12 Vital Things for Parents to Say to their Gay Child


What would you say if your child told you that he or she was gay?

Maybe you haven’t experienced that but a friend of yours has.

In her new book, Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home, my friend, Author Lori Wildenberg, addresses this topic, among others that our children may present us with.

I asked her to share her wisdom on my blog for you or someone you know who may come face to face with a situation like this.

Here’s Lori’s wisdom (which can also be applied to other areas of a grown child’s behavior or choices):

“My young adult just told me he’s (or she’s) gay. Now what?”

This inquiry used to be a rare one. This past month I have spoken to three different moms seeking answers to this very question.

Broken-hearted, lonely, and confused, they are looking for camaraderie, comfort, and clarity.

Empathy and compassion I have in full supply. I can relate. My daughter is same-sex attracted.

Answers—God has those.

Each family, each child, each parent is different. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how this is played out in the family.

God is the one to trust with the answers.

Along with my listening ear, I can provide some guidelines when it comes to living with this new reality. The most important thing I tell parents is to love their child. Once the young person has uncovered his secret, he is relieved his secret is out but fears his parents will not love him. Show him that is not true. Let him (or her) know you love him.

So what does love sound like?
Say these 12 vital statements to your child in order to build and maintain a relational bridge.

  1. We are always here for you. Alleviate the young person’s fear of rejection.
  2. You are an important part of our family. Reinforce his place in the family.
  3. You are precious to God and to us. Remind him of your love and God’s love.
  4. We will still ______ (go out to lunch, go to games, enjoy each other’s company). Continue to pursue your relationship.
  5. Your same-sex attraction doesn’t define you or impede our relationship. Our identity is in Christ.
  6. We respect your right to your opinions and beliefs. Respect can happen even if you cannot support the way your child is living out his orientation or preference.
  7. We expect you to respect our right to our opinions and beliefs. Respect must occur for all.
  8. Your friends (partner) are always welcome in our home. Be a part of your child’s life and get to know those who are important to him.
  9. We have the option to say no if a request (like having a partner spend the night in the same room) makes us uncomfortable, violates our conscience, or butts up against our convictions.
  10. When we dialogue, we will talk and listen respectfully. We may need to agree to disagree.
  11. We will not lecture or debate. This will get us nowhere fast. We will show grace while speaking truth.
  12. We will not always talk about the same sex-attraction every time we get together. We all know where each individual stands on this issue. Let’s begin by talking about where we can agree or have common ground.

If you are in conflict with your child’s sexuality, don’t feel as if you have to compromise or sacrifice your beliefs to maintain a relationship with your kid. It isn’t loving to force someone to see things a particular way. Relational blackmail can go both ways: “I disown you if you are gay” or “I will walk away if you can’t accept me for who I am.”

Love one another unconditionally. Acceptance and agreement are not the same thing.

We can accept a person without being in full agreement with everything each party thinks and believes or how each person acts or feels. Families are made up of individuals who do not agree on many things. But they can agree to love and respect each other even when they disagree.

There is no reason why this issue has to divide families.

When we speak truth with gentleness and respect and show grace we give love. When you feel concerned, bring it to God. Trust Him with the details. He loves our kids more than we do.

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9

IMG_0813Lori Wildenberg is passionate about helping families build connections that last a life time. She is a licensed parent-family educator and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. She has written 4 parenting books. including her most recent: Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home She is a parent consultant, national speaker, and lead Mentor Mom  at the Moms Together Facebook Community Page. Every Monday you can find her blogging about faith and family at loriwildenberg.blogspot.com . Mostly, Lori is wife to Tom and mom of four. The Wildenbergs’ home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

18 Comments

Nadine Morrison
Reply May 30, 2017

Thank you my dear sister for sharing. Love NEVER fails. The key to every heart is GOD'S unfailing and relentless love.

    Cindi
    Reply May 30, 2017

    Thank you, Nadine, for taking the time to comment. And thank you for such kind words. It's such a touchy topic but one that we need to be aware of and respond to as Jesus would.

Beldinah
Reply May 30, 2017

Thank you for this wonderful information just on time.Today I spend my day tackling issues on relationship between boys and girls in my school as a teacher and a single mom, I found them fighting on boyfriend and girl friend matters and same sex relationship very tiring day for me but I Am happy for this message at least I know where to start from tomorrow in these cases thank you God bless you.

    Cindi
    Reply May 31, 2017

    Thank you, Beldinah, for reinforcing that this is a real issue that so many kids and adults struggle with on so many different levels. I'm glad it came at the right time to encourage you and provide some direction.

    Lori Wildenberg
    Reply June 1, 2017

    Beldinah, So glad you found this helpful. And...summer is coming!

Kay Grandgeorge
Reply May 30, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing this article. Lots of great information and wisdom. I have a brother who came out of the closet and told us he was gay. I already knew, but did not say anything. What I told him after he told us, " Bruce, This will not change my love for you. We are family and we will stay family. I don't agree with this life-style, but I love you unconditionally and always will. We have a close, knitted relationship and I have not waver from my love to him.He's not only my brother, but my best friend !!! Again, Thank you for sharing !!! God bless !!!

    Cindi
    Reply May 31, 2017

    Kay, Thank you for sharing your story about your brother and extending Jesus' love -- which is unconditional in spite of our struggles.

    Lori Wildenberg
    Reply June 1, 2017

    Kay, You are a loving and wise sister. Thank you for commenting. God bless YOU!

Ginger
Reply May 30, 2017

God Bless you for sharing this.

    Cindi
    Reply May 31, 2017

    Thank you, Ginger. :)

    Lori Wildenberg
    Reply June 1, 2017

    Love to you Ginger.

Lori Wildenberg
Reply May 30, 2017

Yes love never fails and love endures forever. Thanks so much for commenting Nadine. ~Lori

Barbie Shakespeare
Reply May 30, 2017

Great resource to have. I will put the 12 Vital Statements away in my toolbox for parents, who may need the encouragement and guidence some day. Thank you.

    Cindi
    Reply May 31, 2017

    You're welcome, Barbie. Thanks for keeping this as a resource. :)

    Lori Wildenberg
    Reply June 1, 2017

    Barbie, so glad you will be able to share this. Blessings!

Joyce
Reply June 1, 2017

Thank you Cindi and Lori for sharing such caring ways of relating with any loved one who identifies themselves as being gay. Love never fails, it is always strong and unconditional, because our God is love.

But love is not synonymous with complete silence.

My generation (under 30s) is living in an unprecedented situation where society expects us all to SELF-IDENTIFY – to be individualists, answerable to ourselves alone. This is in direct tension with the Christian relationship to God: complete surrender.

As sons and daughters of God, we are not ‘made’ either by our bodies or our minds, by our society or culture, but by continual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Being a woman (or man) means more than a sexual being, it is more than having a ‘partner’ or feeling ‘attracted to’ the other sex. It means living with God-given heart, soul and body as a new creation to the glory of God. This journey may feel more straightforward for some than it is for others. But ultimately God leads us all, moment by moment each step of our lives. God’s gift of womanhood is not based on how ‘womanly’ I may feel about myself but how I respond to His calling with ALL that I am.

Parents, counsellors, teachers in the Christian community – please, please affirm the word of God to your children no matter how ‘old’ they are, the Word that says: ‘God made them male and female, and saw that it was very good’! Don’t be passive, because children will look elsewhere for affirmation if you withhold it. You have a God-given duty to encourage us to live all that is in His irrevocable call for us.

    Cindi
    Reply June 1, 2017

    Thank you, Joyce, for your wise words and for reiterating Scripture on this matter. Your comment is especially refreshing coming from one who is under 30 and living in this generation that so often feels mixed up and unsure of who they are. Continue to speak the truth boldly.

      Lori Wildenberg
      Reply June 1, 2017

      Ditto what Cindi said. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yes we are called to speak truth and show grace. Both are important. ..and we must allow God to show us how and when. We live this out in my family. My daughter also has gender identity confusion (gender dysphoria) Such a hard struggle...

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