6 Ways to Support Your LGBTQ+ Child
Hello, Dr. Samantha Brustad here with Balanced-Minds Psychology and Wellness. As a licensed psychologist who works often with teens and young adults who identify as LGBTQI+, I am often witness to parents who feel confused, afraid and sometimes sad in regards to their child’s identity. Supporting your LGBTQI+ identifying child can be a complex and sensitive topic, but it's essential to create a safe and inclusive environment for them to thrive.
Here are some tips on how to support LGBTQI+ children:
1. Educate Yourself
One of the most crucial steps in supporting LGBTQI+ children is to educate yourself on the subject. It's important to learn about the LGBTQI+ community, their struggles, and their experiences to better understand and empathize with their situation. There are numerous resources available online, including articles, books, and videos, that can help you gain knowledge about the LGBTQI+ community.
2. Listen and Validate
Listening and validating your child's experiences, feelings, and concerns are crucial in supporting them. It's essential to create an open and safe environment where your child can share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. When your child talks to you, actively listen to them and let them know that you hear and understand what they are saying.
3. Use Appropriate Terminology
Using appropriate terminology shows that you respect and acknowledge your child's identity. Using the wrong pronouns or labels can be hurtful and damaging to their self-esteem. Make sure to ask your child what pronouns and labels they prefer and use them consistently.
4. Support Their Interests and Hobbies
Supporting your child's interests and hobbies can help them build their confidence and self-esteem. Encourage them to pursue their interests, whether it's sports, dance, or art, and yes, even if that interest does not align with traditional gender roles. Let your child know that you support them and are proud of their accomplishments.
5. Advocate for Them
Advocating for your child can mean speaking up on their behalf when necessary. This could include advocating for them in school, with medical professionals, or with family and friends who may not understand or accept their identity. It's important to stand up for your child and make sure that they are safe and treated with the respect every child deserves.
6. Connect with LGBTQI+ Communities
Connecting with LGBTQI+ communities can be an excellent way to support your child. Attend events, join online groups, or volunteer for organizations that support the LGBTQI+ community. This can help you gain more insight into the experiences of LGBTQI+ individuals and provide you with support as a parent. MetroWellness is a great community resource.
All in all, supporting LGBT children requires knowledge, understanding, and empathy. By educating yourself and listening and validating your child's experiences, you can help create a safe and inclusive environment for your child to thrive. Remember that your support and acceptance can make a world of difference to your child's well-being and happiness.
If you or your LGBTQ+ identifying child need professional support, feel free to reach out to us for a complimentary phone consultation. We are committed to providing a safe and affirming environment. We align with the American Psychological Association and World Health Organization’s guidelines to helping LGBTQ+ youth in need of mental health services.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 911 or contact the following resources for support: