How to ‘Come Around’ to your kid coming out

Author Anne Dohrenwend with her son Leo. Dohrenwend is a professor and Ph.D. in counseling psychology.

Fighting for the rights of LGBTQ Americans have initiated kiss-ins, parades, protests, marches and a wide array of fiery and bitter polemics from all sides of the political spectrum. But the public battles often begin with a quieter reality: the first time an LGBTQ person comes out to his or her parents. “Coming Around: Parenting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Kids,” a new book by Dr. Anne Dohrenwend, seeks to make that first conversation — and the subsequent ones — as relaxed and positive as possible.

“I want to give people a place to start,” Dohrenwend says of her book, which is written for liberal and conservative parents alike. “Often people do come around. After accepting and learning and loving your child who is gay, it breaks down the stereotypes.”

For Steve Scott, there was a long pause at the other end of the line 11 years ago when he called to tell his religious parents that he was gay. Now, Scott is a member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and an active participant in the push for gay rights in California. For Scott, the conversation that began with telling his parents he was gay continues with the fight for marriage equality. Last week, Scott sent off a package with books and pamphlets for his father in Nebraska after the two engaged in a heated debate.

“It’s kind of an ongoing conversation; even now we’re still discussing issues,” Scott says. “I realize and understand it’s very tough for him. It’s something he’s actively trying to comprehend and register.”
According to Dohrenwend, Scott and his father are doing the most important thing: communicating. It is vital between parents and their LGBTQ child of any age, at all stages of the coming-out process.

“Kids are more resilient when they feel their parents accept them,” says Dohrenwend, who notes that this acceptance is particularly important when they come out earlier in life.

Tips for parents

How to communicate that, whatever your child’s sexual orientation, you will never withdraw your love:
   
Don’t try to change your child. It is unproductive to force children to be something that they are not.
   
Take a stance against discrimination and hate. Parents of LGBTQ children don’t need to march in parades or be active politically, but they should take a stance against discrimination.
   
Don’t give uninvited advice. Dohrenwend suggests that a good way to parent any child, especially an adult child, is to give less and less advice that isn’t asked for. Respecting boundaries is important.
   
Get to know your child’s friends and partner, and try to make them feel comfortable in your home. This is how parents of LGBTQ children can make sure their children stay near them and the communication lines stay open.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…