This month I’d like to explore a delicate topic, coming out to your kids. What things should men consider, when is the right time, should you do it at all? While some of what we’ll cover is aimed directly at dads much of it is solid advice for talking about your orientation to any of the children in your life.
One of the tings that men have to work hard at before making an announcement is their own issues with their sexuality. Even at a very young age children pick up on your energy and will sense that something is wrong if you haven’t done your work first.
There are countless things that you might fear but here are some things to consider:
Are you afraid that your kids will be embarrassed?
Are you afraid, particularly with boys, they might think it means they’re gay too?
Do you worry they’ll think less fo you?
Do you fear loosing them?
Consider these ideas and be honest with yourself about any fear or shame you have. Working though your issues with a coach, counselor, or therapist before the big revel is crucial to your success.
It’s also important to remember that coming out isn’t a one time event. Particularly with younger children it will be a journey of helping them understand you better as they’re able to.
In middle age it can be better not to come out to the whole family at once but rather have more intimate conversations with individuals to address their specific needs and concerns. It can also every helpful to plan what you’re going to say. It will diffuse some of the anxiety you’ll inevitably face.
Ideally you’ll be having a conversation. Make sure you tell them in a quiet, private, space. Be ready to answer questions as honestly and fully as you can while being appropriate to your child’s age. Provide them with information but also reassure them. Your kids, no matter what age, need to know that you still love them and that your sexuality is only part of you. You’re still the person they’ve known and loved. Be sympathetic to their concerns but help them understand that you can’t change who you are.
It can be very helpful for you and your child’s mother to talk with them together. It will go a long way to setting children’s fears at ease. It’s also good for your kids to have access to other, supportive, adults. This could be a professional, or favorite aunt or uncle. Find places where your kids can interact with others their age who have gay parents. Remember how hard it was when you thought you were the only one? It’s the same for your children.
No mater how they react t’s important for you to remain calm. If they need space to process then give it to them. If they have tons of questions be prepared to answer them as best you can. Some children will feel betrayed, like you’ve lied to them all their lives. Try to explain that the issue was about you accepting yourself and never deceiving them. Some might be relieved feeling you’re more understandable to them. Embrace whatever happens.
Children also hear things from other people. It’s important for you to help them understand that it is not their job to defend you. If someone has a problem with who you are it is their problem, not yours, or your child’s.
I’ve only been able to scratch the surface on this challenging topic but I hope you’ve found this helpful if you’re dealing with coming out to your kids. If you’ve had experience with this please chime in below and share your wisdom with guys who need it.