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4D0D0Bad3Be7E54Eeb489560Ad352F4F The First Seven Things To Do When Your Child Comes

Throughout their entire life, you have worked with your child through many big feelings and events, from the first day of school to mending broken bones and bruised hearts. Depending on how old they are, chances are you’ve developed a proper rejoinder to nearly every situation. Yet there are some moments you’re not prepared for but are critical for you to get right.

For instance, there may come a time when your child is confident enough to share with you that they are LGBTQ+. While your world will change after this moment, your love for your kid will not. But you might be unsure of how to respond: These are the first things you should do and express if your child comes out to you.

Say, “Thank you for sharing this with me.”

Your son or daughter must trust you enough to share this intimate part of themselves, so if you’re searching for the right words to say, showing gratitude for their confidence in you and that you’ll help them in this new chapter in their life is a great place to start. As Dr. Becky Kennedy, author of the book Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, shared in a recent Instagram post, “It is an opening of a door, a point of new connection, a strengthening of a relationship.”

Remember that this moment is about them, not you

Being a parent, you’re obviously going to have a number of feelings about what your child shared with you. Yet how you feel shouldn’t be your focus during this moment. In an article in Parents, psychologist Dr. Anjali Ferguson says to concentrate on three things: managing your emotions, being welcoming, and staying curious. “Children may be scared to disclose this information if they worry it will impact your relationship,” she explains. “Be welcoming in your tone and body language to ensure they feel safe in this disclosure with you.”

Ask them how they feel

To help the conversation go a little smoother, child therapist Crystal Britt told Parents that asking your son or daughter what they’re going through as they’re coming out can assure them it’s OK if they’re not sure how to grapple with their new identity. “The most important piece is letting them know that you’re open to asking questions, that you love them, and you are interested in this new information about them,” Britt says.

Offer them support

It’s normal to be uneasy about your child’s sexual identity, whether you are concerned about how other classmates will perceive them, your religious upbringing, or discrimination. What your child needs is your empathy and support. Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Paul Mitrani explained to Child Mind Institute that despite your strong feelings, “as a parent, you always have to come back to see what’s best for your child.”

To add, Mitrani recommends keeping the lines of communication open and using language like: “I’m glad that we can discuss this because we want to make sure that you’re safe and supported. And whatever decisions you need to make, we want to be the best ones for you.”

Admit what you don’t know

Sometimes as a parent, we want to seize the moment and act like we know all the answers. But the fact of the matter is we probably don’t know much about what to do next, and that’s perfectly fine. Ferguson explains that your lack of knowledge can help keep the lines of communication between you and your child open. She suggests using language like: “I’m so glad you were brave enough and comfortable sharing this with me. I realize I have a lot to learn about this process, but I want to learn more about how I can support you.”

Create a safe space

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know that states are passing controversial anti-LGBTQ+ laws, from Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill to attempts to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Ferguson recommends keeping an open dialogue about current events and checking in on your child’s sense of safety.

She also recommends checking your home for toys, books, and media that your child might find offensive or harmful. Britt adds that you can also find pride gear and flags online. “Make sure your kid knows you are on their team,” says Britt.

If it’s time to start shopping for Pride gear, check out:

Find support for yourself

Numerous organizations are available to help support and guide you on the next steps of your journey, including:

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