a child’s pronouns as the gender, they currently identify with is again super important. While names and pronoun are important the reality is each person has their own story and journey. In no way shape or form is there a perfect way to share our information other than spitting it out and the timing will never be perfect. In our hearts we pick the time that feels right to acknowledge who we are inside. The journey of self-acknowledgement will continue no matter how much a parent tries to stop it or wishes it didn’t exist. There are a lot of things to fear in life and having an LBGTQ+ child shouldn’t be one of them. Oh, my gawd what do you say to the neighbors, family members, church family, and anyone else who feels like they need to speak up. The reality is if you respond I love my child and support my child most will just go about minding their own business. Leading others in how to respect your child is an action as a parent you can control most of the time. There are far worse things a child could do or be in life. A parent should let the child share their story as its their journey. Since it’s your child’s journey, ask them how they feel about you, sharing their story. As a parent you may have various concerns about sharing the news of your child’s journey to family especially parents. A discussion about sharing information can be discussed but remember once we make the decision to accept our true self most of us are giving up the hiding phase of our journey. Upon giving up our hiding status most will share what they choose about the journey. The choice to share is completely personal and each person’s path is different. Some people choose to tell everyone while others will remain somewhat hidden. Remember each person must write their own journey. All journeys are individual and the path, we follow is our own. What this means we each have different expectations of what or how were going to live our life. It’s super important not to make your own expectations of your kids’ journey. It’s really is ok to ask for a break to think through the reactions. Its super important to continue communications as this new chapter of your loved one’s journey begins. If you have questions remember to ask and listen. Communication whether verbal or written please just keep the door open while everyone is processing the new chapter of this journey. It maybe super helpful to seek out a support group, therapist or counselor. Thankfully you aren’t the first parent in the world to face this type of information. There are many fabulous groups for support and a lot of sharing stories can help one to understand. You may look online for information, but I encourage caution as this topic can possibly bring up sites that are a little on the wild side (pornographic) or maybe inaccurate. There is a wealth of information on the web covering all aspects of LBGTQ+ issues. The library has books which pertain to different aspects of LBGTQ+. Sometimes a friend of a friend can help if you find someone that is of the LBGTQ+ lifestyle. Time is always a challenge of patience. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope the love for your child can be forever strong.
A Little More For Parents