• A Parenting Conversation About Coming Out | John Sovec | Episode 171

  • A parenting conversation about coming out
    Today we’re talking about coming out. For most parents this is uncharted territory. What does it look like? What does it mean? What if I’m uncomfortable with it? How can I navigate this? How can I love my child through this? Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler talks to John Sovec to help parents understand the coming out process. John provides expert help to sort through the emotions and ideas. He also provides practical tools for both parents and teens as he assists us in building close and supportive family connections. 



    Player FM | iheartradio | Castbox | Podchaser | Overcast

    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Follow your child’s intuition. This is their story, it’s their identity. Even in the process of being supportive we can create issues by taking the reins and taking the control out of their hands.

    High Points From Our Parenting Conversation on Coming Out:

    Quote about coming outThink about your LGBTQ kid coming to you and telling you they’re gay, bi, or queer. It’s a real act of bravery.

    If you have suspicions but your child has not come to you then wait for them. This is their story and they need to choose how to come out to the world.

    Parents can create a supportive atmosphere in the home so their child will feel safe coming to them. What is the conversation in your home around movies, legislation, and other issues? Are things discussed in a positive or a derogatory light?

    It’s very hard when parents don’t feel this is okay.

    Look at belief vs. identity. If a parent has a belief, something they’ve learned over their life experience that lets them believe they can’t really be open or supportive to an LBGTQ child, it’s important to look at where this belief comes from and how it shows up in their world.

    Look at where love can come from.

    Parents go to their spiritual leaders saying they have a child who has come out, they aren’t comfortable with it and don’t know if it agrees with their belief systems. John has spoken to these leaders in the course of his work and they have advised parents to take a quiet moment and pray to their god then sit with that quietly and wait to hear what comes back. In most cases, when someone is able to openly offer that prayer, what comes back is “Just love your child”.

    What does it look like to love your child through their coming out process? There are many layers to it. Usually, your kid has been processing this thought or feeling for a long time. For many parents, this is the first time this conversation is happening and it’s challenging the vision and hope you had for your child. When your child comes out those dreams are shattered. What we need to remember in this moment is that your relationship hasn’t changed, just that dream is gone.

    Be kind to yourself. Grieve the loss of the dream.

    Embrace your teenager. Love your teen. Stay calm. Stay supportive. Be patient with them and with yourself as coming out is a family-based process.

    When our child comes out to us, they are putting their story in our hands. The whole family is involved.

    Follow your child’s intuition. This is their story. It’s their identity. Even in the process of being supportive we can create issues by taking the reins and taking the control out of their hands.

    Best Tactics for Families:

    1. In the moment when your child comes out to you, stay calm. Just hug them and tell them you love them. You can give yourself space to react and process emotions in private.
    2. It’s also okay to not know all the answers.
    3. Let your teen know you love them as they are.
    4. Be patient and create a supportive environment.
    5. Let your teenager know you know how hard this is for them.
    6. It’s vital to allow them to not have all the answers. This may just be the first step, the tip of the iceberg.

    One of the top reasons our teens don’t talk to parents in general is they are afraid we’ll take charge and do things they don’t want us to do. This is true about coming out as well.

    Parents can process their feelings with a spouse or peers rather than processing them with their child.

    Coming out is not a one-and-done conversation. It’s important to return to the conversation and let your child know they can come back and that you may have more questions.

    Often parents aren’t on the same page initially. This is often due to a lack of information and understanding. Being in an environment with other parents can allow each parent to find others with the same feelings.

    Parents can find support at PFLAG and other organizations.

    It’s important to connect with other parents, to know you aren’t the only parent who’s gone through this.

    If you have questions about gender identity, sexuality, etc, educate yourself. PFLAG is mostly geared to parents. The Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign also have information parents can use.

    Coming out is a life-long process. Your child will make decisions throughout life as they go to college, enter different jobs, and move into different communities. They need to decide who they want to know and to not know.

    Listen to the feeling behind your child’s words, not the story they convey. “Wow, that must feel scary/lonely/frustrating”. We cannot know how they feel but we have experienced those emotions ourselves so we can connect around the emotion. “I’ve felt fear before. How was that for you?”

    Parents can use WAIT (Why am I talking?) to remind us to stop talking when we shouldn’t. We often go into long talks or story telling to ameliorate our own difficult feelings.

    Ask your child who they are and how they want to be in the world. Rather than asking what they want to be when they grow up, ask them who they want to be in the world.

    When kids are coming out, that identity is the number one way they identify themselves. Over time, it becomes an integrated piece of who they are.


    Sexuality and Gender Identity Concerns | Sarah Sproule | Episode 144

    Unmotivated Teens Shift Gears When They Find Purpose | Tim Klein | Episode 146

    Mindfulness In Parenting | iBme | Episode 130


    The Trevor Project | Human Rights Campaign 

    Our Guest John Sovec:

    John Sovec talks about coming outWith more than 15 years as a speaker, motivator, author, therapist, and coach John Sovec, LMFT, brings not only his clinical expertise but also a unique air to each and every appearance he makes. He is well known for his signature style, which mixes knowledge, focus, approachability, and humor to create an environment that encourages openness, growth and development. 

    John is a nationally recognized topic expert on creating LGBTQ affirming care and works with LGBTQ teens in the coming out process to discover their uniqueness as they explore their true identity. Through his work he helps clients develop awareness and openness, provides practical tools for both parents and teens, and assists in building a close and supportive family connection.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://johnsovec.com or http://gayteentherapy.com 

    Our Sponsor:

    iBme hosts monthly Rainbow Family LGBTQIA Community Meditations. Details and registration at https://ibme.com/programs/online-programs/rainbow-family-meditation/

    The Rainbow Family monthly sit for queer youth is an invitation and opportunity to share your mindfulness practice in a welcoming, open, and accepting space.  Practice in community is vital to engaged mindfulness and having a group that can compassionately witness and hold the particular realities of being queer can support healing and personal growth.

    Summer 2021 iBme is hosting a retreat for LGBTQIA+ teens and young adults.

    Check their calendar for all upcoming events iBme.com