Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Year's Resolution That Lasts Beyond Next Year

A New Year’s Resolution That Lasts Beyond Next Year

As the holiday season comes to a close, New Year’s resolutions abound as we typically vow to lose that extra five pounds we gained. Many of us go to a Pilates class for our “Core,” only to drop out after two weeks.
But how about a plan for a core that will have durable, meaningful effects on your relationship with your gay child?
 To do this, you need to get information and support to understand what your child is experiencing. Get suggestions for books and internet sites that can enlighten you and broaden your knowledge.
·     Educate yourself.  While you can not know what it feels like to be gay as a straight parent, ask your child to educate you.This is a role reversal; now your child is the one who has more information!While this new role may make you uncomfortable at first, keep these thoughts to yourself until you can find a support group.
·      Join a support group and find others who have coped with and conquered the same negative feelings of failure, helplessness, depression and anxiety you may be feeling.PFLAG(Parents of Lesbians and Gays) has nationwide meetings where you will find advice and role models.
·     Offer unconditional love and support.That’s what your teen wants. It’s not about YOU! He/she may be experiencing shame, loss, depression, knowing he is disappointing you. Put your withered dreams on the back burner and focus on your child’s happiness.  Teens don’t like to be different, and a gay teen constantly fears being singled out.
·     Accept that your child is gay/ bisexual. Don’t try to change his orientation so you feel better.The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University found that positive family attitudes and behaviors protect GLB kids against depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
With documented facts like those, why not make a resolution to develop a spiritual core with your gay child?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Aids Awareness Starts at Home

You know your kids, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are sexually active. Sure, they’ve heard of HIV that causes AIDS, but because they’re teens, they think they are immortal and will not transmit or “catch” the virus. They are too young to remember the scourge of the 80’s that rendered AIDS an automatic death sentence. No longer incurable, AIDS is still infecting people faster than they can be tested and treated. Half of new HIV infections in U.S. occur in people under 25. Did you know that 3 in 4 Americans don’t have the disease under control?
Teens Want and Need More Information
The Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed 1500 American teens, ages 12 to 17, this past summer and found that all teens regardless of age, sex, race/ethnicity, even if not sexually active, want to know more.
According to U.S. government statistics, 62% of teens, aged 15 to 17, say they have considered getting tested for HIV, and only 48% said they would know where to go for a test should they want to do so.
Whether it’s a HIV test that shows results in 20 minutes or a test that takes three days to conclude, parents should find the nearest testing centers through Planned Parenthood’s website: http://Planned Parenthood.org and direct their children to them. Get the facts about HIV from a reliable source such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://cdcinfo @cdc.gov) and share your findings with your teen. Even if infected, the earlier your teen starts on antidotes, the quicker his/her treatment will “kick in.” It’s not enough to talk about condoms preventing HIV.  
Does your teen know how to use a condom properly? It may be “cool” to carry one in your wallet, but does he know how to use it? Have him/her practice putting and taking off a condom on a banana. Bananas don’t have Erectile Dysfunction.
While YOU may squirm or blush instructing your child, you can be assured that you are fulfilling your parental duty. Make these dialogues ongoing about sexual disease prevention, not just on World AIDS day, December 1.