Mom…..Dad……..I’m Gay.

If you have had this conversation, things to remember when your child has come out to you.

Do not overreact.

If you need time to digest what you have just been told, be honest and say that. Your child didn’t just decide five minutes ago to talk to you about their sexual orientation. They have been thinking about it for quite a while. You can always think about what you can or should say, once you have said it, there is no taking it back.

I should have them talk to a counselor.

This all depends on the reason why. If you want to help your child to process what he or she is going through or thinking about, this can be a great asset. Therapy may help your child communicate with you or resolve feelings of anger, confusion, and sadness. If you want someone to”fix” your child, this is not a good idea. There are no reputable studies that show reparative therapy to be effective. Reparative therapy to change sexual orientation does not work and will only make your child feel worse about themselves. It can cause depression, anxiety, or self-destructive behavior. In addition groups such as the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Counseling Association have deemed this type of therapy to be unethical and indeed harmful to individuals.

Get the facts.

There are many resources available to assist parents. I don’t know many parents who have done a lot of research on homosexuality unless it was for a school assignment or until they had a reason to. Your child is your reason. This is one of those areas where you do not want to assume or fly by the seat of your pants. There are many myths out there and you should arm yourself with the facts so that you do not harm the relationship you have built with your child.

Joseph Champion is a Graduate Counseling Intern within the Stepping Stones program at Step By Step Counseling, LLC.