Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Parent to Parent: Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation has been in the news a lot lately since Tim Hardaway's controversial comments. So, parents, what would you do if your child revealed to you that he or she is gay? How would you react? In tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie explains why it's important to hear your child out if they come out.
WSVN -- Bree had a tough time on "Desperate Housewives" after her son Andrew revealed he was gay.
Rico Hernan: "You are now locked in to Nova Southeastern University's radioactive broadcasting on 88.5 FM."
Twenty-year-old Rico Hernan says coming out, especially to his parents, was one of the hardest things he's had to do.
Rico Hernan: "I felt I was different from everybody, and I kept it to myself because I thought people might start saying things or they might try and beat me or something."
But once he revealed his big secret, Rico says it was a huge relief.
Rico Hernan: "Lucky my mom was accepting. She's like, 'I don't care as long as you're happy, and you're doing well in school. That's all I care about.’"
Seven's parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says parents don't realize most children have been struggling with their sexual orientation since they were young.
Rico Hernan: "The children have been processing this since grade school, and so for them this is not new information. For them, this is old information, and they're just ready to share it with the world."
Rico kept his secret for years.
Rico Hernan: "I wanted to join the military. I wanted to go into the Navy, and I had applied to enlist full time, so I tried to keep everything undercover, tried the whole dating girls thing again, just to make sure no one would find out."
Dr. Valerie says even if you suspect your child is gay, wait for them to talk to you about it.
Don't push your child to "come out" before he or she is ready.
When your child does come out, make sure you listen to what they're saying.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "So respect what your children tell you, and if they come and tell you they are interested in same-sex relationships, you have to honor that, if you want to keep that communication open."
And don't assume it's just a phase they're going through.
Jessica Boyd didn't come out to her mother until she was 14.
Jessica Boyd: "There's a lot of fear in children or young adolescents to tell their parents, and that's, of course, expected."
It's important to keep the rules the same when it comes to dating and, as always with your kids, talk about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
Rico and Jessica both agree, what you need from your parents more than anything is their support.
Jessica Boyd: "You can deny it, and you can be against it, and you can be completely intolerant of it, but, whatever you do, just support your child."
Lynn Martinez: "There are support groups available. Many high schools and colleges have gay-straight student alliances, like at Nova Southeastern University, where Rico and Jessica attend school."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode
7711 SW 62 Ave. Suite 203