Start by recognizing that it will take time. There isn’t a switch to flip. Coming to an understanding about anything takes time.
Repeat that you love him/her. Reassure your teen that you will learn to accept his/her sexuality. Tell him that it isn’t your feelings for him/her that you are questioning, it is understanding about his/her sexuality.
Ask for his/her patience. Remind your teen that you may need help while you are trying to understand. You may have questions that you hope aren’t offensive to him/her in anyway.
Do not ignore your teen because you are having a hard time accepting his sexuality. This will make him/her feel isolated from you and will cause a rift in your relationship. Isolation is one of the reason gay teens have a higher suicide rate than heterosexual teens.
On the other hand, do not badger your teen with questions. Talking about his/her sexuality all of the time will take the focus off of the relationship you have with your teen. Your understanding of your teen’s sexuality takes a back seat to your relationship with your teen.
Find things to do together and enjoy each other as parent and child. While your perspective on your child’s sexuality has changed, your relationship hasn’t. Strengthen it by creating good memories.
Try not to seek advice from friends and extended family members that have not gone through this situation. If you need to talk to someone, try the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays organization. They are an understanding group of parents who have been through or are going through this process.
Parenting Poll: Do you talk to your teen about sex and his/her sexuality?