Parents should develop common goals with their teen, including being healthy and doing well in school. Parents who make an effort to know their teen’s friends and know what their teen is doing can help their teen stay safe and feel cared about. Parents can access many organizations and online information resources to learn more about how they can support their LGB teen, other family members, and their teen’s friends.Get more information from the CDC Fact Sheet: Parents’ Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens [PDF – 254 KB].But it can also be really rewarding, which is why so many people do it.Lucky for him and other gay teens in this position, there is hope!For example, research has shown that in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups.Positive parenting practices, such as having honest and open conversations, can help reduce teen health risk behaviors.
On the other hand, unsupportive parents who react negatively to learning that their daughter or son is LGB can make it harder for their teen to thrive.
Parental rejection has been linked to depression, use of drugs and alcohol, and risky sexual behavior among teens.
To be supportive, parents should talk openly and supportively with their teen about any problems or concerns.
Parents who talk with and listen to their teen in a way that invites an open discussion about sexual orientation can help their teen feel loved and supported.
Parents should have honest conversations with their teens about sex and how to avoid risky behaviors and unsafe situations. Parents who take time to come to terms with how they feel about their teen’s sexual orientation will be more able to respond calmly and use respectful language.