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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » When Parents Misunderstand

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Author Topic: When Parents Misunderstand
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I was remembering the other day, how things went with my youngest same-sex relationship.

In short, my mother assumed that my best friend was a "bad influence" on me because I tended to act a little erratic and fearless around her, when in fact, what was going on was that I was in love with her, and had all the headiness that goes with that, as well as being very confused about those feelings before I hit my teens.

Eventually, she refused to let me see her, which was terribly painful, and unable to express why, or tell my mother how I really felt about her, I just let it seethe.

Now, I've never told this to my mother: this late in my life, she knows my sexual identity full well and it's totally accepted, and I think it'd only make her feel horribly guilty, and really, it wasn't her fault, because she couldn't have known.

With a little more knowledge at the time (this was barely into the 80's) as to what *I* was feeling, and better communication with my mother, as well as perhaps being able to temper my behaviour some, it might have gone a whole lot better, but it still seems to always be a very tricky scenario when you're young, especially when the feelings you may need to express may not even be clear to you.

This isn't such an uncommon experience. In some cases, it may be sheer misinterpretation. In others, parents who aren't comfortable with homosexuality may have an idea about what's up, and not know how to deal with it, or just want to remove it.

So, how do you deal? Is this sort of thing something you've experienced? Any sage words for others who might be there themselves? Any parents have perspective on this, or experience with it?


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
GrayDancer
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I'm not even sure it's that easy.

I've always been totally fine with same-sex relationships, having been lucky enough to have a lesbian best friend in High School and many gay friends. This helped me in many ways, in my own "coming out" as bisexual and polyamorous. I raised my daughters as best I could with that same value set, and have achieved some success, I think, as the older two identified themselves as bisexual with no real difficulty to me when they started dating. Their other parents (a Mom divorced from me and an ex-stepdad) range from total denial to "oh, it's a phase" reactions, and so I try to provide them with a safe space in the home where they can feel comfortable with their own developing feelings, and their GF and BF are always made welcome in the home.

The problem is, in spite of that, the oldest doesn't seem to want to live in the house. I've been told I'm a bad parent, that I work too much and don't make enough money, that my rules (things like "Please do chores around the house" and "Tell me where you are") are completely unreasonable, and that she can't live there any more.

This happened early in the summer; she left and spent a little time with her ex-stepdad, then with her Mom (which didn't work out), and is now back with her stepdad. He's a great guy; but now that school is starting again, he's basically said that if she continues to live with him, he wants to basically be appointed her legal guardian.

I won't go into the various reasons I have trouble with this; basically what it comes down to is that I'm feeling like the one person that I've given most of my life to is rejecting me. I want to enjoy and be a part of her last three years before she becomes an adult...and I feel that unless she's living with us (her stepmom and 3 sisters) that's not going to happen.

Thing is, I can predict the way the conversation will go...she'll say that, if Step Dad is willing to take her in, and she wants to live with him, why shouldn't she? Obviously I can play the domineering father and "force" her to live with me; I've got full custody and the only rights that Step Dad has in regard to visitation are what I choose to give him. So far, I've not had a problem with just saying ok...but it's building up to a point where I basically feel like I'm losing my daughter.

So any suggestions as to how to approach her in a non-threatening, non-selfish way? I've tried explaining to her as best I can that what she is doing is affecting more than her, that it is actually hurting the rest of us as well. I'm wondering if it's more of a privacy issue; she's 15, her sisters are 13 and twin 12 year olds, and privacy is hard in our small house. Yet when I tried to propose that we change the room situation so that every sister would get a private room one night a week -- and yes, a private room where, within legal considerations, they could have friends of various genders and relationship status-- when I suggested that, she simply said "More rules! That's awful!"

Obviously you're only getting one side of the story, but the point I was trying to make in regards to the post is that even when there is a safe haven and acceptance of sexual needs, and lots of communication, sometimes that communication just ends up being a fight.

------------------
--"Ignorance is not a sin; remaining ignorant is."


Posts: 21 | From: Madison WI USA | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wobblyheadedjane
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 11569

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Ah yes. What with all the hullabaloo lately over gay marriages, I realized how deep homophobia runs in my family at times- my father thinking they shouldn't be allowed to marry OR teach children, my mother fine if I or my sister turned out gay, but not my brother. On my fiance's side, his mother prefers if they admit it straight up. It's been hard dealing with this, and my bisexuality at more or less the same time.

I've decided to let it be, for a number of reasons: I only live at home part-time now, for one. Also, I can never expect to change my parent's viewpoints, and in all other aspects of life, we get along famously, so I see no reason to make waves with something that is relatively straightfoward to me and me alone. Thirdly, I'm in a monogamous straight relationship at the moment, and don't forsee venturing out of it, so bisexual or not, it's a moot point now.

Still, it hurts to think back and realize that if I had come to a conclusion on my sexuality at an earlier date, I'd have faced a difficult time in my house.


Posts: 1679 | From: London, ON | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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