CounterCultural Kids (Episode 97)
Do you have a countercultural child who struggles with fitting in? How do you support a child that comes out as queer or makes a lifestyle choice that differs from what your family follows? It's a tough thing to navigate, and we answer a listeners question in this weeks' episode.
Countercultural: Differing from the mainstream "norm"
Help! My Child is Gay!
Recently we got this listener question in:
What do you do when your child tells you they are gay/lesbian? How do you help them navigate those around them that might not agree with their sexual orientation and choice (relatives and/or peers)? How do I as their parent support them?
So let's dive in - these are some muddy, muddy waters that go way deeper than a podcast episode, but we hope it paves the way for more conversation in your home!
Pin for later:
We're coming up on our 100th episode, and we need your help! Check out further down to give us your ideas
Where are we this week?
It's our birthday week! My birthday was Sunday, June 2nd, and Nathan's was Monday, June 3rd. Yep, we're Gemini twins through and through!
Had a great birthday weekend taking our middle, Ellie, out to eat and then to see Aladdin in 3D. Hey, it may be our bdays, but this girl loves to be a part of celebrations, and we loved having her!
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
Dig deep into "WHY"
Before you even figure out how to navigate what to do when your child "comes out" or professes a new religion, diet, obsession, etc, you first need to really sit with it and get to the root of WHY they are taking a stand at this moment.
What your children believe as true in that moment may shift as they learn and grow. That's the same for all of us, right? Keep this in mind as your child takes a stand on things that are important to them.
You can have a stance/belief without having to scream it from the rooftops. There will people who will be okay with it, and those who are not. But those opinions don't have to define you as a human being.
Is this countercultural stance for attention, or a deeply rooted element that is a core of who they are?
Weigh the cost
What does this mean for them? Can they handle bullying and understand the seriousness of what this can be? Are they ready to stand up as who they are despite it?
Challenge their belief. Challenge, ask questions, and help them navigate how they will handle kick-back. Play out scenarios and help them explore how they can respond.
Some additional resources for you
- Support for families of the LGBTQ Community - PFLAG
- Demystifying LGBT+ Terms for Parents and Allies
- Am I Gay? A Guide for People Who Question Their Sexual Orientation
- Could your child be gay (And how to handle it)
- Parent and expert feedback on "my 9-yr-old thinks she's gay"
- When your child says he/she is gay
- Curious what personality style your children are, and they aren't yet five? Check out the "Family DISCovery Playbook"
Take it slow
Now, when your daughter states she's a lesbian or your son says he's destined to become a buddhist monk and you're conservative Southern Baptist, it can be tempting to freak out. Don't.
First off, simply stating something like this is just that - a statement. Not a lifestyle adoption. You want to listen to your children. AND, you also want to give them grace to feel things out without permanency.
This is an intricate dance to weigh the seriousness of what your children say, and help them navigate all the waters that come with it. When it comes to belief systems, those can change so much with what we learn over time. And even with sexuality...this isn't an argument about right/wrong, innate vs. environmental...this is about the fact that stating there is interest in the same gender is a door into exploration - not a black and white declaration.
Help - We Need YOU!!
We're coming up on our 100th episode, it just dawned on me that this is our 2-year anniversary of having the podcast, Nathan and I have our 15th wedding anniversary the end of this month...we need to do something big! (Clearly my focus has not been on marketing - geesh)
I have a new idea. It's a fun one. It involves community and all kinds of goodness. I want to hear from you and what you want added!
I'm building up to something big in July, and I want you in it. We've talked about moving away from FaceBook, and quite honestly, I got more response from you on that than many of my other posts in there! It seems I'm not the only one sick and tired of not seeing what I want and getting overwhelmed by the distractions and algorithms on social media.
What would it take YOU to join a membership community focused on intentional family?
Steps before you stand
Remember, it's not set in stone because it's stated once. Or even more than once! This is an excellent article on how first steps when your child says they're gay.
- First off, validate. Simply hear them out. Give them the floor to express anything they need to. It may be this is all that's needed at this time. Give it space before you approach it again, and see if/when it comes up.
- Then, ask questions that get to the why around it. Play out scenarios with your child. Dig deep with questions to help them process through it all.
- Look for consistency. Are their actions and lifestyle affirming what they say?
- Look for unrest - are they content just as things are? Are they curious and unsure? Depressed and anxious? What is their demeanor like, and how much is it based on this countercultural stance?
- If they stand strong, then dig deep into the education. Learn all about it. In the situation of homosexuality, there are so many support resources to help you navigate it.
"According to the American Psychological Association: Adolescence can be a period of experimentation, and many youths may question their sexual feelings. Becoming aware of sexual feelings is a normal developmental task of adolescence. Sometimes adolescents have same-sex feelings or experiences that cause confusion about their sexual orientation. This confusion appears to decline over time, with different outcomes for different individuals."
From "curious and questioning", Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama
Your Weekly Challenge:
Breathe. Man oh man if you have a child who "comes out", don't start in reaction mode. Know that this simply opens the door to conversation. And ultimately, what our kids want more than anything else is love and acceptance by their parents. Simply being willing to navigate this with them can be the biggest step in the right direction you can take.
Love your kiddos just as they are. Get support when you struggle with them. And remember grace in it all. We are all learning the ropes of this parent and child dance together, and sometimes we have to learn the steps as we go.