Children’s LGBTQ+ Experience: Parent’s Role
Unsurprisingly, parents are one of the most influential factors when it comes to children’s LGBTQ+ experience
For both kids and their parents, adolescence may be difficult. Teens who identify as LGBTQ+ may experience rejection from their parents and other significant figures in their lives when they disclose their sexual orientation, or even if they decide not to. The general well-being of LGBTQ+ teens suffers as a result of this rejection and it can ultimately alter children’s LGBTQ+ experience.
On the contrary, when LGBTQ+ youth have good emotional support and are linked to positive family environments with high levels of parental support and little conflict; these teenagers are less prone to participate in violent behavior or sexually risky behavior.
How can parents make a change?
According to research, LGBTQ+ kids’ health is better when their parents provide them with positive and embracing support for their sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ youth who feel appreciated by their parents are less likely to engage in risky behaviours compared to teens who don’t.
The teens who are valued will have fewer behavioral traits, such like:
- Usage of alcohol and drugs
- Suicide attempt
Moreover, studies on young gay men have revealed that having a good relationship with their parents influenced their decision to engage in protected sex (e.g., using a condom, or not having sex with high-risk partners). Many people also claimed that having a good parent-teen relationship gave them a sense of duty to prevent HIV infection.
Actions to be taken by parents
Regardless of their teen’s sexual identity, research on parenting demonstrates how crucial it is for parents to:
- Have genuine discussions and provide proper sex education to their teenagers
- Understand and get to know their teenager’s friends and the activities of their teen
- Set up shared objectives with their teen, such as maintaining good health and performing well in school (not pressuring them but motivating them)
- Parents need to be aware that sharing their sexual orientation with teens can be quite distressing for them.
- Parents who give themselves some time to process their feelings around their child’s sexual orientation will be easier able to reply coolly and with respect.
LISTEN TO THEM
- Teens can feel loved and supported if their parents communicate with them and listen to them in a way that encourages an open discussion regarding their sexual orientation
- Parents can discuss with their teens how to stay out of dangerous or high-risk conditions and refrain from reckless activities
- Parents can also discuss the effects of bullying with their teenagers. Any instances of physical or verbal abuse at school should be reported by parents to the principal and the teachers
- A safe and pleasant learning environment can be created by parents who establish good relationships with their teen’s teachers and other school officials.
- Parents should see a school counsellor, social worker, psychologist, or other healthcare providers if they believe their child is depressed or requires further mental health assistance or to learn more about how they may assist their LGBTQ+ teen, other family members, and their kid’s friends, parents can access a wide variety of organizations and online content resources.