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Being PRIDEful in Your Support: A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Your Adolescent

Clinical Writer: Imani Craig, LMSW

Clinical Reviewer: Jenny Ryan, LCSW-C

Being PRIDEful in your support means celebrating and affirming the diverse identities and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community while advocating for their rights and equality, fostering an inclusive and accepting environment for all. Here are a few ways you can support your adolescent!

Importance of being an Ally: Many youth feel alone as they explore their sexual orientation and gender identity. Family and friends of those in the LGBTQ+ community may not even know how to show up for them. Undeniably, there is a mix of emotions experienced when a child shares their preferred sexual orientation and gender identity, and those complex feelings are normal. Support may come naturally to some, while others may be inhibited by their long-held beliefs. Learning how to support your child, adolescent, or loved one is a process, but it is possible.

Start with Love: Many youth within the LGBTQ+ community doubt that their friends and family will support their gender identity or sexual orientation. Though it may be a process for you as a parent or ally, make sure to express your unconditional love for them. Love can be expressed verbally through words of affirmation and/or physically through a hug or embrace.

Be open to listen and learn: The LGBTQ+ community is always evolving. Become proactive about learning the common terminology and appropriate language for the community. Many of the socially created terms that were once used in the LGBTQ+ community are now seen as derogatory and cruel. A great way to show support would be to familiarize yourself with appropriate terms. 

Encourage Dialogue: Take time to show interest in your loved one’s orientation and sexuality. Show curiosity and interest without leading with skepticism or criticism. Children may not be sure about what they actually feel, so give them space to express their feelings without them feeling like there is a right or wrong answer.

Help Identify Resources: Youth in the LGBTQ+ community may not know where they can seek support. LGBTQ+-friendly environments are crucial for them to feel supported and accepted. Help support them by identifying support groups, mental health services, and LGBTQ+ events in your area.

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