By Ashley Taylor
This is the last article in a series that tackles one of the toughest issues that parents of LGBTQ+ children often face: how to establish open communication. In part three the author highlights the importance of consistency and shares why parents should seek out LGBTQ+ media.
Get in the habit of checking in
Make it a habit to touch base with your child. Try to be consistent. It’s important to routinely check in with them to talk about what kind of support they need. You might try bringing up a show you’ve seen or a book you’ve read that has to do with LGBTQ+ issues or other relevant topics. Connecting doesn’t need to be formal and may even develop into an activity you both enjoy and look forward to. It’s a designated time for you and your child to come together and openly share. Your child may or may not choose to engage with you, and that’s okay. If you notice that their lack of participation brings up some strong emotions for you, I encourage you to meditate on those feelings. Try to figure out if they have a deeper meaning.
As you continue to practice and adapt your communication style, remember that you’ll probably make some mistakes along the way. You may even make the same mistake more than once, but don’t be too hard on yourself. No one gets it right all the time and it’s important to take responsibility for them when they do. Reflect on the intention as well as the impact of that mistake, and consider acknowledging and apologizing to your child.
Read, Watch, Listen to LGBTQ+ Media
Get familiar with LGBTQ+ media. You can watch TV shows or movies, read books about LGBTQ+ characters or by LGBTQ+ writers, and listen to LGBTQ+ podcasts or artists. Integrating more LGBTQ+ media into your life can help you gain understanding about the experiences of LGBTQ+ folks.
A few LGBTQ+ media options are:
- Always Jane (Amazon Prime): https://www.amazon.com/Always-Jane/dp/B09JHGS3B2
- Our Flag Means Death (HBO): https://www.hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series:GYf3LzwJV98JifQEAAAAO
- Heartstopper (Netflix): https://www.netflix.com/title/81059939
- Steven Universe (Hulu): https://www.hulu.com/series/steven-universe-73e1e605-f760-470c-9a58-0148abe73270
- Dead End: Paranormal Park (Netflix): https://www.netflix.com/title/80994692
- Genderqueer: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Gender-Queer-A-Memoir/Maia-Kobabe/9 781549304002
- We have always been here by Samra Habib: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565780/we-have-always-been-here-by-samra-habib/
- Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/felix-ever-after-kacen-callender?variant=32280909578274
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374312718/allboysarentblue
- The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc: https://www.counterpointpress.com/dd-product/the-natural-mother-of-the-child/
- Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart: https://www.maginationpressfamily.org/mindfulness-kids-teens/rainbow-a-first-book-of-pride/
- This Day in June by Gayle Pitman: https://www.apa.org/pubs/magination/441B151
- Las Culturists: https://www.stitcher.com/show/las-culturistas
- Getting Curious: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/getting-curious-with-jonathan-van-ness/id1068563276
- Queery: https://www.stitcher.com/show/queery-with-cameron-esposito
- Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/making-gay-history-lgbtq-oral-histories-from-the-archive/id1162447122
- Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/just-breathe-parenting-your-lgbtq-teen/id1486711596
- Outspoken Voices – a Podcast for LGBTQ+ Families: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/outspoken-voices-a-podcast-for-lgbtq-families/id1209809304?mt=2
We hope this series on communicating with your child has provided you with some insight on why it’s so important as well as tools to make it happen in your own life. If you have additional questions and would love more resources, visit the Strong Family Alliance website at www.strongfamilyalliance.org.
Guest writer Ashley Taylor is a queer Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in anxiety, relationship challenges, and identity. They completed their Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Counseling and School Counseling from the University of New Mexico in 2016 and currently live in Round Rock, TX where they run their own counseling practice, Ashley Taylor Counseling. To learn more visit their website: https://www.ashleytaylorcounseling.com/