Many Parents Struggle for Years to Adjust After Learning a Child's Sexual Orientation

Posted on June 21, 2019

Youths who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) may experience rejection and disapproval from parents who struggle to accept their sexual orientation. This could be detrimental to these LGB individuals, as negative responses from their parents can lead to health problems.

A large sample size of 1,200 parents of LGB youths were surveyed to assess the difficulty they experienced after learning about their children’s sexual orientation. The parents were asked to complete questionnaires on an LGB website.

Results indicated that parents whose children ‘came out’ to them two years ago struggled with the news as much as parents who learned about it recently. This shows that parents often have difficulty digesting such information for years. Parents who knew about their children’s sexual orientation for 5 or more years are found to experience the least distress. Additionally, parents of older children have a tougher time adjusting in comparison to parents of younger children.

Most parents take a long time to accept their children’s sexual orientation because they are concerned about the consequences that comes with being an LGB individual, such as bullying. Some parents have also imagined their children having a heterosexual future and need time to change the way they think. If the LGB youths face rejection or criticism from their parents, the relationship between them will be strained. As a result, the youths might have a greater tendency to abuse substances or be diagnosed with depression and other health issues.

However, many parents still love their children after learning about their sexual orientation and come to accept it after some time. The findings from this study can help parents to adjust more quickly and be more supportive of LGB youths, but more research is needed to analyze the changes over time that lead up to successful adjustment and acceptance of LGB individuals.

Category(s):LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) Issues, Parenting

Source material from Science Daily