Gain Insight: How Do I Handle Lesbian Daughter?
Pat Palmeri of Insight Counseling & Psychological Assessment Paris Texas, is here to answer your questions. Use the form below to ask the therapist.
I have a daughter who is 17. She’ll be turning 18 in a few weeks. I have done everything I could her with good morals and make sure she gets a good education. A few weeks ago, she told me that she likes girls, and has a long-distance relationship with a girl. I was shocked but I have tried to understand so that she doesn’t feel bad about it. I’m hoping this is just a phase she’s going through and that it will pass — but if it doesn’t, I’ll do my best to deal with it.
My problem is that my daughter insists on letting everyone know about her orientation. She wears jewelry with the rainbow colors. I keep trying to make her understand that this is HER business, and it’s not something she should advertise. But she replies with “Are you ashamed of me. I always reply, “Of course not honey.”)
Am I wrong in telling her that? What’s the correct way to deal with this?
Dear Confused parent,
If I am hearing you right, you are concerned about your daughter “coming out” and then regretting it. Once out and it isn’t real, but just an adolescent bit of rebellion, her circle of friends will see her as being homosexual the rest of her life. As a parent, I can understand your concern. However, she is close to being a legal adult and if she believes she is “gay” then she is and you are going to have to accept it. You said you would do the best you could to deal with it. I think that in your discussions with your daughter you need to stop allowing her to put you on the defensive. Each time she accuses you of being ashamed of her you need to let her know that this is not about you, but about her and you want her to be able to talk to you about anything that concerns her and will impact her life. This also means that you have to set aside any judgments you have about homosexuality. So the next time the subject comes up and your daughter accuses you of being ashamed you must stop being defensive about her accusation. Tell her this is about her and how she intends to cope with her life style given all the barriers being “gay” presents. Accepting a child’s life style is not always an easy thing, understanding it is another thing. You may never understand it, but because you love her and care for her well being you can accept what she tells you about who she is. But once you let her put you on the defensive the discussion is over. You must put it back on her and tell her that you want to be the person who will always be there for her no matter what. It is what mothers do for their children. So don’t allow the barrier of defensiveness to stop either of you when it comes to talking about the tough things we all have to deal with in our lives. Mothers can be supportive of their children or they can be critical of their children. The former keeps your children close to you throughout their lives and the latter pushes your children away. You have to decide which you will be to your daughter.