Speaking with your kids about an impending divorce is scary enough; adding to that the news that your sexual orientation is changing and the stress involved doubles. If there is no burning need to tell your children about your coming out, take the time to come to your own place of self-acceptance before discussing it with them. It’s important that when you decide to share your new orientation with them, you are not speaking from a place of shame and guilt. If shame comes through in your communication, you’re sending a message to them that it is wrong or embarrassing. It’s best to take on your own internalized homophobia and find someone who can help you process your thoughts and feelings before involving the kids.
When speaking with your kids about this sensitive topic, give them only age-appropriate information. There’s no need to burden them with information they don’t need or haven’t asked for. If the initial reaction you get from them is negative, be respectful of their feelings and concerns and let them know you deserve the same. Leaving the door open with them to come to you anytime they need support is important for them to hear. Of course, it’s always easier if you’ve had the kind of relationship with your kids that was already open and honest, but it’s never too late to start.
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I believe adolescence is the hardest time for a child to deal with a life-changing situation, like when a parent shares that they are changing their sexual orientation. Adolescent children are in the midst of their own budding sexuality and it may be especially difficult for them to process your situation during this time. Quite often, even though your child loves you and may want to accept that things are changing, they are often more worried about how their friends and peers are going to react. The acceptance of these groups is SO important to young teens. They need your understanding and patience now more than ever.
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