LGBTQ+ acceptance in society is very crucial in the growth and development of a child. Parents’ approval of LGBTQ+ children is crucial, just like their heterosexual peers from their parents, as it ensures their safety and health. However, the parents of these children sometimes don’t realize this, which affects the children emotionally.
The lack of acceptance of LGBTQ+ children makes them face some unique problems, including health disparities, suicide attempts, higher risks of depression, and drug/ substance abuse. Nevertheless, you can avoid this by loving and accepting your children in their state, ensuring your support, and encouraging them while affirming good behaviors. These can overall promote the mental wellness of your LGBTQ+ child.
In this article, we will focus on why you should accept your LGBTQ+ kid and what you can do to the child to affirm that you accept them in your home.
Reasons Parents’ Acceptance of LGBTQ Childen Matters
Many parents believe having an LGBTQ+ child is wrong and lowers their dignity in society. They give up on their children, thinking they cannot handle them anymore. However, acceptance and rejection of a child by their parents play a crucial role in the child’s health and mental wellness.
Child LGBTQ+ status shouldn’t be a reason to develop implications for a child’s health and mental well-being. Children rejected by their parents and families experience various challenges, including:
- Abandoned LGBTQ+ children are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual colleagues
- They are three times more likely to begin using drugs
- Abandoned LGBTQ+ teens are six times more likely to experience anxiety and depression
- LGBTQ+ teens are more likely to engage in unprotected sex practices
On the other hand, acceptance of these children by their parents helps them to:
- Build and raise their self-esteem
- Improve social support and values
- Improve mental and health wellness
- Decreased suicidal thoughts
- A decline in depression levels
- Decrease in rates of drug and substance use
Parent’s Acceptance of LGBTQ Children – How to React to Your LGBTQ+ Child?
When a parent discerns that their child is LGBTQ+, they usually develop conflicting feelings.
In some instances, they reject their child, sending them away from home. Others accept the status of their child and even celebrate their identity. Some may support and express love to the child, unsure if they should reject or accept the kid. Most parents develop to accept the child’s identity with time.
Cultural beliefs, norms, and faith determine whether to accept the child. Depending on any of the determinants, here are most parents’ concerns:
- What did I do to deserve this?
- Will my child produce?
- Will my child suffer discrimination and disrespect?
- What will people say?
- Will my child accept their status and sexual identity?
Some everyday worries you may develop that are primarily out of concern. However, they may also appear to be signs of rejection to your child, considering that you are the parent. The best thing is to accept their identity without worries, as this will positively impact the child’s growth. If you accept your LGBTQ+ child, they develop a positive attitude, which helps them achieve their life goals like anyone else.
Reactions to show you accept your LGBTQ+
- Ask your child about their feelings and experiences and how you can support them.
- Tell and show them how you love and value them.
- Listen to them keenly whenever they share anything with you
- Join LGBTQ+ family support clubs like Gender Spectrum, PFLAG, and Gender Odyssey and learn together with your child
- Getting involved with your child’s friends and romantic friend
- Defending your child from discrimination and poor treatment by others
- Finding a role model and a mentor for your LGBTQ+ child
- Support LGBTQ+ children’s gender expression
On the other hand, rejection behaviors to avoid with your child include:
- Punishing and blaming your LGBTQ+ kid
- Discouraging your child from expressing their gender and sexual identity
- Not defending them when they are bullied
- Preventing them from engaging with their heterosexual counterparts
- Asking your child to be more or less feminine and masculine
- Restricting your child from accessing LGBTQ+ resources and topics
- Threatening your child
- Not associating them with events they want
How Can Parents Learn to Accept their LGBTQ+ Kids More?
As seen, parents of LGBTQ+ children may have a tough time not knowing whether to accept their child or not. It is especially the case because only a few parents are educated on issues to do with sex and gender identity. The following are some of the additional ways to ensure your child feels loved while making them grow well:
- Listen to your child without judging.
As a parent, you should learn to communicate openly with your child. These not only show acceptance to them but also helps develop trust in you. If you rush to judge them, they feel undermined and view themselves as unimportant.
- Ensure the safety of your child
LGBTQ+ children suffer a lot of insecurities mainly due to poor treatment and discrimination from their heterosexual peers. They handle hostility since they remain unwelcomed, which damages and retard your child’s growth. It helps to advocate for policies to favor LGBTQ+ children in schools and any setting you may take your child to. Ensure your child is guaranteed mental comfort and can relate with others freely.
- Let your child tell their status if they want to
Most parents take telling others about the status of their child as a shame. They think their family’s dignity is lowered and disrespected if they do so. However, it is worth noting that this might be a great relief for you and your child. If your child is willing to tell their trusted fellows about their identity, let them take the lead. Usually, they will do this to a person they have mutual understanding and one who can support and help them. It is also a sign of acceptance as the child can express themselves with no restriction showing them they are valued too.
Parents’ Acceptance of LGBTQ Children – Conclusion
In this article, we have seen how parent acceptance of their LGBTQ+ children matter in their lives. It is now clear how crucial it is to accept your child in the status they are in for their health and mental wellness. LGBTQ+ rejected children are bound to experience more hardships than their heterosexual peers. A good parent-child relationship can only be built if parents accept their children, including LGBTQ+, without considering their gender and sexual identity.