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Parent Did I screw this up?

Discussion in 'For Parents or Guardians of LGBT+ Children' started by DaniFaith, May 29, 2020.  |  Print Topic

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  1. DaniFaith

    DaniFaith Lurker

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    I was checking my 12 year old daughter's tablet this evening, because she was acting like she was doing something she's not supposed to. Well, I stumbled across a conversation in which she is talking to her best friend about being gay. She was standing behind me and started crying once she realized what I read. I gave her a hug and told her I love her and am proud of her no matter what. She totally wasn't ready to come out, and asked me not to tell her dad. I tried to tell her that being gay will not change her dads feelings about her at all, she still didn't want me to tell him. We have both had suspicions about her being gay (and possibly trans), but I guess I just didn't expect it so soon, and for her to not feel comfortable telling us. I absolutely value the relationship I have with my daughter, but have a hard time thinking of keeping this secret from my husband.
     
  2. Lu Monday
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    Lu Monday Gotta catch 'em all
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    I wouldn't call it doing wrong, but I want to tell you what I think. I mean, you did something good: checking on kids when we believe they are up to no good is important, because they are exposed to so many things nowadays, and they are so defenseless it is the adults' duty to guard them and teach them.
    The thing is, kids are people, too, and I believe they are entitled to their own privacy. I wouldn't have liked my mom to go through my private conversations.

    Trying to protect her you saw something that you weren't supposed to see. This part is difficult, but I know you meant no harm. I'll let others comment on this.

    I would advise you to respect your daughter's wishes not to tell your husband, and first analyze the situation. If she didn't want to tell you it might have been because she sensed she couldn't trust any of you, or her father. Talk to her, and if you need help to handle this, please do! Talk to professionals, read books, do whatever to prepare yourself so you can show the kid that you are completely ok with her being gay, and to teach them that whatever she has to say, she can trust you every time, because coming out is a big deal for many of us! Maybe when you are ready and your daughter feels better, you can both go and tell the man everything.

    I do applaud how you reacted. Although my own mother is fantastic and we love each other very much, she didn't hugged me or told me she loved me the day I came out to her and my brother. Instead, she kept to herself, barely saying anything to me that day.

    I'm saying all of this based on my family's experience. My mother told her therapist about me, and the therapist helped her with the usual talking, and recommended her some books that my mother later recommended me. We can now talk about it like we would talk about the weather or the memes we find on Facebook.

    Please, build a safe space for your daughter and respect her decisions before going about telling everyone about her. That, I think, is the first step to show her that you value your relationship and that you can be a trustworthy person.

    I hope my words helped somehow. :) 
     
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  3. DaniFaith

    DaniFaith Lurker

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    I absolutely agree with you on the privacy thing, and do my best to stay out of her business. She has in the past sent PMs to people much older than her (not with bad intentions, but she doesn't think about her safety like she should). It's been months since I went through her tablet, but I had asked her if she was doing anything she wasn't supposed to because of the way she was acting, and her response raised more red flags. My number one priority is to keep her safe. The conversation was not one I had to dig deep for, but I still felt horrible that I came across it before she was ready. I did make sure to apologize to her that I found out that way, and before she was ready.
     
  4. Lu Monday
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    Lu Monday Gotta catch 'em all
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    Oh, well. Some things just happen and we can't change them after, but we can at least try to make things a little easier for whoever was involved. You're a great mom, because you made sure to apologize to her, and because you came to look for advise! Which only shows how important this is to you. And I really hope you get to work out the situation. :) 
     
  5. Iharos
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    Iharos Addictive Contributor
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    Hey DaniFaith! :) 

    Personally, I think that you have crossed a line of privacy that should not be crossed. This is simply my view, with my background and cultural upbringing.

    Though it is very easy these days for children to find all sorts of things on the internet that we do not want them to see, there are many precautions we can take. There are many settings on the computer, many words we can pick that the computer then filters out and does not show content with those words.

    In any case, since you have spoken to your daughter about how you feel, and that nothing changes for you, nor would it for her father - she simply might not have been ready yet to come out. Not even really to herself. You see, 12 years old, I mean, many things just start now in the physical realm, and though she realises that she is gay, it is not the same as fully accepting it.
    We are ready to come out once this happened. Once we embrace ourselves. This is an internal process that varies from individual to individual.

    If you decide to talk to your husband, make sure that first, your daughter is not around and won't be for as long as you two discuss this. Second, your husband should not speak about it. When she is ready, she will do the first step.
    You told her already that you love her no matter what. She knows that, I am sure. Also, that her father loves her just the way she is.

    Give your daughter the time she needs to accept wether she is gay or trans. And since you love her, you already do everything else that she needs. :) 
     
  6. AudryLeigh
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    AudryLeigh Transsexual Lesbian
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    Hey Dani,

    I'd tell her this will not affect your love for her in any way, and that you're putting the ball in her court. That is, you won't mention it again to her or anyone else until she is ready. You do know now, so that has changed, but nothing else needs to change at all until she is ready, and the next move is hers (as long as she isn't deceitful and doesn't hide anything important from you -- then you'd have to be a parent), but let her know you trust her and want her to know she can trust you which you can start to show her by not mentioning this to her dad. You weren't supposed to know [yet], so do your best to pretend that you don't. I know it'll be hard, but let the next move be hers. If this triggers mental or emotional problems for her, you should just have her see a counselor, but just because she is showing signs of distress -- don't mention that you think it may be connected with this, just tell her she is showing signs of [normal] teenage angst and you want to make sure it doesn't turn into something serious. If she accuses you of trying to come in the back door and get her counseling because she is gay, tell her she's showing signs of distress and you don't care (or necessarily want to know) why, you're just being a good parent and looking after her mental health the same way you'd look after her physical health -- and if she's connected the counseling to the fact that you know she's gay, tell her you don't care whether or not she's gay, it's not something that needs to be treated, but that dealing with it in today's society can be very hard on people and you just want her to get all the confidential help she needs to deal with whatever is stressing her out -- you don't care what it is and you don't want to talk to her counselor about whatever they talk about, you just want her to have the anonymous support she needs to deal with whatever it is she's stressing about. Now that you know, she's probably going to stress, so be watchful but NOT nosy.

    Also, be careful to keep it natural and not connected to her, but take advantage of any opportunity to show positive emotion when you see any gay people IRL or on TV or in a movie. That'll be a little tricky -- saying of a gay couple something like "Aren't they a cute couple," but while acting like you don't know that she is. Good luck, and I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice and support for yourself (which you'll probably need) here. You came to a good place

    Hugs,
    Audry Leigh

    PS. If her dad senses you're keeping something from him, hopefully he'll understand if you tell him that it's something it's important to keep between you and your daughter for now, in order to maintain her trust. Ask him to trust you and let it go for now. If you have to, let it seem like a girl/young woman thing that really isn't a dad's domain. Don't lie, but understand that there is now a crack in the cosmic egg, and you need to protect her undoubtedly delicate psyche. Also, assuming her dad is liberal, you could let her hear you expressing to him your disgust with all the hate groups and anti LGBT rhetoric that will undoubtedly precede the election. A comment to him, not to her, about how ugly discrimination is towards anyone, including the LGBT, for example.

    More hugs,
    Audry
     
  7. john1010101
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    At age 12 it’s more than a little too early to assume what you read means your daughter is a lesbian or anything else. I’d simply point out that at her age a lot of people are questioning what they are and where they want to go. Then say something very simple such as ‘Which ever way you go we’ll be there for you’. The real problem you have created is destroying your daughter’s trust. It’s very probable from now on which ever direction she moves in she’ll keep is to herself and not leave anything ‘incriminating’ on her tablet or anywhere else.
     
  8. Tzap

    Tzap Dedicative Advisor
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    Iharos, I very rarely have an issue with what you type (even though you can be long), but that first paragraph you wrote !!!
    I am a parent and online safety is extremely important when it comes to kids. When a parent gets that feeling something is off with a child, nothing is gonna stop them trying to sort it. Yes privacy lines may be crossed and you may find stuff that's non harmful but still not what your child wants you to find (accidents happen).
    Above all you care for your child and prevention is easier than remedy (what if it was a situation, kids get scared and clam up).
    DaniFaith now has to prove her word and wait for this young person to be ready and make their own decision who they are. I personally think overtime the relationship will grow strong. Wish my parents could be nonjudgmental and cared enough to keep my secrets and showed so much caring. And I hope my kids feel I show the care as Dani does.
     
  9. AudryLeigh
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    AudryLeigh Transsexual Lesbian
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    I have to say I agree with Tzap . We're talking about a 12 year old, not a grown child.

    Hugs,
    Audry
     
  10. john1010101
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    It appears I need to clarify my previous post. For me the central issue is the risk of destroying trust between a parent and child. A 12 year old should be confident that no matter what they encounter on the web they can discuss it with their elders without fear. In the case described by the original poster we can’t know that child wouldn’t react negatively to what happened and become very secretive refusing to trust adult guidance about web content. It’s a complex and delicate trust issue best solved by honesty on both sides.
    There are however technical solutions available whereby any device given to a child can have dangerous content blocked. Problem though is the child,s school friends will allow them to view content on their devices. The digital world is a dangerous one for children today.

    Problems such as this pre-date even the web. 25 or so years ago friends visited me with their 6 year old. He spotted my large collection of video tapes etc and immediately asked, as soon as his parents left the room, “Got any porn videos?” It’s been a long time since children were allowed to have what we once considered a ‘childhood’.
     
    #10 john1010101, Jun 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  11. angel70
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    angel70 The Old Guy
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    Tell your daughter that her father would be very hurt if he thought she didn't trust him enough to let him know too. Tell her that married couples aren't supposed to keep secrets from each other, especially about their children. Tell her that the two of you can tell him together (it won't hurt at all if he knows what to expect) and that you don't have to talk about it afterwards unless she wants to -- but that she can talk to you whenever she feels like it, and not only if she's having a problem.
     
  12. FTM
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    I'm a teenage trans guy in high school, so I have a little different view of this. For starters, I don't think checking her tablet when she was acting suspiciously was wrong. A 12 year old is just a little to young. By the time she's 16 or so, you should give her more freedom and trust her more to make smart decisions though.

    For you accidentally finding out she is gay, you have done about the best you can in this situation. My dad and step-mom are completely unsupportive, so I'm glad your kid has a mom that loves her enough to accept who she is. On that note, her being gay isn't set in stone yet. She is young and probably still figuring out her sexuality. I know a 13 year old that used to be asexual, but is now starting to think their bisexual. Sexuality is fluid, especially when your that young.

    Moving forward, I wouldn't tell her dad. If something like that had happened to me in her shoes, I would have lost a lot of trust and I would start hiding any future LGBT stuff as effectively as I could. Make no mistake, teenagers know the ins and outs of tech and how to hide stuff better than you think. If I was you I would straight up tell him that you had a talk about "women" stuff and that's what it is if you seem like your hiding something. Chances are, he will run in the other direction and leave it alone when he hears that. I sure would :)  Besides, your not really lying to him. Its kind of a mom daughter thing. If I was ever gonna adopt kids, and my daughter came out as gay to her mom and me, I would more than respect it if she wanted to keep it as a girl thing. That's just me though.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. I hope this super long essay helped :) 

    P.S. Please don't let keeping a secret drive a wedge between you and your husband. I firmly believe that its worse for your kid to grow up with a mom and dad that fight, vs breaking her trust and telling him. I was raised and live in an abusive household. My life used to be a lot worse, but it is still bad. I know it's super unlikely, but if it comes down to it, telling him is the lesser of to evils.
     
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  13. Joshua Aaron
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    Joshua Aaron Autistic and Pansexual
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    I suggest letting your daughter come out to your husband on her own time. It would make her more comfortable that way.
     

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