When your child is questioning or comes out as gay, bisexual, or transgender, it can be a challenging and confusing time.

You might be grieving the loss of the image you had of your child, or the future you imagined for them.

You might be feeling guilty, even questioning whether you are somehow responsible for your child being gay, or you might feel guilty that you didn’t realize that they were.

You might be afraid of what your friends and family will think and how they will react.

You might be worried about the judgment and discrimination your child will likely endure.

You might be feeling anxious about what being gay, bisexual or trans will mean for your child’s future.

You might be angry that your child didn’t come out to you sooner, or you might be angry that they came out at all. 

You might be incredibly hurt by what feels like utter abandonment by your church, friends, or family.

Or you might be confused, in denial, overwhelmed, or scared…

All of this is further magnified when:

Your child’s coming out came as a shock to you.

Your friends and/or family members are unsupportive (or worse).

You belong to or attend a church that isn’t open & affirming.

You’re not sure how to reconcile your child’s coming out with your faith.

Your spouse isn’t supportive or accepting of your child – even if you are.

You need support too.

Perhaps your child coming out didn’t come as a surprise and you don’t see it as a problem. You just need help with some of the challenges you’re facing – especially in regards to your relationship with your child, with friends, family, church, and society at large. You want to be able to process your feelings and be supportive of your child.

On the other hand, your child being gay or transgender may be far from what you expected, imagined, or wanted for them. We all have expectations and visions of what our kids’ lives will be like, and it can be painful when reality doesn’t match our desires or expectations. You might feel stuck in confusion or denial or be overwhelmed by the feelings coming up for you. You might not even be able to identify what you feel. But when we don’t acknowledge and process our emotions, it can create a lot of stress and even anger, and cause us to feel even more confused and overwhelmed.

There is no one-size-fits-all, textbook response to a child coming out – at any age.

I want you to know that whatever you are feeling in this moment is what you are supposed to be feeling in this moment. Denying or belittling your emotions helps no one. Awareness is always the first step forward – and sometimes we need the help of someone on the outside to help us really understand, sort through, and connect with what’s going on with us on the inside.