It may help if you have other children and can apply similar rules about curfews and activities. Those can narrowly be applied to dates. If you don’t have other children, it may help to think of how you would handle rules if they were heterosexual and build dating guidelines from that perspective.
Sleepovers are a tough spot. Some families have a discussion of what is expected and feel that works, trusting their child not to abuse their trust. Others feel that’s asking for a lot of self-control from a young person and it’s better not to allow sleepovers with the sex they are attracted to. However, most parents still allow group activities such a scout troops, lock-ins, team overnights, etc. There is some risk but a frank discussion with and trust in your child are important. Remember that hetero kids push the boundaries and get in trouble at times. Try to keep your balance.
Don’t shy away from discussing sexual health and safety. Many studies show teens want sex safety information from their parents and LGBTQ youth are no exception. Talk about age appropriate behavior, the emotional vulnerability of adolescents (including them), the importance of keeping their focus on healthy relationships. Discussions on good and bad relationships can also be important. Help them sort through behaviors of others toward them, particularly if they are not being treated well or are not treating others well.
One additional question that often comes up is “should I tell the other child’s parents their child is LGBTQ?” The answer is an emphatic NO. Each child must find their own path to openness. In addition, it may not be safe for them to come out to their own family, or they may still be struggling with their identity. We hope this doesn’t happen but you may take heat from another parent later if they are shocked by the discovery. They may even blame your child for “making mine” different. Stay focused on supporting your child as a good person, their child as a good person, and both young people’s identity as an integral part of them that should be respected. You may not be able to change another parents mind, but you can model respect and acceptance.
Further, what you say about your own child must parallel their own degree of public openness. Bear this in mind: you don’t discuss any hetero child’s sexual preferences with the parents of teens they date. Your child deserves the same privacy.
Be sure to allow your child room for friends that are not romantic interests. Not every friend is someone they want to date.
Be prepared for some mis-steps — every teen has them and LGBTQ youth are no exception. But don’t let their LGBTQ identity cause over reaction by you or others.
You may find the young people are much more at ease with LGBTQ friends than some parents. That can be very helpful in refining your own perspective.
You may find some helpful books on our Resources page.
Keep loving and navigating as a family. From twenty years down the line I can tell you it’s worth all the effort! I hope you’ll have good communication with your adult child because of the effort and understanding invested now.