You have an LGBTQ teen. Their grades are dropping. They are rebellious. They don’t want to listen.
Is it because they are LGBTQ or just because they are teenagers?
That is not an easy question to answer. If your teen is out to you and you are affirming, maybe it is just regular teenage angst. They are teenagers after all!
If you suspect your teen is a part of the LGBTQ community but they have not come out to you, perhaps some of what you are seeing is due to the “secret” they are keeping. And they are still teenagers, after all!
Many of our teens have a difficult time through their teen years, whether LGBTQ or not. It seems to be a part of growing up, testing their boundaries, finding out who they are, independent of you or society.
I have two sons. One is gay and one is straight. Both are cisgender. My son didn’t come out until he was 20 so during his teen years, he was in the closet. I think he was even in the closet to himself. Did that cause stress and anxiety? I’m sure it did. He was trying to fit in, be like everyone else.
My straight son struggled in high school too and it was clearly not related to being LGBTQ. It was just he was a teen.
I remember my high school days, way, way back in the 60’s. I struggled to fit in. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I struggled in school though I got by. I never felt smart enough or good enough. I compared myself to the other girls and always came up short. Not an LGBTQ issue for sure but merely a part of being a teenager, growing up.
Then how do you know what it is with an LGBTQ kid? You may not unless they are willing to talk. And at that age, parents don’t know anything, and kids often won’t talk to us. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just my opinion but I think many of our kids are just going through normal teenage stuff and it is not related to their being LGBTQ. If there is some part of it that is related, I tend to think it’s a smaller part. Again, a lot depends on how supportive an environment they have at home AND at school. If school doesn’t feel safe, then of course, their anxiety is totally related to their being LGBTQ.
And what can we as parents do? We can get them evaluated, get help where needed. We can not take their behavior personally as much as possible. We can remain calm and not react when they are testing us and testing their limits. We can continue to set boundaries and rules for our homes.
It’s been a long time since I had teenagers at home. I’d love to hear what you think, what your experiences are. What has worked for you?