Homosexuality in Teenagers: How Parents Should React

rainbow flagMany teenagers are forced to deal with difficult sexuality issues. Teens who realize that they are attracted to members of the same sex may not fully understand their feelings. Their feelings may cause them to worry and become confused, which can disrupt their lives. While they try to gather the courage to talk to a friend or family member about their situation, they may lose interest in their schoolwork or extracurricular activities. Many teens decide to hide their feelings until they feel like they are in a safe enough environments to express themselves. Homosexual teens often have low self-esteem because they spend most of their time pretending they are somebody they are not. This may include having relationships with the opposite sex to fit in with their friends. 

Although society is becoming increasingly tolerant of homosexual relationships, there are many people who do not accept gay and lesbians. A homosexual child is well aware that they may be judged by fellow students, teachers and others in the community if they decide to reveal their sexuality. A child who reveals his or her true feelings to even one close friend risks losing their entire circle of friends. They may even become a target for bullies. Whether a teen chooses to hide their homosexuality or reveal it to the world, they face a long and hard emotional battle. They are likely to become angry, depressed and even suicidal as they try to deal with adult issues at such a young age. Many homosexual teens begin drinking or taking drugs to numb their pain.

Parents have major influence over their children and every child wants to receive unconditional love and acceptance from both of their parents. Although teens may want to talk to their parents about their struggles, they may be terrified of being rejected. It is crucial for parents to listen to their child without judgment. When a teenager tells their mother or father that they are gay or lesbian, the adults should do their best to remain calm. Parents are often shocked at the news but they should avoid showing any signs of disapproval. They should not start shouting, crying hysterically or lecturing the child. Shaming or rejecting the teen can damage the child’s self-esteem even further and cause psychological damage. Parents can provide much needed love and support by openly accepting their child.

It is not easy for many parents to accept their child’s homosexuality. Parents who are deeply religious or who have never met any gay or lesbian people may have preconceived notions about homosexuality. Both parents and teens should find a counselor who can help them sort out their feelings. Parents can find information on therapy online at the website TheFamilyCompass – Helping Teens and Families. The site also provides information on different disorders or behavior problems that a homosexual teen may be experiencing.

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