Being a parent can be especially tough if you find yourself in a situation you didn’t expect or don’t feel equipped to handle.
Like, when your kid comes out to you identifying as LGBT.
So we asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their best tips for raising LGBT kids. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Remember that your child's coming-out experience is 100% about them.
2. But it’s okay to need time to process your child’s announcement.
3. And it could be beneficial to find a therapist or a support group to help you sort through your feelings.
4. Even if you know your child is LGBT, wait for them to come out on their own terms.
5. Maybe don't tell them “I already knew."
6. And definitely don't tell them it could just be a phase.
7. Know that your first reaction to them coming out could have a lasting impact, so please be sensitive.
8. Challenge homophobia and transphobia whenever and wherever you hear it.
9. Make sure they know that no bully is going to deal with them without dealing with you too.
10. And make sure they know home will always be a safe place for them.
11. Ask your child what pronouns they'd like you to use and be respectful of them — also be patient and understand they're still figuring it out.
12. If you have any questions about your child’s sexuality after they come out, don’t be afraid to ask.
13. Take interest in learning about the community and educate yourself.
14. But try not to bombard them with all the questions right at the beginning.
15. And understand that while doing your research is great, every LGBT person is different and you can't fit your child into a specific mold.
16. Try not to get defensive when your child brings up something that offended them. Just listen.
17. And don't shame them away from being themselves in order to protect them.
18. Take pride in your child.
19. Don't go behind your child's back and invade their privacy.
20. Be careful about unconsciously reinforcing heteronormative stereotypes in everyday situations.
21. Don’t disregard their feelings just because you think they’re “too young to understand.”
22. Always be open to listening and helping them find solutions for everyday problems that they have to face.
23. Let your children be as public or private about their sexual orientation as they want to be.
24. Be sensitive to and avoid using all terms or phrases that could be taken as homophobic.
25. See their sexual identity as a part of them, not who they are as a whole.
26. Be sensitive when trying to relate to them.
27. And, most importantly, love the crap out of them.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.