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Help and advice for coming out to your parents

For lots of young people, it’s telling their parents which is the final ‘step’ to coming out and being able to live authentically, and so regardless of how you think they’re going to respond, it’s always going to be a big deal.

When you’re growing up, coming to terms with your sexuality (even to yourself) can be difficult enough. But something that many people can struggle with particularly, is explaining to their parents- especially if you feel as though the news will be met with anger, disappointment, confusion or upset. For lots of young people, it’s telling their parents which is the final ‘step’ to coming out and being able to live authentically, and so regardless of how you think they’re going to respond, it’s always going to be a big deal.

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If you’re plucking up the courage to having this talk and are wondering how to go about it, here are some ideas. 

Give yourself a pep talk

First things first, pep yourself up. Remind yourself that it’s absolutely ok to be ‘you’, you’ve done nothing wrong!  Regardless of the response you get from anyone else, it’s important to accept yourself, to know that you’re being true to you. You shouldn’t have to hide who you are, so go into the situation knowing that whatever is said, you’ll be fine as you can’t change who you are- nor should you have to try. 

Surround yourself with support

Having supportive friends around you can be so helpful in a situation like this. Perhaps you’ve already come out to your friends and know you have them there to lean on, or maybe you speak to others online in the same position as you who you can chat to if needed. Knowing that you have that support network to fall back onto, who can pick you up if things don’t go the way you want and provide you with advice is invaluable. If you really feel as though you have no one in your life you can speak to about this, consider calling an LGBTQIA helpline like Switchboard or a charity like the Samaritans. 

Practice relaxation techniques

In these kinds of situations it’s so easy to get yourself worked up, which isn’t helpful for anyone involved. Consider journalling as a way to express your thoughts and work out your own mind, meditate or exercise to relieve stress. If you’ve seen these ‘buy weed online’ type websites you’ll know that you can get safe, legal products such as CBD oil and topical cannabis products. These have been shown to be useful for relaxation, and can be utilized without the dangers of smoking. Over the counter products like Kalms and Rescue Remedy work in a similar way. Going into the conversation relaxed and with a clear mind will help you to articulate yourself better.

Consider writing a letter

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If you feel as though you won’t be able to properly express the way you feel, writing a letter could be the best option. You could draft out your feelings a few times first, and then refine it until you’re happy it sums everything up. Pass the letter to them and ask them to read it carefully. That way, you can be sure that you’ve communicated everything in the best way, instead of getting jumbled and stressed. You could research and provide them with information that you think would be useful too if needed. 

It’s a big step in any LGBTQIA persons life to tell their parents the way they feel about their gender or sexuality, but whatever the outcome know that you’re doing what’s best for you. If you’re not accepted by others, it’s their problem- not yours. Good luck.

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