We usually associate the issue of ‘coming out’ and revealing that we are gay as something that teenagers/children struggle to tell their parents, but what about when it is the other way round? How does a parent tell their children that they are gay?
An interesting letter recently appeared on The Guardian website which tackled the issue and gave some great advice to a mother who was concerned about discussing the topic with her kids. This advice doesn’t just apply to parents and children but also to anyone who has concerns about coming out to their family or friends.
Firstly, don’t assume that your children will be closed minded about the issue. After all you have brought them up and they are likely to take many of the same views about life as you do. Perhaps you grew up in a household which was intolerant of homosexuality and this is making you nervous but remember that your children are a new generation and will have their own view on things.
Speak to someone from the Lesbian and Gay Foundation 0845 3303030 lgf.org.uk. There are tonnes of trained people there who will be able to help you through your worries and they will even role play the conversation with you to help you build up some confidence. Vocalising what you are planning to say is important and going through this with one of the counsellors will ensure that tell your children in a clear and non confusing fashion.
It is important that you have this conversation in a quiet, confidential and familiar place where you don’t have an imposed time limit, such as a restaurant. It is probably best to decide in advance how open you are going to be. After all we know how blunt children can be, they tend to say what most of us are thinking but would never dram of voicing. Don’t be surprised if you get questioned about having sex with the same sex! Let them know that they are always welcome to discuss the matter with you at any time and also be aware that they will probably talk to other people about this too. If they decide they want to talk to a neutral source then childline is a great option (childline.org.uk, 0800 1111).
Lastly, be confident and don’t apologise. There is nothing to be sorry for even if they react badly try not to apologise and if you do then only apologise for the shock caused and nothing else.
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