Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Year's Long-Lasting Resolutions




The Weight Watchers sign-up line is out the door on January 2nd.  Gym memberships escalate after January 1st.  However, the common resolutions of losing weight and commitment to exercise usually peter out by February.
However, dedication as a parent to your child should be forever.  Here is a checklist of resolutions that straight parents can get started on in 2016:
Physical Health of Your LGBT Child:
·      Make sure your child has a gay-friendly doctor who sees adolescents.
·      Have you talked to your child about safe sex? More than once?
·      If you know your child is sexually active, make sure he is tested
for HIV and STDs at your local community center .

                        Mental Health:
·      Does your child seem happy? Or does he/she isolate him/herself ? You want to give him privacy, but he shouldn’t be shutting out the family.
·      If your child is depressed, look for a therapist who has a positive view of same-sex attractions and doesn’t espouse conversion or fix-it therapy.
            You can find one at http://www.aglp.org                                                 
                                     Does your child have friends? See if his school has a GSA ( Gay-Straight Alliannce). Encourage him to communicate with other gay youth groups on-line  such as http://www.outproud.org
                                    If the school is teaching abstinence-only sex education meant for heterosexuals only, have him get information from a testing center.
                                    Find out if your child is being bullied at school.  Most LGBT students are.  Talk to his teacher, principal, guidance counselor.  If you’re not satisfied with their comments, you may have to complain to a higher authority such as the Superintendent of Schools.  Know your rights. Check the American Civil Liberties Union:  http://www.aclu.org
                        For Straight Parents:
·      Listen to Your Child. Be a shoulder to lean on.  What he’s telling you may be painful to hear, but he’s living the drama.
·      A hug is always welcome.  Whatever you can do to show unconditional love and acceptance is always appreciated.
·      Show as much interest in your gay child’s social life as you would his heterosexual sibling.  You don’t want to give mixed messages.
If you’re finding the acceptance of his/her sexual orientation overwhelming, get help through PFLAG (Parents of Lesbians and Gays), a gay-friendly therapist of your own and communication with other straight parents “who’ve been there” raising LGBT children.
                        Some of these resolutions may seem challenging, but practiced over time, will become easier.  Besides, parenting, like anything else important in your life, takes ongoing effort.