I Kissed a Girl

I kissed a girl!” Someday, your teenage daughter might drop that bombshell in the middle of a peaceful breakfast, a conversation about something else entirely, or even a knock-down-drag-out fight. How you handle her disclosure can make a big difference in your relationship. These simple tips can help you get past your daughter’s revelation and may even bring your relationship closer than it has ever been.

Stay calm.
Most parents I know are not homophobic, but ask them about their own kid being gay and they’ll kick into panic mode. They know that gay people can have a tough time at school and in the community, and nobody wants to think about their child, their baby girl, being picked on or hurt. The instinct to deny and protect is overwhelming, but for your daughter’s sake, you must fight it. So take a few deep breaths and count to ten.

Ask for clarification.
Your first question, in a neutral tone of voice, should be, “You kissed a girl. What does that mean to you?” You might get several answers including, “It means I’m a lesbian – duh!” to “I don’t know, me and Stace were just fooling around and we tried it once,” to “Oh, Mom, I’ve been going crazy trying to decide what it means and what I want.”

Respect your daughter’s privacy, but offer to help if you can.
If your daughter identifies as a lesbian, be sure she knows you love her and will support her whatever her sexual orientation might be. If she’s confused, you might say something like, “Honey, a lot of kids your age are trying to figure things out. That’s perfectly normal. I’m ready to listen to anything you have to say if you want to talk it out with me.”

Offer resources.
No matter how open-minded and responsive you are, most teens would rather amputate their right leg than talk about sex with their mothers, so don’t be insulted if your daughter doesn’t want to talk to you. Instead, suggest some resources. For instance, you might offer to pay for counseling, not to change your daughter but to help her decide what she wants. You might direct her to a gay and lesbian community center or offer to buy her some books like Ellen Bass’s Free Your Mind! Or The Journey Out: A Guide for and about Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens by Rachel Pollack and Cheryl Schwartz.

Respect your daughter’s privacy.
Ask your daughter before you tell anyone else in or out of the house, including her father, about your conversation. This allows her to keep control of her coming-out process, if she is indeed coming out. If kissing another girl was just an experimentation she doesn’t want to repeat, she won’t have to be worried about who else in the family knows.

Keep the lines of communication open.
Remind your daughter frequently that you are available if she needs or wants to talk to you. Don’t just focus on her sexual orientation–encourage conversation about other things that are important in her life as well. At first getting her to talk may be a little like getting an elephant to tap dance, but once your daughter knows that you are concerned and care about her–all of her, not just the part that kisses girls–chances are she will warm up to you and start talking.

Whatever your daughter’s adult sexual orientation turns out to be, you can vastly improve your communication and relationship with her by following these simple tips.

Comments (One comment)

This was a great read..

I have only one complaint – I, who am quite confused about my sexual orientation, also have no contact whatsoever with my mother, which is a pity concerning this especially…

Because I don’t feel like I can talk to my father about it, eventhough I talk to him about mostly everything.

I’m really confused these days.. months, actually… or rather should I say, denial? I don’t know.

But nevertheless, this was great to read. xD

Twiggy Stitches / September 30th, 2007, 8:14 pm / #

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