How to React as a Parent when Your Child Comes Out of the Closet

If you're not expecting it, it can be overwhelming to hear for the first time that your child isn't straight but bisexual, gay, lesbian, pansexual etc. But handling the conversation with care, being open and supportive, and letting your child know that you love them unconditionally are key to making the potentially emotional coming out as smooth as possible for your child.


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    Prepare yourself. You may already have an idea or a feeling about whether your child is bisexual, gay or lesbian. Listen to this feeling, although you shouldn't take it as a certainty, because you never know if it's for sure. If you listen to this feeling and prepare yourself mentally to be open and supportive, it will help accept you when your child will come out of the closet.
    • Remember that not everyone feels the need for a big "coming out" conversation. If you already suspect that your child is gay and are on good, open terms with them, you might just ask them casually, and leave it at that. You don't have to wait for a big revealing talk, depending on the dynamics of your relationship.
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    Talk - but more importantly, listen. Be as open and supportive with them, and encourage an ongoing dialogue. You may not be able to talk through everything they want to discuss in just one sitting, and that's okay.
    • Praise your child for talking openly of their feelings to you. It's very important to talk, especially when it's such a heavy theme.
    • Give your child all the space he or she needs to talk about their feelings and their insecurities.
    • Don't start immediately with giving your own vision and opinion. Give your child the space to tell you what they are experiencing.
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    Avoid focusing on problems, risks, or issues that you may have with homosexuality. This conversation isn't about your political beliefs or faith. If you are open to their orientation and support them, that's great; if you have concerns, you will both deal with them and learn to adjust over time, but don't pile all that negativity on now. Your child is being open and honest with you, so it's only right to support them through it, without making them regret it.
    • Don't start with telling your child the problems they may face in life when they are gay/lesbian or bisexual, such as bullying, discrimination, etc. It will become immediately a heavier theme, and will turn a positive experience of openness and sharing into something negative, which would be unfortunate for your relationship with your child.
    • Don't make a problem out of having these feelings. Tell your child this is absolutely normal. What's more, many (especially) teenagers question their sexuality before growing certain of their actual orientation. Tell them you will support them in their relationships, regardless of sexuality.
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    Do not stereotype. Homosexuality doesn't tell you anything about a person except what gender of people they're attracted to and love. Avoid stereotypes that just don't hold true across large populations like those who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
    • Chances are, you know your child well; this conversation doesn't change what you already know about their preferences, interests, hobbies, and likes. Sexuality is just a small part of a person, and while coming out can feel like a big deal, it doesn't have to change how you feel about your child.
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    Be positive and show your love. Coming out can be a big deal to the person revealing their sexuality; it can be emotional and nerve-wracking. Try to make the experience as easy as possible for them, regardless of your feelings about the revelation. Chances are, you don't want your child to be upset or emotional, so keep things positive, and show your unconditional love for them. If you have concerns, let them know you're willing to learn more and grow in your understanding of their sexuality.
    • Depending on your family dynamics, "coming out" may not actually be as heavy for you as it is in other cultures or families. If it is genuinely not an issue for you, then show your child that! Of course, you don't want to ignore their concerns and revelations, but show them it's not an issue for you by just expressing love and support, or even making a light joke. Taking this route does depend a lot on your relationship dynamics and whether you're used to joking around together - but if you are, then use that dynamic to make sure your child realizes that you're not overwhelmed or upset, and that it's ultimately "no big deal" to you.


  • Try to be calm.
  • Don't reject anything without knowing anything about it.
  • Be open minded.

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Categories: Parenting | Coming Out as LGBT