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Many Parents Struggle For Years To Adjust After Learning A Child's Sexual Orientation

A new study published by George Washington University showed that many parents struggle years later with the knowledge of their child's sexual orientation as being lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

The study was noteworthy because it showed that some parents struggled just as much to cope with their child's sexual orientation 2 years later as they did when they first found out. The parents themselves were surveyed as they accessed a website that contained LGB (lesbian, gay, bisexual) resources. There were more than 1,200 parent respondents with kids ranging in ages 10 to 25.

One of the questions on the questionnaire was "How hard is it for you, knowing that your son or daughter is gay, lesbian or bisexual?" A five-point scale was used to score parent's responses, from not at all hard to extremely hard.

According to Science Daily, this study found the following interesting results when it came to the data garnered by the survey:

"Parents who had learned about their child's sexual orientation two years ago reported struggling just as much as parents who had been told very recently;

African American and Latino parents reported greater trouble adjusting compared to white parents;

Parents of older youth said they had greater levels of difficulty compared to parents of younger children;

Fathers and mothers reported similar levels of difficulty as did parents of boys and girls." (Source)

The results of this study are important, as the role of a parent in accepting their child regardless of their sexual orientation can be a key factor in that child's well-being. If a parent has just as much trouble adjusting the the news 2 years later as they did when they initially heard, that leaves an awfully long time for the child to potentially be harmed by the distress of the parent. Additionally if the parent has a negative outlook on the LGB community, this is a long time for the child to be harmed by that attidude.

The study did find that after 5 years from initially finding out their child's sexual orientation, this effect was reduced. This shows that acceptance can occur, but at a very gradual pace.

Overall there are a few reasons why a parent may struggle with this news. They might be worried about how their child is perceived, and they may feel uncertain about the future. However, the damage that can be done by a negative parental attitude towards their child's sexuality can be incredibly damaging for the child.

According to Science Daily, the researchers who conducted this study have set up a website called Lead With Love, that has resources for families of LGB children. You can access those resources here.

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