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Are you feeling like it’s too late to repair your relationship or reconnect with your LGBTQ+ child?
Is your relationship, with your LGBTQ+ child feeling strained or perhaps even broken? Did they ‘come out’ recently, or was it some time ago? Perhaps you’ve been struggling for a while. You may not have spoken to your child for some time. Is it feeling tense, awkward, or uncomfortable? Regardless, I would say it’s never too late to work towards healing your relationship with your child.
Depending on the circumstances, your child will almost always want to repair your relationship, too. If it feels like it’s too late, it likely requires more work and commitment on your part, but if you genuinely want to repair your relationship and/or reconnect with your child, I say “there’s no harm in trying”. There is, however, a lot of harm in not trying.
The most important place to begin is to check with yourself that you are ready or prepared to ‘get ready’. That means you are better informed about your child’s feelings and experiences and have been able to develop and deepen your understanding of your own feelings and experiences, or you’re prepared to do what it takes to get there.
If you’re not quite ready, haven’t worked through your own emotions, or at least started to, and your desire to repair the relationship is purely to ‘fix things’ or ‘smooth things over’ without new insight, it is unlikely to work. I know that’s hard to hear, but your child will see straight through you and feel even more like you ‘don’t get it’.
If this is you, don’t worry. It’s not all bad. If you’re reading this, I believe you have a true desire to heal your relationship, therefore you will likely achieve this, over time. Your child needs to feel seen and heard. They need to feel like they are your priority, that your relationship with them is important. This includes accepting them for exactly who they are.
Depending on your upbringing, religion, culture, and many other elements in your life this may take some time. But you have to start somewhere and what better place than here?
One of my favourite sayings, when I’m contemplating something difficult, is
“if not now, when?”
I love working with families who have a desire to repair their relationships because it is an incredibly, rewarding experience to witness these healing journeys. I feel privileged to be chosen to walk alongside families at these difficult times. If you’re open to change, open to compromise, and open to learning, then you can repair your relationship with your child.
One of my favourite parts of my workday is walking the journey with parents, who are struggling, through the Reconnecting Families Program and witnessing the magical transition as they reconnect with themselves and their child. It is beautiful to witness, and I know this could absolutely be you.
As I mentioned, this will take time, however, there are clear steps you can take to get there. It’s not something we can cover in this article, however, you can start by taking a few basic steps.
· Educate yourself — avoid using your child as your educator.
· Practice appropriate language — you don’t have to understand it, or even agree, yet, but practicing will send a powerful message to your child.
· Avoid making excuses or justifying behaviour that your child finds challenging — excuses, even small or innocent ones minimise your child’s experience and reinforce you don’t understand how they’re feeling.
· Practice active listening — this takes time and practice; however, you can begin by focusing on what is being said to you, rather than preparing your response or succumbing to distractions. Practice this in all your conversations and before you know it, you’ll be an ‘active listening master’.
To summarise, no matter what the situation, you can improve your relationship with your child, if you have the desire, commitment, and openness to explore your own feelings and thoughts and adapt accordingly. It may take some time for you to get to a place where you can do this, and it may also take time for your child to be open to it, however with support, you can do it. Believe in yourself, your child, and your relationship with them. Their sexuality or gender identity can become the reason you connected more deeply with your child, with the right support and understanding.
As I mentioned, this is one of my favourite aspects of my work, to support and witness the healing, growth, and deepening of the relationship between a parent and their child (regardless of their age). If you’d like to know more about the support that’s available to you, book a free call to discuss further.
You can email me and also join me in my private Facebook community and on Instagram.
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