Parents struggle for years adjusting to their child's sexual orientation
According to the recent study, 26 percent of the parents surveyed had only learned their son or daughter identified as LGB in the past month.
Even few years after their child comes out as a lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), many parents admit of finding the news moderately or very hard for them to adjust, according to a new study.
A previous study suggested that parents who have trouble adjusting are more likely to disapprove or adopt negative behaviours that can, in turn, put LGB youth at risk of serious health problems.
"Surprisingly, we found that parents who knew about a child's sexual orientation for two years struggled as much as parents who had recently learned the news. Two years is a very long time in the life of a child who is faced with the stress of a disapproving or rejecting parent," said David Huebner, one of the researchers of the study.
According to the recent study published in the journal of 'Archives of Sexual Behaviour', 26 percent of the parents surveyed had only learned their son or daughter identified as LGB in the past month. Huebner and his colleagues studied more than 1,200 parents of LGB youth ages 10 to 25. The researchers asked parents who visited a website with LGB resources to fill out a questionnaire.
Huebner and his colleagues asked parents "How hard is it for you, knowing that your son or daughter is gay, lesbian or bisexual?" Parents responded using a five-point scale of magnitude that ranged from not at all hard to extremely hard.
The researchers found, parents who had learned about their child's sexual orientation two years ago reported struggling just as much as parents who had been told very recently, African American and Latino parents reported greater trouble adjusting compared to white parents, parents of older youth said they had greater levels of difficulty compared to parents of younger children and fathers and mothers reported similar levels of difficulty as did parents of boys and girls.
Parents who have trouble accepting the news may worry that their child might face a more difficult life, one that includes bullying or harassment. Others need time to adjust because they have long imagined a traditional heterosexual future for their child.
Still, Huebner says most parents, even those in shock when first learning the news, care deeply about their children and eventually do adjust.