Hearing that your daughter or son is gay can be challenging for any parent, but your reaction to this news will set the tone for the future of your relationship, for good or for bad. Keep in mind that your child has likely been mulling over this revelation for many months, and probably many years. The decision to tell you will usually come at a point when your daughter or son is ready to move forward and truly accept who they are.
And ideally they want you to accept them as well.
It's common, though, for parents to experience a range of emotions -- from anger to guilt to denial -- upon hearing this news. You may even feel an extreme loss, almost like a death, for the child you once knew. This feeling, if not properly attended to, can last for years and ultimately sabotage your relationship, which is why it is so important to manage your emotions right now.
This involves separating your own expectations for your son or daughter from the ones they have and desire. It also means letting go of the negative emotions that the news has brought up in you.
"Remember that someone's sexual preference is not who they are," points out Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. Also, remember that nothing has actually changed except you have found out something new about your son or daughter. If you felt you loved them before, this does not need to change.
Logically, of course, you may know this. But you may still be having a hard time accepting the news, feeling at peace with it, and knowing how to embrace your son or daughter -- even if perhaps you aren't completely comfortable with their lifestyle.
This is where The Sedona Method can be an indispensable part of managing your emotions. The Method helps you to release any feeling you may be having that is getting in the way of your acceptance of this news, and of your child.
How to Use The Sedona Method to Move Forward Emotionally
The best way to move forward, Dwoskin says, is to release on the goal of "I allow myself to love and support my son/daughter in having whatever it is they want for themselves." This may be difficult at first, however if you are willing to let go this is always possible. You can love and support them even if you do not condone their decision.
The more you let go of your resistance to your child's sexual preferences, the easier it will be for you to have a close, fulfilling relationship.
"By letting go you prevent yourself from using this new found information to sabotage your relationship," Dwoskin says, "and you also prevent yourself from forcing your son or daughter to defend their choice, which only causes them to cling to it more strongly."
When you have released your negative feelings, you will find that you can discuss your son or daughter's lifestyle with them openly, and without causing them to feel defensive. You will also have more emotional space with which to support them, unconditionally, like you always have.