So many parents envision the perfect life for their sons. They’ll be strong and masculine. They’ll dominate in high school sports. They’ll marry a wonderful woman and start a family. No matter how advanced our society becomes, age-old expectations still exist for boys. It can be crushing for parents with these expectations when their young son comes out as gay. In a sense, your dreams are crushed. It can be difficult to fully understand how a child could know so much about their own sexuality at such a young age. But it’s not for you to understand; it’s only your truth to accept.
Don’t Call It A Phase
When you tell your child that being gay is just a phase, it trivializes their feelings. You immediately send them a message that something’s wrong with them. At their age, if you question their sexuality, they’ll question it, too. They’re very impressionable, and self-doubt can easily force its way into their mindset. Don’t contribute to the problem. Listen to and support them instead.
Don’t Question Their Masculinity
It’s important for you to know that having a gay son doesn’t mean he’s no longer masculine. Masculinity is a social construct. Gay is a sexuality. One does not influence or affect the other. Your son can be gay and still play sports. He can be gay and still build a great family life later on. He can be gay and still excel all throughout school. His sexuality will not limit the scope of his life. But if you believe it will, you’ll be contributing to emotional trauma that holds him back.
Keep Communication Open
This might be scary new territory for you. But it’s also new for your son. Whatever you do, don’t shut down. Keep talking to your son and listen to his feelings and concerns. Reaffirm that you’re there to support him. If you feel you can’t handle it on your own, enlist the help of a professional. This is a crucial time to ensure your son feels supported. Any missteps here could create a lifetime of damage. Please contact me to set up an appointment if you need support or you just need someone to bounce ideas off of.
Educate Yourself and Your Son
The more you know, the more you’ll understand. Research the LGBT community. Dive into resources that will help you dive deeper into what your son is feeling. Share information with him about the LGBT community that he won’t get at school. Help to get him immersed in gay history and teach him about his community. This will help you feel more comfortable and also give him a sense of purpose. It will also let him see that you are his ally.
You have to let go of your hopes and dreams about having the “perfect son”. Know that your son is still perfect just as he is. His sexuality doesn’t make him any better or worse than he was before you found out. Reinforce that he is loved and supported. Working together with your son through his coming out experience will be ultimately rewarding for both of you.