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Supporting Your Gay Teen

How You Can Help Your Gay Teen

The AACAP suggests counseling for teens who are uncomfortable with their homosexuality or who need help adjusting to personal, family, and school-related issues or conflicts that emerge. But they condemn therapy aimed specifically at changing sexual orientation - as do the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association. The AACAP also cautions parents not to interfere with their child's decision to disclose or keep private their orientation.

Parents and other family members may gain understanding and support for themselves and their gay child through organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). PFLAG offers support through some 500 chapters in all 50 states, as well as lots of information on their website (pflag.org). Below are just a few of the "do's and don'ts" that PFLAG believes the parents of gay teens need to know:

Don'ts for Parents

  • Don't blame your own feelings on your child.
  • Don't rush the process of trying to understand your child's sexuality or gender identity.
  • Don't assume that your child should see a professional counselor or encourage him or her to participate in "reparative therapy."
  • Don't criticize your child for being different.
  • Don't try to break up loving relationships.
  • Don't try to force your child to conform to your ideas of proper sexual behavior.
  • Don't blame yourself because your child is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT).
  • Don't demand that your child live up to your idea of what a man or woman should be.
  • Don't discriminate against your child.
  • Don't force your own life goals on your child.
  • Don't insist that your morality is the only right one.



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