Hard Questions at the Holidays – supporting your child

This December, we’re talking about #HardQuestionsAtTheHolidays. The holidays can be hard for LGBTQ+ folks and their families since extended family might be confused or unsupportive. We’re looking at questions folks might ask and how you can answer them.

Today’s question: “What can I do as a caregiver to ensure my LGBT+ child feels supported during holiday gatherings?”. Our answer: GBPFLAG has come up with a few tips that folks can use to support their children. These could apply to folks through adolescence, not just littles.

Work out a plan with your child ahead of holiday events, especially if you know folks plan to attend who aren’t welcoming of LGBT+ identities. If things turn south, have a signal or safe word in place to privately convey: “I feel uncomfortable and would like to leave”.

If your child is using different pronouns or a different name than what was used previously, consider informing your extended family and friends privately before the holiday event, and offer to answer any questions they may have ahead of time, that way they don’t burden your kid.

If your kid prefers to correct folks themselves regarding their identity, offer to practice with them so that they know how to handle different situations. We recommend against correcting others on behalf of your child if this isn’t their wish, so ask them their ideal plan.

When formulating your plan with your child, let them lead with their needs. This doesn’t need to be ONE big discussion, and it helps to know what your kid prefers in this situation. Maybe a few small discussions, or asking them these questions via text will be better for them. 

The key to navigating your child’s coming-out or transition process is to really listen to what their needs are. All of our kids are different and there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to being LGBTQIA+. At the end of the day, it’s less important to understand every aspect of your child’s identity as it is to understand how to show them love and respect.