Posts Tagged ‘loving attitude’

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.

Have you ever had a family member or friend that only called you when something was wrong or they had a complaint?  How does that make you feel? If you’re like me, my answer is that I’m happy for the invention of caller ID and voice mail because I don’t have to answer the phone.

What if you are the one always finding something wrong to complain to others about? Don’t you think that when people see you coming they are automatically ready to turn the other way to ignore you but don’t out of the kindness of their heart?

Why don’t you call me when things are great sometimes! Not only when you’re in a crisis and need help from me to take you somewhere, give you some money, or do something extra that I don’t want or care to do. Just talk to me and share your feelings about life. Provide me with internal love and concern and not just talk to me about your daily problems that need me to fix them!

Appreciate me for who I am to you not only for what I can do for you! Stop treating me as if all I am is a cash machine or dumping ground for your drama filled life. I don’t like it nor do I wish to participate in anything that remotely looks like you don’t care about me!

If someone were treating you with disrespect or lacked any loving attitude, could you say any of the above to them? Would it be fair to tell them exactly how you felt especially if they did it over and over again?  You may think “yes” I sure could tell them without any difficulty at all!

So, then tell me, why doesn’t God tell us the same when we do these things to Him?