When the parent passes shame and judgment to their child, the impacts last far longer. Rick Clemons, The Coming Out Coach, shared this: "Coming out is a scary, exciting, horrifying, and curious experience. When a parent passes judgment right out of the gate, it only leads to the root of the problem in the gay community — shame, self-doubt, and lack of confidence. The ensuing behavior for many gay men is then running to drugs, random sex, and alcohol to rid themselves of the feelings of 'less than." Is Low Self-Esteem Hurting Your Relationship?
No parent wants to think of their well-intentioned parenting as being behind the emotional turmoil their children face. But in cases like this, it can have a lifelong impact. Whether someone decides to be gay or whether they're born that way is something that people have hotly debated for decades. Today, most agree that there's more nature than nurture at play.
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What Cameron is suggesting is that should his child be gay, that he or she should make a choice between being who they are and doing what he thinks is "right." In other words, who they are in their very core is wrong. His message: be something else so you can be on the "right" side of things. When a parent questions the very essence of their child's identity and uses words like "unnatural," "detrimental," and "destructive" to describe their very selves, the wounds that are cut are deep and incredibly painful and rarely solved by choosing between "right" and "wrong" behavior. Kirk Cameron Responds To Backlash Over His Anti-Gay Remarks
The role of Dad
Children need both of their parents. The lack of healthy fatherly role models is correlated with many of the most grievous of the ills in society: poverty violence, incarceration, drug usage, suicide, and abuse. On the flip side, healthy fathers play an incredibly meaningful role in helping their kids grow into securely attached, healthy adults.
What Kirk Cameron may have forgotten as he answered Piers' question is the role that a father plays in his son's life. As Larry Cappel, licensed marriage and family therapist shares, "For a boy, his first and most important male relationship is with his father. It is the model for all of his future male relationships. If he doesn't get authentic validation from his father growing up, as an adolescent and young adult he'll try to deaden the pain of his shame through his relationships with other men." Parenting 101: Your Kids Will Model Your Behavior
Advice for Kirk: So what if your kid's gay? What's a parent to do?
Dr. Dorree Lynn recently shared how a parent who may be feeling sad, embarrassed, or even ashamed can best handle when their kid comes out of the closet. Her advice says it best: Advice For Parents
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For me, the scary thing after researching this article is that I don't believe that Kirk Cameron wants to hurt his children; I simply think he's doing what his faith tells him to do. Yet, the impact of that belief system causes pain and suffering for any child born into a family with similar beliefs.