Below is a post from October of 2016. It bears repeating when so many more kids are coming out.

the way a parent reactsWe all know that the way a parent reacts when a child comes out can have many implications in that child’s life. A recent study now shows that gay and bisexual youth who feel accepted and supported by their families are more likely to engage in safe-sex practices.

When our straight youth have open, trusting relationships with their parents, they are less likely to become pregnant or develop STDs. It stands to reason that the same is true for our gay and bisexual youth.

It didn’t surprise me that what had the most impact on youth in avoiding high-risk sexual behavior was the closeness between the parent and child. This was characterized by the parents acceptance of their child’s orientation and communication about many things including safe-sex.

When there was no parental closeness, half those young men reported they had participated in unprotected sex. In those families where the youth indicated no parental influence, almost all had undergone disruption in the parent-child relationship. These included a parent’s death, health problems, drug abuse or rejection because of the child’s sexual orientation. Several of those youth became HIV positive.

So what’s the message? For those families with a disrupted parent-child relationship, the study says someone should be brought in to help families unite, assist parents in adjusting to the child’s sexual orientation, and help parents and youth openly and productively discuss HIV risk and prevention.

There are many options for receiving that help. One can seek a therapist or social worker. Or one can seek a parenting coach who specializes in coaching parents of LGBTQ youth, one who has been there and experienced it herself.

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