Dealing with your child's sexual orientation

Teenagers are defining not only their personality and self-identity but also their sexuality. Teens want an answer to the eternal question, "Who am I?" Part of the answer lies in their sexual self. The teen years can be a confusing time. Hormones, cultural and peer pressures, and fear of being different can cause many teens to question themselves in many areas, including their sexual orientation.

During the teen years, it is normal to develop same-sex "crushes." Some teens may even experiment sexually. However, these early experiences do not necessarily mean a teen is homosexual.

For some teens, however, same-sex attractions do not fade but only grow stronger. Many homosexuals first become aware of their orientation during the teen years. Being a homosexual often makes the teen years even more difficult.

Many parents have difficulty accepting that their child may be homosexual. Even if you are struggling with this possibility, remember the importance of conveying unconditional love to your teen. If you or other family members are having difficulties with your teen's sexual orientation, organizations such as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) may be helpful.

Last Updated: April 22, 2008

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