As parents, we always want to make sure we are supporting our teens in the best ways possible! Even though we can butt heads and disagree, at the end of the day, we love them for who they are. We are proud of the person we have raised them to become, and want them to know that.
LBGTQIA teens endure significantly higher levels of bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety compared to other teens. Due to the unfortunate presence of homophobia and transphobia, LGBTQIA teens can’t seem to catch a break. Whether they are invalidated for their feelings, or bullied for things they can’t control, they suffer.
As a parent, you want to be the last person to ever cause your teen harm. You want them to know how valued and treasured they are in this world. It can be difficult for parents who have never experienced LGBTQIA, and may be confused with what that all means.
It stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual! There are also many different flags associated with each letter. The flags are important symbols with their own individual colors, honoring each identification.
It may seem unnecessary or confusing for you for your teen to want to identify as this. Maybe, you even feel embarrassed about it. You’re not sure how your family or friends will react to it, and maybe are even a little upset about it to begin.
It’s normal to feel stressed out, maybe even worried about this. What’s most important is how you address this with your teen. You’re allowed to have your own feelings, but want to make sure your teen feels supported no matter what.
Our simi valley therapists provide a safe space for you and your family to discuss difficult topics.
3 Ways to Support Your LGBTQIA Teen: Let them know they are loved
First and foremost, it’s important to note that LGBTQIA teens can be at greater risk for suicide or suicidal thoughts. Make sure you let them know that they truly belong here! The world would truly be missing without their presence. Family and friends would be lost without them in your lives.
It can be defeating when teens are not accepted for who they are. They don’t feel validated or understood, and it can leave them feeling depressed. Although today’s society has been working towards becoming much more inclusive and accepting, it’s not always applicable.
Your teen needs to know that no matter what, they are included and accepted. They are valued for being who they are and who they want to be. And you want them to know that they deserve to love themselves too!
Life can be extremely difficult for LGBTQIA teens. They may feel hopeless, worthless, unlovable, or invaluable. However, that is the exact opposite of how much they truly mean to the world. Make sure to emphasize with them that they matter and they are loved, even if some days, it doesn’t feel like that.
No matter who they are or who they love, you will support your teen through it all. You want them to have a close relationship with you where they feel safe and secure talking about things that matter to them. It’s important that you trust they are surrounding themselves with those who have good intentions as well.
Online teen therapy in Ventura County, Ca, ensures your teen can receive support from wherever is most convenient for them.
3 Ways to Support Your LGBTQIA Teen: Educate yourself
A popular response to finding out your teen is LGBTQIA teen is bringing religion into it. It may be that you attend a church that has roots in homophobia, and believe that being gay or lesbian is a sin. There may even be offerings for conversion therapy or some sort of “fix” for your teen.
Educate yourself to know that there is truly no “fix” or “cure” to being LBGTQIA. Matter of fact, nothing truly needs to be fixed or cured in them. Programs such as conversion therapy can be incredibly damaging and traumatic and destroy your relationship with your teen.
There may be books, blogs, or other forms of media directed for parents of LGBTQIA teens. It’s possible that there are communities out there for parents who may not initially accept or agree with LGBTQIA. However, with more education, understanding, and awareness, you can learn to be okay with it.
As mentioned before, there are various flags associated with the different letters within the name. Take some time to educate yourself on what your teen’s sexuality means, and the flags associated with it. You can use this as a bonding experience with your teen to possibly create art together using the flags as inspiration.
Finally, educate yourself on the history of LBTQIA and how that came to be how it is today. Learn about the iconic individuals who created history and landmarks for the community. Understand the struggles that they went through, including hate crimes endured.
Family therapy near Moorpark, Ca, can address everyone’s individual concerns and goals for therapy as a team.
3 Ways to Support Your LGBTQIA Teen: Create and maintain a supportive environment
Finally, create and maintain a supportive environment for them, both inside and outside the home. You don’t want to only stand up for them in private, and when it comes to being in public, you don’t do what’s right for them. Let’s say that in private, you express acceptance and inclusion for your teen. However, when in public surrounded by others, you may express different opinions and even joke about them.
It’s important to stand up for them against discriminatory or homophobic/transphobic family members, friends, or neighbors. You have a big role in breaking the cycle of that casual abuse. And, you would even come off as a role model for your teen.
Another way to maintain a supportive environment could look like attending pride rallies or pride festivals with them as a way to show your support!
Try to understand how your teen’s school is working to support LGBTQIA teens as well. Whether it be that they have school psychologists on board, clubs to allow teens to mingle with each other, or protection against bullying and harassment. If none of these programs are installed, consider advocating for them.
At the end of the day, there could be conflicting opinions about being LGBTQIA in the household. It can be a difficult topic when people are not agreeing with who your teen is. Perhaps their siblings or your partner do not agree with it. This can be extremely difficult and tense.
It may take some time through self education, awareness, and understanding, but you can learn to leave behind your preconceptions about what it means to be on the LGBTQIA spectrum.
Considering family therapy with a LGBTQIA affirming therapist is a great way to gain support for the whole family. Not only will it provide a safe space for your teen, but the therapist will understand the family’s concerns and areas they can grow together as a team!