Parenting a child who is questioning their sexual identity can present some unique challenges. How you respond can have a profound impact on your child, as well as on your relationship with them.
Open communication about sexuality is beneficial for all children and young adults, and provides a healthy framework for children who are questioning their sexuality.
Sexuality is an important part of every individual’s health and well-being. Educating children and young adults about sexual health is key to providing them with the skills and knowledge they need.
Talking to your children about sex and sexuality may be uncomfortable, but they are going to hear it, so it might as well be from you. Along with the basic biological facts, talk to your child about relationships, feelings, and values. Listen respectfully to what your child has to say.
‘Coming out’ is the process of accepting and telling others about sexual orientation or gender identity. A child coming out to a parent needs to be treated with love, respect, and understanding. Your child is telling you, because they need your support. They are working towards accepting who they are, and want you to accept them also.
It’s important to listen to your child, and also important not to criticize or cast judgements – even if the news is shocking or upsetting to you. The most important goal in this conversation is to make sure your child knows that they are loved and safe.
There may be information or questions your child is uncomfortable sharing with you, or questions they do no want to ask youProvide a list of credible resources for them [www.teachingsexualhealth.ca; www.sexualityandu.ca; www.cfsh.ca; www.pflagcanada.ca] to make sure they are getting the information they need.
Responding to a child who is questioning their sexuality in a compassionate, understanding, and loving way, despite embarrassment or discomfort, is the best way a parent can help their child’s healthy sexual development.
If you, or someone you know needs to talk please contact me here.