My daughter is struggling with her sexual identity. Any advice on how to support her?
Last Updated: 11/02/2020 at 3:23am
Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC
Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.
Top Rated Answers
Show her that she is valid. One of the worst things a parent can do is to be unsupportive. Believe me.
If I were your daughter, I would want to hear that you loved and supported and accepted me no matter what. Telling her you're proud of her and are always there if she needs to talk is another really helpful thing. I think it would also be helpful to do some research on the LGBTQ community, not necessarily to advise her, but just so you understand what she's trying to work through and understand the terminology. PFLAG might be a really great resource for you.
First, I want you to know that I'm so glad hat she has a supportive parent. Things you can do are casually letting her know that you will accept her and love her, and that you don't care who she loves, making sure she knows where you stand in your beliefs about queer people, and letting her know that it's okay not to know, and not pressuring her to tell you or talk. She probably will want to eventually, and if she has questions let her ask, but let her talk on her own time. This isn't a universal guide, just a few things I picked up from being queer.
I asked a person (light) why he wanted to become opposite gender. He replied " from my childhood, I like girl's stuff." Sometimes we (our society) influences us badly. For example, girls like dolls and make up but boys like football. It makes us confused. Because if a girl like boys stuff she will think she does not act like girls. But our definition of gender identity may wrong. You may advice your daughter " do not try to identify your sexual identity right now. Try to focus on very important aspects of this planet such as knowledge, proper education." More people gain knowledge , more they find themselves. In the right time, she will able to know what she really wants. She can travel and explore the world. She will able to know more about the purpose of life
Struggling with your sexuality can be difficult and confusing and can often leave you feeling alone and as though you don't quite fit in. Being there for your daughter and supporting her is one of the best ways you could support her. You could maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help and show her that you will support her through it
It's great that you wish to support her! However, the only thing you can do really is let her find her own path, and be open to whatever she chooses. Whether she chooses anything non-binary or binary. Just be there for her no matter what, and let her know that.
Listen, listen, listen! Trust and believe what she says, but let her take the lead concerning how much and what she chooses to disclose to you. It's wonderful that she's trusted you with this information! There is a lot of information out there, some good and some bad, but PFLAG and GLSEN are great options (look for anything with the dot org ending). Most of all, accept your daughter for exactly who she is at this time and beyond. She hasn't changed just because she's struggling with this aspect of her life! The clearer you can make that to her, the better.
A good way to support her is allow her to explore her sexual identity and to support her choices in partners, as long as they pass the good-human check of course. She may need some additional support if she experiences discrimination by her peers or people she looks up to (mentors, teachers, etc.). I don't recommend telling her she is confused, but find ways to validate how she feels. Also sexual identity can be complex, you can find individuals attractive no matter what your sexual identity is. There is nothing wrong with trying out different labels to figure out which one fits the best. There might be some push back from people who think otherwise, but only she can define how she wants to identify as.
Listen to what she has to say and make sure she knows that you support her love her with whatever decision. Tell her she is not going to lose you at whatever she has to say. Help her understand that it is okay to like girls or boys or both. If that is what you believe. Also I would say think about how your parents would react if you were to tell then what she told you. W either it be a good or bad experience...just take that into consideration of how you want her to know you are there.
Let her know that you love her and are here for her. Make sure she has a strong support system and constantly check up on her to let her know you are here for her. It can be hard and confusing to figure out your sexual identity and can cause depression. Make sure to take her shopping or other activities and let her know that she can express however she chooses. Self-expression can help a lot during a sexual identity crisis so make sure she has a way to express herself. Make yourself a trusted person who she can always come to.
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