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Discussion:
Questions for parents of gay children...
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Hi, everyone. I'm hoping to get some answers and support from other parents of gay children, especially those who have lived with this for a while, since it's new to me. I am a liberal person who has always supported gay rights, but have surprisingly been having a hard time since realizing that my daughter (my only child) is gay. Of course I will always love and support her, but is it normal that I feel disappointed? And then of course I feel guilty for feeling disappointed. I used to get so excited about boyfriend prospects for her, etc. I can accept, but why can't I get excited for her? I am uncomfortable and try not to show it but she probably feels it (again creating guilt.) It is hard to give up plans and dreams for your children: dating, weddings, grandchildren, etc. (I do realize these things can still happen, but it's hard not to wish for the traditional way.) It's obviously her life and she is who she is and I know I have to accept this. Why is it so hard? I'm so surprised at this, since I'm so liberal. But honestly, I actually prayed that she wouldn't be gay. How dumb. I knew it all along. It just felt better to live in a dream world for a while. Are there any other parents out there who have resolved this? Have any of you gone from feeling disappointed and uncomfortable to actually embracing this and getting excited for your children's relationships, etc.? Right now, I just feel like I'll have to fake it forever. But this is sad. I truly hope I'll be able to embrace it and get excited for her relationships instead of uncomfortable. Hoping to hear from some parents who have succeeded in this. Thanks so much for reading and/or responding! Love to everyone.
Posted on 05/23/10, 02:19 am
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Reply #1 - 05/24/10  8:11am
" HI,
I just recently found out my son (16) is gay. It is very hard and I'm still trying hard to accept phone calls for him, allow guys to come over, etc. The hardest of all is that I have family members that are old timers and believers and very much against homosexuality. How will we tell them? At this point, we are keeping it from so many people. I always wanted the weddings and grandchildren, etc. I don't know how I will handle Thanksgiving gatherings, family gatherings, etc. I guess time will do everything. I keep blaming myself for this, when I know I couldn't have done anything. It is very hard and good luck to you. "
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Reply #2 - 05/24/10  9:45am
" To confused. Since I'm new to this, too, I can't give you experienced advice, but maybe we can figure things out together, and maybe more experienced parents will chime in with some advice. I've been thinking about how to tell people, also. Basically, I think it's up to our children-who and when to tell. Once I read in Dear Abby that you don't have to tell everyone, unless of course your child feels it is important to him/her for absolutely everyone to know. I think sometimes people just don't tell older or conservative friends or relatives, and this can work. It's not saying we're ashamed of it, just that it's easier not to tell everyone, maybe even advisable. If this is the case, either those people will just never figure it out, or figure it out but never acknowledge it, or best case scenario they'll figure it out, come to terms with it and say it's ok. But obviously, it will never be ok with everyone, especially if they're fundamentalists, so I do believe sometimes it's better to leave some people out of the loop. This, I repeat, is only if our children want it this way, if it's easier for them. If they want to be totally open with everyone, I feel that if they're ready to be that brave, I guess we'd better summon up the bravery to support them 100%. I know it's hard. Thinking ahead can be overwhelming, so maybe we should take advice from the AA program and just take one day at a time. I find that when I'm alone and think too much, I get incredibly overwhelmed and confused and think "what am I going to do about this, that, and the other things?" but then when I'm with my daughter again, lo and behold, she's still the same person I raised and I still love her so much, maybe even more since I admire her bravery and poise in dealing with this, and then we laugh about things and share our common interests, and life is still great. They're not sick or dying or criminals or mean or nasty or anything that would be so awful. They're still our kids that we love. And we're so lucky they're still here with us and have trusted us with this part of them. So I try to keep this in mind. No, we won't travel the traditional route anymore. I probably won't get to go shopping for her wedding dress (although that is a possibility, just in a different scenario) but the future may bring us grandchildren. Even if they get here in a different way, we'll love them just the same! It will take time for us to be comfortable with all this. I admit I am still uncomfortable. But I have a huge goal: not only to get comfortable with it, but to embrace it, and to be able to get excited about her relationships, the same way I would have had she been bringing boys home. I think it will take a while, but I think we're going to be o.k. "
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Reply #3 - 05/27/10  2:59pm
" I am not a parent of a gay or lesbian child (that we know of ;)) but I am gay and a parent.

Telling my mum that I was gay was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. She was concerned and yet totally supportive (I came out over 25 yrs. ago). My mum has 3 kids, I'm the only one who is gay and the only one to give her grandchildren! Neither of my siblings is married or even in a serious commited relationship. I have been with my partner for almost 6 years. We own a house a car and have 2 wonderful boys. We live in Canada where same sex marriages are recognized, and plan to marry in the next couple of years or when we can afford her divorce, whichever comes first!

As Remi59 says, coming out to your parents, friend, etc. is still very difficult and frightning for most people and yet your kids have the had the courage and self-respect to tell you about who they are in a world where we are still treated like freaks. All I can tell you is that my mum and I are the best of friends, she loves her grandkids (even if they are not biologically related) and adores my partner.

If you are stuggling with accepting your childs sexuality, imagine how hard it was for them! Just love and support them. All those things you hoped for are still possible (just look at my world) and who cares what sex a person is if your child loves them and is loved in return?? Not everyone gets to experience real love, even in the straight community (just ask my brother!) so be there for them, love them with all your heart and watch what wonderful things can happen as a result!

All the best to all of the parents out there who are struggling with acceptance. Be patient, if you love, them it will come.

BG. "
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Reply #4 - 05/27/10  10:32pm
" Dear BG, Thank-you so much for responding and for your encouraging words. I am trying very hard with this! Best of luck to you and your fiance. Remi59 "
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Reply #5 - 06/21/10  9:49am
" Hi, Remi. I am a mom and I'm gay, so maybe I have some insight?

Put the guilt aside. Why is there disappointment? Are you worried that you won't have grandkids? Or that her life will be harder? Is there a worry that maybe there is something inately wrong with being gay? I think that once you figure out the reason for the disappointment, you will be able to get past it and then embrace your daughter and her being gay, if that makes sense.

For me, it was very difficult to find my way, I could imagine on the parenting end that it would be difficult to come to terms with as well. "
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Reply #6 - 06/21/10  2:40pm
" Dear Baindegael, Thank-you so much for responding and for having such empathy for parents coming to terms with having gay children. I do feel guilty about my feelings because I know it's so much harder for the gay person, like you or my daughter, to come to terms with it. You're the ones subject to unfair discriminations, not me, so it doesn't seem that I have the right to these feelings. However, they are there-I'm not sure why. My emotions have obviously not caught up to my intellect. I am a Unitarian-Universalist, a very liberal religion, and we've always had same-sex couples in our church. Not until it turned out to be my daughter did I have struggles with acceptance. I'm obviously not one of those crazy fundamentalists who would disown her or anything. I love her more than life itself. I guess I just selfishly wanted evrything to be "normal." (as in "the norm," not as in thinking being gay is abnormal). I feel I've lost a closeness we had, since I can't relate. It does seem quite selfish as I write this. I guess I wanted some sort of vicarious experience, the way I see many moms do, when their daughters are dating boys, talking about them, planning weddings, etc. It's exciting. When she went to the prom in high school with a boy, I was beside myself with excitement. I truly don't understand why I can't get excited about her with women. Is it just because I can't relate? It still makes me uncomfortable to watch same-sex couples kissing, etc on TV, in movies, in real life. I see that this is absurd: I know intellectually that I have been socialized. I guess I didn't get as far away from my Catholic roots as I thought. Do you think I'll be able to progress from reluctant acceptance, to the ability to embrace this and truly feel excited about it? I hope so, but I'm not sure how. I hope that time will take care of it. I'm reading a lot of good books, which help somewhat, but I still have a long way to go. Anyway, thanks again for writing. I think it is amazing that you can have empathy on the other side of this. "
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Reply #7 - 06/21/10  3:51pm
" Hi Remi

I think that we only learn by trying to think about others in how they see things. :) I'm not always succesful at that! lol

There's always dischord between the intellectual and the emotional, makes us human!

I would say... make an effort. Get to know her more, on a personal level. Not that she needs to take you to a gay club, but to go through her day to day. It might help to see that it makes very little difference that she is a lesbian.

My partner is always saying that we should have a reality show because I'm a femme, she's not and we have a son, like this would make for excellent television. And I always quip that it would be THE most boring reality show ever. We aren't all that different from other families and we are certainly no more exciting. That's my remedy- get to know her more. Be close again. :) Good luck! And yes, I think that you will become accepting. You are far further along than most parents and the fact that you are here asking for advice speaks more than words could. "
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Reply #8 - 06/22/10  5:51am
" Thanks again, Baindegael, for the great advice and understanding. I'll let you know of my progress. On the reality show note, do you know there is a new reality show called "The Real L Word?" It's funny that you were just talking about that. I think the show is a great idea. Maybe it will show people that we're all basically the same. I guess the best success would be if it's boring, proving your point that all of our everyday lives are about the same. I think this is much better than the original L Word show, which although well-done and addicting, I don't think was a typical representation. What did you think of that show? I thought that making most of the characters rather promiscuous might have given people the wrong idea. Not that tons of straight people aren't promiscuous also, but since it was the one show on TV portraying lesbians, I didn't think it was the best idea. Also, their lives seemed overly glamorous, but I guess that's what keeps people watching. Thanks again! "
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Reply #9 - 07/23/10  1:34pm
" My son is 14 years old and just came out to us a couple of months ago. I thought I would let him lead the way. For example how many people in our family did he want to tell. I am having issue with the adult males... not talking 17 year olds... 20+ that think it's okay to befriend my child. He is infact a child. I have been looking into teen support groups for him. I have found nothing for his demographic. We live in Palm Springs, Ca (you would think there would be alot) but inface this is still a retirement community and have nothing geared to teens. I need advice in a BIG WAY!
jaymee "
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Reply #10 - 07/25/10  10:16pm
" Hello;
I have also learned that my son is gay (at 28 years old) and I have been wrestling with the news as well. The good news is that he is well adjusted, prosperous, owns his own home and is finally happy with his partner. My family cannot handle knowing that he is different- so I have chosen not to share the news with them. They are fundamentalist and very conservative. They lent little support when he was depressed and nearly suicidal. And life is too short to spend it on people who are limited and negative. It is his news to share if and when he ever decides to do so. Moreover, I want to wrap my arms around him, share his life, love him unconditionally and make sure that he feels included in all of our activities. I agree with the author who stated that life is not a dress rehearsal. We only have one lifetime to love and honor our children and get it right. "

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