So, your kid just told you they’re…... (something)....
It’s every parent’s nightmare. Our kid tells us something we weren’t expecting, we blurt out a response we immediately regret and it’s too late to take it back. So now, before that inevitable surprise announcement, here is the parenting plan for when you hear, “Mom, Dad, I’m…” Where … might be pregnant, sporting a new tattoo, transgender, failing four classes, gay, becoming wiccan, HIV+, or taking up the tuba.
Step 1 Say, “thank you for telling me.” Because, honestly, wouldn’t you rather know? Your child just trusted you enough to tell you something difficult, and you want to reward this behavior.
Step 2 Say, “I love you.” Because you do, and it never hurts to remind your kid, and yourself, that your love has endured through sleepless nights and dirty diapers, and it will endure through whatever announcement just took you by surprise. Ideally the “I love you” is followed by a hug.
Step 3 Admit you don’t know everything already, and want to learn more, so you can be a help and support.
• “Tell me more about that.”
• “You’ve probably already been reading a lot about this, can you recommend some basic resources to get me started?”
• “Have you already found a good tuba instructor?”
An expressed willingness to learn invites the conversation to continue and buys you time to be a rational parent rather than a reactionary parent. So there it is: thank, love, and learn. Parenting—we can do this.
-- From the genius mother, Neca Allgood
Being a mom of an LGBTQIA+ kid can be tricky and figuring out the "right" way is sometimes knowing there isn't just one right way. When our LGBTQ child or community is in crisis or in trauma the way we communicate and process is part of the key of being a good parent or supporter.
Here is a quick way to help navigate and process crisis. Draw a target like the one depicted below and place the name of the person who is in trauma in the center. In the next bigger ring write the person's name that is closest to them. Then in the next bigger circles write the next closest like her family then her close friends. Follow this pattern of intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. This process is called the Kvetching Order.
Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say pretty much anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings. The people in the larger rings can offer only comfort towards the inner circles.
Keeping the comfort in and dumping out was a valuable lesson on how I could be a better ally and LGBTQ parent.