How to Affirm Your Gay or Trans Adolescent

Dear soft hearted loves,

I’ve been talking a lot with folks about how their family could’ve handled things more kindly when they found out their child was gay or trans (or sometimes we say LGBTQ standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer). I have the opportunity to serve folks healing from the wounds of society or someone emotionally, financially, or physically abandoning someone because they found out their child is LGBTQ. Some parents are doing a great job of navigating their grief, surprise, or adjusting to seeing their child differently. Some families are even reaching out and asking how they can be kind and helpful to their LGBTQ child. If you are reading this to help heal those old wounds for yourself or to help your teen, you’re doing a great job. I’m proud of you and I thank you. I’m hoping these direct affirmations can help caregivers to give that loving care to their child or adolescent. If you didn’t get these when you were younger I’m hoping we can have folks telling themselves these affirmations now.

It may go without saying, and I’ll still say it. It can be helpful to affirm your teen daily and without hurtful things to negate or confuse from the kind comments you said. For example, if I tell someone she can be herself and then I turn around and call her the “b” word these messages can get confused. Affirming daily can help your child build up a bank of affirmations perhaps strengthening the parent-child relationship and protecting them from traumas out there such as being misgendered. No being told you are whole in this moment as you are doesn’t stop the emotional bleeding of being misgendered, but it may help to know you have a nice parent to come home to. You can be the parent to your teen that you needed. Secret hint: You can be the inner loving parent to yourself now that you always needed. These affirmations are a great start to reparenting yourself and parenting your child.

And hey, if you are skeptical about affirmations I was too. Please read Dr. LaTrice Dowtin’s article on affirmations to learn more about how affirmations can really work even when they may seem annoying or ineffective: https://www.playfulleighpsyched.com/post/why-arent-affirmations-working-for-me

The more authentically you, the better. Please use the following affirmations in your own words:

This is a hard time and in this moment you are safe.

All of you is welcome here.

I know you are trying.

I love you.

You are lovable.

You are everything I want you to be.

I see you.

I may not get it, and I’m here walking through this with you.

You are enough.

You are whole as you are.

Another way to affirm their being is to use a word they love. For example, I recently heard someone who identifies as a butch lesbian who said they love to be called “dude.” Someone else told me she loved to be called “honey.” Another person shared she wanted to be called “mija.” We can literally affirm one another’s presence with the use of a mindful, intentional word.

You can also validate your adolescent’s appearance by saying:

I notice you really enjoying the way your hair looks now.

I see you smile when you put cologne on rather than perfume.

I see you light up when I use they/them pronouns.

There are so many ways we can love on teens going through navigating their intersecting and developing identities. If you read this article you are already part of the solution and I appreciate anyone trying to help people feel more comfortable in this world. Let’s use a kind word with someone today.

With love,

Dr. Joharchi

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