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Would you parent your straight 17-year-old daughter that way? Stephen Russell, an adolescent psychologist at the University of Arizona, says that he and his partner, Scott Neeley, have faced many challenges while parenting their gay son, Enrique, 18.
While some of these trials have been similar to those of parenting a straight teen, others have proven to be uniquely related to their son’s sexual orientation.
But experts say that processing a child’s proclamation of their sexuality is only the beginning of the journey for moms and dads.
And while there are an increasing number of families who embrace their child’s homosexuality and are supportive, loving, and even unfazed by the revelation, it’s a turn of the tide that leaves some concerned about whether or not there is an understanding of the nuances of parenting a gay teen.
' She would ask them a hundred questions, and that was her only information about how my life might turn out," Russo says.
For nearly a decade, any trip Russo took home from college and later New York City ended with her mother bursting into tears.
Although this curriculum is designed for a specific population, it contains a wealth of information and activities to teach youth about topics such as maintaining personal boundaries, cultural influences, and red flags for dangerous relationships that could be used or adapted for a variety of populations.
When Kristin Russo came out at the age of 17, her Catholic mother withdrew – for a short spell, anyway. Like many parents of gay kids, Rose Russo was struggling to reconcile her daughter's sexuality with her own religious life. She spoke with her priest, who advised her that "under no circumstances should she close her door to her daughter or anyone else important in her life", Russo remembers her mother recounting.
“You’ve got to parent your queer kid like you would any other kid.
This online booklet from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) gives teens an overview of sexual information.
While it uses the outmoded term "date rape," it gives clear messages that empower teens to make informed choices and resist pressure.
It helped, but Rose was still grasping for perspective.
After a while, she sought advice from a few gay people she found through family and friends."My mum would just corner lesbians and just be like: 'I don't understand, how did you do this, are you having kids?
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