Parenting Advice- Dealing with Emotions of Son Coming Out - FamilyEducation
Parenting Advice- Dealing with Emotions of Son Coming Out
03/14/2012 at 01:52 AM

My 16 year old son just came out. He is a good student, very involved in school (music and the arts), active in the church, has a wonderful and supportive group of friends, and a family that is complete in support of him. We love him and want only the best for him. We have had several really productive and positive discussions ranging from being patient with one another as we learn to understand each other better, communicating better and being clear with one another (we have found we do well when we write via email even if we are the same room - it’s not ideal but it seems to work for us and in my mind it beats silence), and educating ourselves more so him regarding safe sex practices. We have come to the point that that I feel comfortable sharing with him that the rules in our house will not change or alter because of his coming out. We will continue to guide based on what we believe to best for him which has nothing to do with his sexual orientation and he understands this and we as his parents understand him in saying I’m a teenager and this is awkward. I need some space to figure this out and I may be moody at times but that doesn’t mean I’m in danger. It means I’m 16. I feel good that we have come this far and am prepared to be there for him in way I can. The problem is I am overwhelmed with a very unexpected sadness and have not been able to stop crying. I hide this from him and from his father who has been wonderfully supportive. Our circle of friends and family is quite diverse and my individual reaction has me concerned. Why am I so sad? I really have complete confidence that he will lead a fulfilling life and I am excited by the fact that he identified and recognized his orientation so early in life. For so many of friends of mine, this was the biggest challenge. I also know he is on the right path and given his intelligence and support from family and friends will flourish but at the end of the day my heart is breaking and the tears come at random and I don’t understand myself right now. What is this? It feels very much like mourning but if my head genuinely knows and believes that everything is going to be ok, why is my heart lagging behind?

You are grieving. It's not anything to be ashamed of. My religion is a very important part of my life, and of my way of interacting with family members. One of my children has joined another church. I think this new religion is an excellent forum for her to develop her spirituality, but I did grieve. I did keep it private, but not because I was ashamed of my grief, merely because I think grief is a private thing.

Hi dre12~ Well, I think a lot of parents in your shoes would be struggling to know how to respond to this news as well. So, know you're not alone. Also, don't hesitate to get some support as you deal with this. For instance, getting some input from a counselor might not be a bad idea. Not sure if you know of anyone you can contact in your area? If not, from my time at Focus on the Family, I know they have counselors you can talk to by phone for free at 1-855-771-HELP. Their website also has some material on this topic. Just FYI! Well, it's so evident you love your son and are trying to keep all the lines of communication open here. And, that will always go a long way in child's life. So, hang in there!