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Is your child a homosexual?
HOMOSEXUALITY IS a strong taboo in Jamaica, and although many persons condemn the practice, it appears to be on the rise.
With that seeming increase, homosexuality could reside closer to you than you expect.
So, if as a parent you found out that your child is uncertain about his or her sexuality and may have the tendency to become a homosexual, how would you deal with it? Would you condemn, ridicule or seek counselling for him or her?
Psychologists say it is common for parents of homosexuals to blame themselves. Others resolve to disown their children, some try to 'pray it away', while some others resort to over involvement in activities or seek to be distracted.
It is difficult for a parent to understand a child when he or she is active in the gay lifestyle, they argue. It is even more painful when the child ignores and rages against the parents when they are not supporting their choice or even seem to understand.
What advice is there for the parents whose children are gay? How can they put aside their dislike of the behaviour and still have hope of a loving and productive relation-ship with their children?
The American Psychological Association has stated that "There are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people." It also stated that for most people, sexual orientation is determined at an early age. However, The World Health Organisation has listed homosexuality as a mental illness.
Tips for parents who are struggling with a child's homosexuality
1. Try not to get defensive or angry when your child says, "I'm gay." This only fuels the fire. Realise that some children go through stages of self-doubt about their sexuality. Some go though experimental stages and sexual fluidity. While you may not condone your child's behaviour, getting in his or her face about it will only confuse him or her more and push you further away from him or her.
2. Do not blame yourself for your child's homosexuality. Some children struggle with same-sex attraction, which is not necessarily due to familiar influence. Remember, it's not up to you to convince them of anything. Your healing can come from forgiving yourself for any misperceptions they may have about you. Your child's healing may come from confronting you or working with a therapist.
- James E. Phelan, psychologist