Resources for LGBT and Their Families:

Disclaimer: The following websites are provided for information purposes ONLY and are NOT personally endorsed by Dr. Sally Williams.
• Lead with Love: http://www.leadwithlovefilm.com/pdf/resources.pdf
• LGBT Youth: http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm
• NARTH: http://narth.com/
• National Organization for Women: http://www.now.org/issues/lgbi/resources.html
• P-Flag: http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=539
• True Colors: http://www.ourtruecolors.org/Resources/Reading/straight-parents.html

Here is the final extension of Tips for Parents Struggling with the Sexual Orientation of their LGBT Children. This information is designed to assist you in developing skills that will enable you to love, reconcile, and restore the relationship you once had with your LGBT child.

7. Join a Support Group

One of the best ways to stay encouraged is to surround yourself with people who can provide support because they are experiencing the same situation and can relate to your experiences. P-FLAG (Parents – Family of Lesbians and Gays) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting parents, family members, and LGBT who are struggling. The organization has been in existence for many years and has chapters in cities throughout the world. For information regarding services and chapter locations, go to their website: http://www.pflag.org.

If the religious organization where you attend offer counseling services that are specific to LGBT challenges, contact them for an appointment. Understand that you may need to commit to attend more than a couple of meetings in order to understand how the group could support you.

8. Love – Reconcile – Restore

Recognize that the purpose for the emotional work you are committing to do is to love, reconcile, and restore your relationship with your child. This means that you will need to resist the urge to change, condemn, slander, scream, or disown your child because their life doesn’t agree with your principles. Working through your feelings to accept the fact that your child has the right to live their life the way they wish without your judgment and criticism. You are to love them, not judge them. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with their life but it does mean that you should come to terms with yourself not being in charge of what they do or who they love. Remember that during conversations with your child, seek to understand their point of view without judgment. Ask open-ended questions for the purpose of gaining better understanding. Watch your tone of voice and body language and above all, let your child know that you love him or her and are willing to work through your differences.

Should you have a personal experience you’d like to share with everyone, comments on this blog are welcomed.

Here is an extension of Tips for Parents Struggling with the Sexual Orientation of their LGBT Children. This information is designed to assist you in developing skills that will enable you to love, reconcile, and restore the relationship you once had with your LGBT child.

4. Take Time to Process What You’ve Heard

Your child shared some the news regarding their sexual orientation that you were not prepared to hear. Now you are left to deal with the shock, hurt, and consequences of the conversation. There are so many overwhelming emotions that your mind may not know how to control. Before starting a new conversation with your child that may be hurtful to both of you, stop and ask for time to process the information. Afterwards, retreat to a quiet place to think about all that was said. In that time, you may have many emotions flow through you. Continue to take time alone to get mental clarity. If you are a spiritual person, this would be a good time to pray, meditate, and spiritually listen for instructions regarding how to move forward in loving and restoring the relationship you had with your child if it is now broken.

5. Monitor Yourself

Awareness of your child’s sexual orientation may trigger many emotions over a period of time. Therefore, recognize that until you have fully processed the information you’ve heard, there may be times that you feel depressed, angry, agitated, or physically ill. Monitor yourself accordingly and share what is happening inside you with someone you trust. Consider starting each day with spiritual work such as prayer, meditation, and journaling to monitor your reactions and progress. Remember that your mental state of mind can also have an affect on your physical health. If you are not eating, drinking alcohol excessively, or displaying other destructive behaviors, it may be time to get professional assistance to help you manage your life.

6. Get Professional Help If Needed

When challenging situations happen that you are not able to mentally resolve alone or are too overwhelming to deal with, it could be time to get help from a trained professional. Seek treatment services with a licensed therapist or religious leader that specializes in counseling LGBT families. Do your research and have a set of questions prepared to ask potential counselors about their experience in dealing with your situation. Once you’ve selected the person who will provide you and possibly your family with counseling services, make sure that you commit to following their prescribed recommendations.

Look for additional tips, go to: http://www.Dr-Sally.com and click the The Blog link.

Over the next several days, I will be providing tips to parents of LGBT who are struggling with the news of their child’s sexual orientation. The purpose of these blogs is to encourage and share how you can effectively do three things: Love, Reconcile, and Restore your relationship with your child.

The topics are as follows.

1. Listen Empathetically
2. Control Your Emotions and Body Language
3. Don’t Blame Yourself or Your Child
4. Take Time to Process What You’ve Heard
5. Monitor Yourself
6. Get Professional Help if Needed
7. Join a Support Group
8. Love – Reconcile – Restore

1. Listen Empathetically

One of the most challenging things you can do upon hearing any shocking, hurtful, and disturbing news is remain calm and listen for the purpose of understanding, rather than judging. When hurt or shocked by unexpected news or events, the first reaction may be to strike back with harsh words or actions that may leave both of you angrier, frustrated, and damaged. Therefore, resist the temptation of lashing out with your words or taking swift action such as putting your child out of your home, cutting them off from finances or other methods you may use to control their behaviors. Listen to what is being shared with you from the perspective of ONLY wanting to gain an understanding of “what” is being said to you, not “why”. Ask open-ended questions to gain more information and check for understanding as your child is speaking. For example, you may say, “What I’m understanding you tell me is….” Resist saying, “Why are you doing this to me!”

2. Control Your Emotions and Body Language

According to Franklin Covey (2005) only 7% of the words we say denote what we actually feel. Fifty-five percent of communication is reflected through body language and 38% is revealed in how we say our words including the tone of voice and style used. Therefore, it is highly important that your words, tone, and body language match the words you speak. Most likely, your child knows you well enough to detect any negativity in these three areas of communication. Should you display hostile body language or voice tone while hearing them out, immediately explain your emotions and ask for some time to process what you’ve heard. For example, you may say, “I know that I sound upset right now because I wasn’t prepared to hear this, but know that I love you. I will need some time to process this before saying anything more OK.”

3. Don’t Blame Yourself or Your Child

Upon learning of your child’s sexual orientation, one of the first things you may be tempted to do is blame yourself or your child. Your mind may start playing out “IF” scenarios such as:

– If I hadn’t divorced his father / mother, then this would not have happened
– If we had spent more time together then…
– If he hadn’t been sexually abused by….
– If she had more friends ….

Stop! Realize that reason that your child is gay is not something that should be attributed to a specific event or feeling. Your mind is looking for answers as to why you are coming up with the ifs in the first place. This is why it is so important to empathetically listen to your child to get a better understanding from their point of view. Yes, what you hear may be hurtful, disappointing, and at the time, you may not understand how you’re going to recover from the news, but having the desire to love, reconcile, and restore your relationship should be top priority in your conversations and actions with your child.

Resources:
Covey, F. (2005) The 7 habits of highly effective people. http://www.FranklinCovey.com.

Here is the final part of the series of Confidence Tips for Gays with Difficult Parents. I will also start a blog entitled “Tips for Parents of LGBT that are Struggling”, so look for these in the coming week!

8.) Support friends who have parents that struggle with their child’s sexual identity:
You may find that supporting a friend immediately increases your self-esteem. When we tell friends about our own challenges with the goal of helping them, this is a huge confidence booster. Why? Because our friends are usually appreciative of the advice and will reciprocate in other areas where need encouragement.

9.) Dress like you love yourself:
Many times we expect love from others while forgetting to love ourselves. So, pick your outfits like you are dressing a person that you love more than anyone in the world. When you look good, you feel more self-assured and others will respect your confidence.

10.) Adopt Accepting Parents:
If all else fails and your parents have made it clear that they are willing to kick you out of the house or disown you, based on your sexual identity, it may be time to seek support elsewhere. Or, if your parents are simply unsupportive, outside support could be desirable. Ideally, you will not love someone else’s parents as much as you love your own. However, in some cases, you may want to find friends who have accepting parents. It may be a good idea to tell your adopted parents that you need their support. Making your needs explicit is important because many people love to feel like they are helping someone. Therefore, if you are honest about your need for support, you could inspire your adopted parents to embrace you.

This is a continuation of the first blog with the same title I provided a couple of days ago that could be helpful to Gays that are having difficulty with their parents. These tips are meant to boost your confidence and may help strengthen what could be a long road to a loving relationship building between the parent and LGBT.

4.) Seek a licensed therapist/psychologist: These people can assist you with gaining your self-confidence and put you on a healthy mental path. Everyone’s life is different and some people have to make huge life-decisions in their teen years. But whatever your life requires, therapists can help you sort things out.

5.) Read Books that relate to gay topics of interest:
Reading books is a great way to discover how other people have navigated through your same situation unscathed. You could even find some books for your parents to read, as this could help them struggle less with your sexual identity. Go to my website @ http://www.dr-sally.com to get more information regarding my book entitled: OMG My Child Is Gay!

6.) Attend help-groups and events that support the LGBT community: P-FLAG at (www.pflag.org); and The Gay & Lesbian Center at (www.laglc.org) are two good resources.

7.) Find a job where you will support the LGBT community: It may be a good idea to surround yourself with likeminded individuals who think the same way and feel the same way. You can pick up some confidence tips from others who are in your same situation.

Over the next few days, I will be posting some tips that could be helpful to Gays that are having difficulty with their parents. These tips are meant to boost your confidence and may help strengthen what could be a long road to a loving relationship building between the parent and LGBT.

1)    Create a list of your strengths:

Lists allow you to put your positive accomplishments at the forefront of your mind while leaving less room for negative self-talk.

2)    Increase your friendship network:

Friends can build and rebuild your self-esteem. Be sure to keep companions in your circle that highlight your positive accomplishments as well as give you constructive criticism for your weaknesses. However, be careful of those who put you down for your shortcomings, as these people may have low self-esteem themselves. You don’t want someone else’s low self-worth to trickle into your confidence-space.

3)    See yourself as mature as your parents:

As small children, we tend to idolize our mothers and fathers. However, as we grow up we increasingly realize that parents have imperfections. Some people’s weakness involves the rejection of a child’s sexual identity, once it has been discovered or vocalized. Thus, if you view your parents as a work-in-progress, as opposed to the evil ones who hate you for being gay, you will display a level of maturity that could eventually inspire them to change to accept and love you as you are. Or, your maturity could influence support from your parents’ friends; you never know, these individuals may play a powerful role in assisting your parents with loving you.

When God Says No

Posted: July 18, 2013 in Faith, God, love, Spiritual, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you could visualize yourself having it? Just thinking about the possibility of having “it” no matter what “it” represented such as a person in your life, a new job, a new car, a dream vacation, a baby, a better home or whatever the desire, you actually got so excited that all you thought about was this new gift?

You then prayed and asked God to give it to you and while waiting for His answer, which you KNEW in your heart would be YES, you shared your passion with others and had them agree with you to pray for the “it” too. Then, after some time had passed, the answer came back as NO. At first when it was confirmed through whatever means that no is said such as the loan application wasn’t approved, someone else got the job, or the person who you hoped would be your mate didn’t work out, you were devastated! Why would God say no?! Why would He deny you the very thing that you needed to help you make more money, keep you from being lonely, move out of the horrible neighborhood, or advance your life’s dream? Why was He allowing you to suffer one more day in the situation you were in without giving you the desires of your heart?

I’ve had this happen to me more than times than I can remember, including this week. However, now that I’m more mature, I understand that God always knows what is best for us and can see our entire life span when we can only see in ‘this’ moment. Just because He said no now, doesn’t mean never. Even if it does mean never, there is a good reason for it so the best thing to do is remember these three things when you become disappointed after God has said no: (1) God knows where you are; (2) God knows what you need, and (3) God knows how to get to you when He has something for you.

Stay in faith and relax. Be thankful regardless of how you feel right now and know – God is always in control and loves you.

Without blurting it out loud, I thought to myself, “Five years old? What does a five year old child know about being gay?!” During those quick seconds of my son’s revelation to me about his sexual orientation, I literally felt my heart drop! The mother inside me was screaming “NO!!!” Yet, I was very careful not to allow the tone of my voice to change as our conversation on the phone progressed. I had to call on all my training in psychology to help me formulate my next words to him.

Written to educate, uplift, and encourage parents and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT), OMG My Child is Gay! is an emotional, heart-gripping, true story of how I, a Christian, Psychologist, and mother dealt with the devastating news of my son coming out. The 90-page book shares my personal story; provides scientific research regarding homosexuality, relationship building – which shares how to build a loving and caring relationship in spite of what may be a painful experience. OMG My Child is Gay! is also designed to help siblings, experiencing difficulty accepting LBGT, discover how to cope with their emotions and still provide much needed emotional support.

It is my hope that through this book, families will be able to build long-lasting and loving relationships.

OMG My Child Is Gay!