Dear Therapist: Do I Must Have ‘the Talk’ Once More With My Daughter?

Dear Therapist: Do I Must Have ‘the Talk’ Once More With My Daughter?

She simply said she’s gay. I’ve currently talked to her about sex with boys—how do We communicate with her about girls?

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers concerns from readers about their issues, big and little. Have actually a concern? E-mail her at dear. Therapist@theatlantic.

Dear Therapist,

As a moms and dad, we securely think that it’s my responsibility to get ready my children to maintain positivity, healthier, and productive individuals both on the planet plus in individual relationships.

Then when my daughter that is 12-year-old announced this woman is homosexual, my brain started rotating. Don’t get me wrong—I haven’t any nagging issue along with her intimate orientation. But i will be totally lost with regards to simple tips to prepare her for future relationships.

We’ve had “the talk” about heterosexual sexual intercourse, therefore do I need to have “the talk” about lesbian intercourse? I’m additionally not sure how to deal with sleepovers. Do we let her girlfriends invest the when there’s potential for sexual activity night?

Please assist me with this specific paradigm change.


Dear Anonymous,

First, you’re currently in the track that is right making healthier relationships a concern for the young ones. That will be to state, we don’t think you’re because lost as you might think you will be, and that’s since the easiest way to get ready your child for future relationships, irrespective of intimate orientation, is always to model the qualities you’d like those relationships to own. As she gets older, you’re both going to be able to find your way if you provide a safe, open dialogue while also setting (and upholding) clear limits that will be renegotiated.

By checking conversations early and often—as in opposition to having “the talk” and being carried out with it—you’ll communicate to your child as i gather from your letter you’d like to do that you respect her sexuality and the relationships that will go with it. This ongoing discussion prevents a more shame-based approach (where intercourse is compartmentalized into just one embarrassing discussion) as well as engenders trust—something you’ll need on both edges while you negotiate boundaries throughout your daughter’s teenager years.

What exactly are you going to state? There’s no“right that is single way to integrate our kids’ developing intimate desires to the truth that they’re nevertheless young and are now living in the household household. Every family members may have various philosophies and convenience levels around privacy, psychological readiness livesex sexier, and restrictions. But here’s the purpose: These must certanly be constant in an offered home, irrespective of sex or orientation that is sexual.

Just just What which means in training is there’s no dual standard, that the rules don’t modification due to the fact your child is drawn to girls rather than guys. Consider what you’d do if she had been heterosexual. Could you keep in touch with her about sex—not simply the mechanics, but security, peer force, readiness, respect, and permission? It appears like you’ve currently done at the very least several of that. In that case, you need to have the exact same conversation with her about intercourse with ladies. And if you wish to keep yourself well-informed about lesbian intercourse, you may touch base to LGBTQ businesses for resources so the information you give her can be as comprehensive as the data you’d provide her about heterosexual intercourse.

In terms of sleepovers, considercarefully what your guidelines will be if she had been interested in males. Could you enable guys she had been romantically enthusiastic about to rest over? Could you allow just males who have been demonstrably longtime platonic pals sleep over? Could you allow a child rest over if he slept within the family area? Can you enable a co-ed team sleepover? You may think about what form of authorization your child requires so that you can have guests over. (“Can Jane rest over this week-end? ” is significantly diffent from “I invited Jane to fall asleep over this weekend. ”) you are able to tell you this exact same way of thinking for just about any regarding the parameters you’d have actually about your daughter’s sex-life into the heterosexual scenario, such as for instance age for sexual intercourse, level of activity, and where it is permitted in the home (in case it is).

With time, these guidelines will move, in addition to conversations the both of you have actually while you navigate those modifications are the way the trust between you certainly will develop. As an example, should your guideline is the fact that at age 12 she will have platonic sleepovers only, she’ll need certainly to make your trust that, state, Stella is actually “just a friend” rather than somebody she’s got a crush on. Exactly the same could be real if this had been your guideline and she liked boys—you’d have to trust that, state, Simon had been “just friend. ” Keep in mind that she’ll continue steadily to have nonromantic friendships with girls her age, and also you don’t desire to unintentionally block off the road of those friendships.

It’s worth noting, too, that numerous moms and dads are generally inconsistent when you look at the communications they deliver for their young ones about intercourse, such as for example: Intercourse is a part that is normal of human—but you must slip around to get it done. Intercourse ought to be pleasurable—but you’re relegated towards the cramped seat that is back of car. Intercourse into the context of caring regarding your partner being intentional by what the two of you want is healthier—but your only possibilities to have sex have been in a closet while drunk at an event. Within our household we value honesty—but you must lie regarding the sexual intercourse, also if by omission.

Could these boundaries be much more challenging to tease down with same-sex relationships? Perhaps. Will your child show periodic lapses in judgment or honesty? Perhaps. That’s element of being a teen. They are the full years whenever she’ll read about accountability and trust—not just with you, but additionally along with her lovers.

Happily, neither of you needs to understand this perfect—nobody does. However with clear communication and restrictions predicated on what feels right for your loved ones, taking into consideration your daughter’s age and amount of psychological readiness, you won’t feel lost, either.

Dear Therapist is actually for informational purposes just, will not represent advice that is medical and it is perhaps maybe not an alternative for health-related advice, diagnosis, or therapy. Constantly look for the advice of the doctor, mental-health expert, or any other qualified wellness provider with any concerns you could have regarding a condition that is medical. By submitting a page, you may be agreeing to allow The Atlantic use it—in component or in full—and we may modify it for size and/or quality.