We wrote last week about teens (and pre-teens) expressing curiosity about gender differences, and non-traditional approaches to sexual orientation. We got such an overwhelming response from families asking questions, that we thought we would share a bit more with you, as well as some (of the many) excellent resources.
Teens often ask us, teary eyed and anxious, how they should share with their parents that they are considering adopting a non-traditional lifestyle. We like to use that term, rather than ‘alternative’ because it feels more accepting of the decisions being considered.
As an early career clinician, I would sometimes be skeptical when teens asked these questions and struggled to identify what – if anything – might have “caused” this to happen. I WONDERED how you could “know” that you were bi-sexual or gay if you had never had a sexual experience. And I also wondered if the teen would “grow out of it”.
Families would also WONDER about things like, “Did I do something wrong?” or “What will people think of my child? Of me?” or “How will my child manage a potential future full of bullies and shaming?” Sometimes families would experience a sense of relief knowing that something had been bothering their child for some time, and that this was it.
Most often, however, we would all have some combination of all of these feelings. My job was to support the child in sharing a very scary personal truth, AND to support the family in being open to really HEARING their child (which is different from listening, FYI).
Author and therapist, Dr. Michael LaSala, of Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child, offers these 6 suggestions that we use with families at The Wise Family –
If you’ve read this far that means you are willing to take the initial step and get yourself information. Check out the resources below and reach out to us at The Wise Family fore more! Parenting is a journey with a lot of potholes and detours – and there are also some gorgeous scenic overlooks along the way.
Don’t miss them, and Be Wise.
Resources to check out –
Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child. (LaSala, M. C., 2010) New York: Columbia University Press.
Love Ellen, A Mother Daughter Journey (DeGeneres, B., 1999), New York: Ross Weisbach Books.
Mom, Dad, I’m Gay: How Families Negotiate Coming Out. (Savin-Williams, R. C., 2001.) Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
She has been a tremendous help with family issues and getting our children organized for success in life. Highly recommend her.— Mom of three young adults ages 20 – 24
“Amy talks about moving children from being externally-driven to internally-driven…and she helps you get there!”— Parent of 15-year-old daughter
Amy knows how to relate to children, and make them feel comfortable . My son was shy at the beginning but Amy asked him a couple questions about what he likes and immediately found the connection to him. He happily followed her in the office (just after a 3 min of conversation) and preformed the test. He wasn’t nervous or scared and it’s bc of her ability to relate to kids.
We had a great experience and he wants to go back! Thank you very much!— Dad of 5-year-old assessment client