If you have ever come across the words ‘I’m gay’ coming from a son or a daughter, the announcement probably came with an entire catalog of extreme emotions. Parents feel shock, disbelief, anger and most often guilt for what their child has grown up into. Why did this happen? Where did we fail? And how do we as loving parents respond to our child's proclaimed homosexuality?
Most parents tend to think it’s their faulty when their gay child comes out of the closet. They feel guilty about their son or daughter’s sexual orientation. They feel that the reason they are being faced with such difficult circumstances is that they have not been good enough parents to their child. They may feel hurt by their child’s announcement but they should remember it’s not something they have done ‘to’ them.
Responding to Your Child’s Homosexuality with Love
It can be difficult to respond to a situation like this when you are suddenly hit by a cyclone of emotions. Give yourself some time for the reality to sink in. When you have come to terms with the reality, it is time to respond to your kid’s homosexuality. Make sure you know it is not your fault they are gay. And neither is it theirs. Good parenting doesn’t determine if a child is gay or straight. So your parenting techniques are not to blame and neither is your gay kid.
Stephen Afterburner, a psychologist, says many parents withhold love and affection because they are afraid to seem approving of the gay lifestyle. The truth is your child does not need approval of any kind. That’s how he is and has finally mustered up the courage to ‘come out’. The only thing he needs is your unconditional love at this time. This is just going to make a difficult situation worse. Remember that acceptance is not the same thing as approval. Acceptance means acknowledging what is true. It does not mean you must compromise your convictions about what constitutes right and wrong, nor does it mean you condone homosexual behavior and practices.
Why Do They Need Your Love at This Time?
Chances are that your son or daughter has wrestled long and hard to confess that they're gay to you. They have already been judged and rejected at school and they are bracing for your reaction now. That’s why it becomes all the more important for you to tell them how much you love them and they are valued no matter what.