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  1. #1
    mmsmom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default Tweens/Teens and sexual identity

    DD,12, told me via text that she is lesbian. My response was ďOKĒ and I talked to her about it later that day and said that she is loved and supported no matter what but she shouldnít feel like she needs to define herself and make a lifelong decision at 12 years old. She understood and agreed and was not adamant that this is definitely who she is. She said that DS has known for a while but she wanted me to tell DH. She was not afraid to tell him but just didnít want to (there is some typical teenage strain with them right now). I told DH a few days later and his feeling was itís a phase, but not an issue if itís not.

    Recently I was with some mom friends with older DC who said that all of their girls went through a phase of being lesbian in their teens. I definitely know that it is not always a phase but I remembered this conversation when DD told me.

    So, Iím just struggling with what to do with this information. I donít know if it is something I should tell peopleÖ Iím thinking no because I wouldnít tell people my child is straight. I also donít want to her feel like she has a label she canít change. But I also want her to feel supported. Iíve also thought about how when she has friends over do I need to enforce rules as I would if a boy was over? No sleepovers or clarify if she is interested in girl ahead of time? Iím just at a loss and wondering if anyone has experiences to share. I can reach out to her school counselor as well who I know will have some insight.

  2. #2
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsmom View Post
    ... I don’t know if it is something I should tell people… But I also want her to feel supported.
    You do NOT tell other people.
    It's not your news to share, full stop.

    She gets to choose who to tell and when; you respect her timeline and her decisions. It's not about YOU.

    There are some great tips for navigating parenting a teen who identifies as LGBTQ+ at various organizations online.

    This is PFLAG's resource list for parents:

    https://pflag.org/resource/our-children

    This is a general resource directory, Q&A style, from The Trevor Project:
    https://www.thetrevorproject.org/res...upport-center/ They have heaps of great info, BTW.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  3. #3
    gatorsmom is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Lizzywednesday gave great advice above but I wanted to add that hearing about my kids’ sexual sides is always such a shock to my system (I just don’t think of them that way!). But it would probably be helpful to your daughter if you just let her bounce ideas off you and be there to listen to her while she thinks things through. She probably already knows that but it’s worth mentioning out loud to your daughter for her reassurance. And that anything she tells you would always be kept secret.
    "People are made for happiness. Rightly then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him." -St. John Paul II

  4. #4
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    Support her. Donít make her feel like itís just temporary or a phase as thatís a way of invaliding her feelings.

    I wouldnít share with anyone else. Itís her own news to share if she ever wants to. Just like anything in her life that is sensitive or confidential, you wouldnít think to share. Think same for this as well.

    As far as sleepovers go, I wouldnít target or specify gender. I would just keep it general as in sleepovers in common areas only and bedrooms are not to be used. That way itís neutral yet something that can be easily kept an eye on or bedrooms but open door policy. I went to an all girls school and many of our friends moms kept sleepovers as mixed and in open general rooms of house.


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  5. #5
    Kestrel is online now Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I agree with Lizzywednesday - not yours to share - with the possible exception of DD's doctor and/or therapist (if she has one). I would ask the child before talking to the school counselor, you don't want her to feel uncomfortable at school. Twelve is young but not impossible to be sure. I would also caution her on telling other kids - kid friendships change, and they are famous for being cruel that age. A trusted adult, sure... teacher, counselor, therapist, doctor, Aunt?

    I would say that it is time for you and DH to decide dating rules - what age, what will be allowed, and encourage group activities over one-on-one regardless of the genders involved. If you have older kids, rules should be the same.

  6. #6
    twowhat? is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    DD2 told both me and DH that she thinks she's bi. (told us when she was 12, she's newly 13). We just took the news as matter-of-fact. Our kids know we support them no matter what, and I do think at this age there's still some sorting out of sexual identity, and a LOT of curiosity about the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

    Agree that this isn't something for us adults to share - that will be up to her if and when she decides to. I kind of think she's already told a couple of her friends. She's also told me that she has friends at school who are bi or gay, etc. I also feel like she may decide that she's something other than bi as she grows and develops and all I've simply told her is that everyone goes through a process of figuring out who they are (trying to avoid suggesting that things could change). Who knows? For now it's just a matter-of-fact thing in our house and doesn't really impact how we go about our lives. I consider it a win that she's comfortable enough to discuss these things with us. She is developing a very particular clothing style so we've been having fun with that, and commiserating that it's always the mens section that has the cooler graphic t-shirts and stuff.
    Last edited by twowhat?; 09-15-2021 at 12:45 PM.

  7. #7
    gatorsmom is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowhat? View Post
    ... commiserating that it's always the mens section that has the cooler graphic t-shirts and stuff.
    This is SO true! The t-shirts in the mens' section of Target are always much better than anything in the women's or kids' sections. Pretty unfair. I wanna wear Star Wars t-shirts too (and not the low-cut, super clingy ones)!
    "People are made for happiness. Rightly then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him." -St. John Paul II

  8. #8
    twowhat? is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorsmom View Post
    This is SO true! The t-shirts in the mens' section of Target are always much better than anything in the women's or kids' sections. Pretty unfair. I wanna wear Star Wars t-shirts too (and not the low-cut, super clingy ones)!
    Good thing DD2 likes a boxy oversized fit because we totally shop in the men's section! LOL!!!

  9. #9
    California is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Working with this age group, I'd say that 12 is a very normal age for them to identify as LGBTQ+. I've also been there as a parent with a child telling me they are bi. This is around the time when sex ed gets much more informative, and it can stir up wonderings, conversations, and realizations of what they may have known for a long time but not really ever labeled. They also developmentally are much more self-reflective and self-conscious. It's wonderful that she felt comfortable telling you. As you know, that is not always the case.

    "So, I’m just struggling with what to do with this information. I don’t know if it is something I should tell people… I’m thinking no because I wouldn’t tell people my child is straight. I also don’t want to her feel like she has a label she can’t change. But I also want her to feel supported. I’ve also thought about how when she has friends over do I need to enforce rules as I would if a boy was over? No sleepovers or clarify if she is interested in girl ahead of time? I’m just at a loss and wondering if anyone has experiences to share. I can reach out to her school counselor as well who I know will have some insight."

    All these are very common and normal questions. I'd let your DD take the lead. She decides who she wants to tell. This, personally, has been challenging when DC wanted to tell older relatives and we were all worried about how one particular older relative would respond. I was also thinking "Will this harm their relationship over something that may be a phase?" But I've come to realize that DC, phase or not, will always be an ally and will not tolerate unhealthy comments from any relatives.

    My break is over but I'll come back later when I have more time!

  10. #10
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    My DD2 (11 soon to be 12) came out to me and DH in June as bi. I had a similar conversation with her as you did mmsmom. It was of course Pride Month and she wanted alllllll the pride things from Target. She wanted to buy the bisexual pride flag for her room and I happily supported it. She told a bunch of her 5th grade girl friends and even told one particular girl that she liked her. That girl liked her back. For a week. And then that ended (as most 5th grade "relationships" do!). I did remind DD2 that her friends and their parents may not talk about sexual orientation and gender identity the way that we do in our home and to be cautious about what she discusses with her friends but to also let her friends know that we are supportive (in case any of them need support they can't find at home). She was very very prideful and expressive of this new label for a few weeks but honestly hasn't mentioned it since. Is it a phase? Perhaps. But I'm happy to encourage and support her exploration of herself and her identity. No one bats an eye at a child/teen/tween exploring their heterosexual and cis gender identify at this age. First kiss, holding hands, crushes, fleeting moments of "dating" in middle school are really quite common place and so if my kid is exploring those things through a bisexual lens, great. Maybe that's who she will be forever, or maybe not, but I don't seem harm in it so long as she feels accepted and happy in that exploration.
    Mom to two amazing DDs ('07 & '09) and a fur baby.

    Gluten free since Nov '11 after non-celiac gluten sensitive diagnosis. Have had great improvement or total elimination of: migraines, bloating/distention, heartburn, cystic acne, canker sores, bleeding gums, eczema on elbows, dry skin and scalp, muscle cramps, PMS, hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue. I'm amazed.

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