Stacey, a fourteen-year-old prepared her coming out speech multiple times. She couldn’t sleep the entire night. She gathered all her courage and spoke to her mother. However, it was her mother who felt lost for words. Often parents don’t understand how to react when their children come out. Knowing what to say and what to avoid when your child comes out is essential. This article discusses what to tell your daughter when she comes out. We also explore how you can help your daughter when she comes out.
What Is Coming Out?
This is a process in which individuals who identify as LGBTQIA process their emotions, their identity, and themselves. When they share it with other people, it is referred to as coming out. This process is different for everyone. Your child can come out as early as ten years of age, or even very late in their lives.
Coming out is a very emotional experience for people. It requires a lot of courage. Only recently are we seeing greater acceptance of the LGBTQ community? Earlier the society in most parts of the world did not see them as equals. Your daughter can have a range of emotions such as scared, anxiety, or relief.
There is no right way or wrong way to come out. Having said that, as a parent, you too will have a lot of emotions that you’ll go through. You too may feel anxious and confused.
Coming out is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. It doesn’t even happen overnight. Your daughter will first come out to herself. She will first be open to herself. Later she may choose to disclose it to others. In all likelihood, there is a chance that you may not be the first one to know of it. Your daughter will begin by coming out to the person she is most comfortable with. As a parent, you must respect her choice.
Your daughter may come out at her own pace. She can come out to only one of the parents. She may also decide to come out to her siblings only. It is a continuous process. Every time an LGBTQ person meets a new person, they decide whether they want to come out in front of them or not.
Additionally, coming out is dependent on many factors such as risks.
What to Tell Your Daughter When She Comes Out
As a parent. you may want the best for your child. Coming out is not just a child’s journey but also a parent’s journey. For you, everything must be new. There can be confusing initially. You may experience emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, or even excitement for that matter. All these emotions are valid and a part of your child’s coming out. There are many things that can make the experience relaxed for your daughter. However, at times something that you may have said unknowingly while your daughter comes out can hurt your daughter. Here’s what to tell your daughter when she comes out.
Don’t Ignore the Daughter or Rush the Topic
If you are confused about what’s happening, do not brush the topic under the carpet. It can be a little overwhelming if you have no clue about the LGBTQ community. It is okay. Don’t rush the topic. Don’t ignore your daughter. She has gathered a lot of courage in telling you how she feels. Value that and respect that. Have a healthy dialogue with her. Listen to what she has to say. Be patient. You can save your doubts for a while. Don’t interrupt your child when she is talking. Try to place your worries before her. A healthy conversation is when both your and your daughter’s anxiety is addressed.
Don’t Shame Them
Parents sometimes hurt their children by shaming them. They use religion as a tool to frighten their children. Moreover, families that hold conventional views, end up sidelining the children. They dismiss what the child feels as a ‘bad’ influence. Do not do this. Your daughter may already be fighting her inner voices, religious beliefs, and societal battles. If she is religious, she may herself be thinking that she has committed a sin. Prove her wrong by learning more about the LGBTQ community, leaders who follow the community, and articles that prove religious beliefs wrong.
Don’t Tell Them That Its a Phase
The biggest mistake that parents make when their child comes out is that they dismiss them. They use phrases like, ‘It’s just a phase’. They think that like the teenage years, having a different identity is just a phase. When you say things like this, your child will withdraw. This is definitely not something to tell your daughter when she comes out. When you say things like this, she may shut down and never have a conversation with you. Rather than saying this, you can use supportive statements like, ‘Let’s talk more about this. ‘I’d like to learn more. Even if you are confused, you can share it with your daughter. Rather than dismissing your daughter’s feelings, you can ask her if you can be a part of her journey.
Don’t Stereotype Them
Our society has certain expectations and biases with regards to the dress sense, walking, or talking style of LGBTQ persons. Do not stereotype your child by using phrases like, “No wonder why you dress like this”, “Oh I knew it all along”. When you say sentences like these, it proves that you are prescribing the prejudices against the LGBTQ community. Your daughter will not like this and will refrain from sharing anything with you.
Tell Them You Believe and Love Them No Matter What
If you are wondering what to tell your daughter when she comes out, the best thing to say to her is that you love her. You can tell her that you believe in her choices. You can empathize with her pain of being ignored by society for so long. Children show up with a lot of courage when they come out before their parents They have a lot of anxiety and nervousness. The best thing to release that stress is by you telling them that you love them. This gives them a sense of validation. They feel a little less scared. They raise that someone is there to talk to them.
Do ask her how you can support her or help her. You can ask them about any kind of trouble they face outside the family. You can also ask them if there is any monetary support or counseling support they need or if there is any trauma that needs to be addressed. Moreover, you can also ask them if they need support coming out in front of someone else like the family or siblings.
How to Help Your Daughter When She Comes Out
There are many ways to help your daughter when she comes out. Family support is the greatest support a child can have when they have an identity that is different from the norm. There are many ways to help your daughter. Some of them are:
- Join an ally group: You can join an ally group or a group for parents. These groups help you to understand the changing vocabularies. Additionally, you can talk to parents whose children have come out. They can help you with regards to helping the child emotionally, how to deal with extended family or how to help the child come out in front of others.
- Gather knowledge: Collect information about gender and sexuality from reliable sources. You can sit with your daughter and explore it. It is important to stay updated with the ever-changing glossaries. Learning more about different identities can help your daughter when she comes out. This will also give you an idea about what to tell when your daughter comes out. This will keep you more prepared.
- Seek help: If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, do seek support for yourself. You can also take expert advice from people who know more about the community. You can approach them and ask about the process of coming out. Do seek help to learn more about the LGBTQ COMMUNITY. This can help a lot when your daughter comes out.
If your child has come out and if you are confused about how to help your daughter when she comes out, there are courses on Epsychonline that can aid you. The course named Coming out can be very beneficial for parents who wish to learn more about the process of coming out. This course has been created by experts and it addresses very important aspects of coming out. Do check them out.