14 May How Should Parents React to Family Members Attracted to Persons of the Same Gender?
How Should Parents React to Family Members Attracted to
Persons of the Same Gender?
Dear Friend of the Family,
Many parents are surprised to find out that a member of their family has an attraction for members of the same gender. Moms and dads are perplexed, and they don’t understand. Due to the fact that same-sex attraction has an impact on many families, United Families International has devoted a fair amount of time and resources to the topic. Four years ago, we published the booklet, “Guide to Family Issues: Sexual Orientation.” More recently, our Arizona state chapter hosted an event in which therapist Floyd Godfrey explained the dynamics underlying same-sex attraction and the treatment he provides for those who wish to end same-sex attraction.
Mr. Godfrey recently received a letter from a parent whose son told her he has same-sex attraction. We believe those of you who can identify with this mother would appreciate an opportunity to read Mr. Godfrey’s response. He offers sound, thoughtful advice to this parent. If you know of other people who might also be able to identify with this mother, please share this message of hope with them. Below, you will also find a helpful list of resources provided by Mr. Godfrey.
Carol Soelberg, President
United Families International
Dear Mr. Godfrey:
I just found out that my teenage son is sexually attracted to other boys, not girls. What should I do?
Dear Horrified Mom:
I’m glad you took the time to write. It can be a confusing reality to find that your child is attracted to others of the same sex. Many parents feel a mix of emotions about this condition.
Let me first assure you that an attraction to the same sex is a condition, not a state of being. In other words, it is something your child is “feeling,” but it is not who they are. Sexual orientation is changeable. One of the greatest myths ever developed in our society is that sexual orientation is genetically determined. This belief has grown to monumental proportions. In the times of Columbus, it was believed that the world was flat. In our day, society believes you are “born gay.” If you need scientific support for this opinion, please go to the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). They have a wonderful library of resources and information.
In helping your son, it will be important that you don’t communicate “horrified” reactions. Most youth who struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA) have been trapped by feelings of shame. They often hide what’s really going on without telling anyone of their struggles. They often feel lonely and isolated. Sometimes the only true friends they have are people who also struggle with the same thing. It will be important for you to communicate love and compassion to your son. Let him know that you care about him “no matter what!” Keep in mind that this should be a message that moves beyond verbal interaction. Show him you care through your actions. Find ways to communicate your love (e.g., spending time together).
You will also want to get others involved who can reach out and love your son regardless of his struggle. Be cautious in who you tell, because some individuals are critical and will only foster the shame. Even within certain church communities, there are leaders and families who may encourage isolation rather than open dialogue and compassion. However, if you can find other family members or friends who would be willing to help love and spend time with your son, then you will continue to decrease the isolation, loneliness and shame. It will begin the healing your son needs.
One of the best things you can do right at the start is to educate yourself. The homosexual condition really has nothing to do with sex. The feelings are a symptom of underlying emotional wounds and deficits. These emotional issues become strong enough to draw sexuality into them. When these issues are identified and resolved, the same-sex attraction diminishes and gives room for the development of opposite-sex attraction. There are many good books and programs to help you understand what’s really happening inside your son’s heart. I have attached a list of good resources you might consider. It will be critical that you and your son find the correct information about this condition. Whether your son wants to change or not, having the information will be important.
A professional therapist will be important in working through the many issues related to SSA. However, make sure the therapist has a good understanding of what causes SSA. There are many generally licensed counselors who have never been trained on this condition. Most colleges will brush over homosexuality and give it the genetic label. Consequently, most don’t have the whole picture. If they have studied with NARTH, then they probably have some of the latest information on how to help.
Keep in mind that no one chooses to have homosexual feelings. They are a result of emotional wounds and deficits. You can’t “choose” to stop the feelings, but you can “choose” to get help. Real change can occur through education, love and support of family and friends and professional intervention. The feelings are not a choice, but getting help is a choice.
I hope this helps.
Floyd Godfrey, LPC
Literature & Resources for SSA
Organizations listed below with an “*” have these materials available for purchase
BOOKS & TAPES:
”Homosexuality – Symptoms & Free Agency,” by Scott & Kae Andersen
“Healing Homosexuality – Testimonies of Change,” audiotape program by Floyd Godfrey, LPC
“You Don’t Have to be Gay,” by Jeff Konrad
“Growth Into Manhood,” by Alan Medinger
“Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality,” by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
“A Parents Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,” By Joe & Linda Nicolosi
“Coming Out Straight,” by Richard Cohen
“Homosexual No More,” by William Consiglio
“Desires in Conflict,” by Joe Dallas
“Homosexuality – A New Christian Ethic,” by Elizabeth Moberly
“Out of Egypt ,” by Jeanette Howard
“The Battle for Normality,” by Van Den Aardwig
“101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality,” by Mike Haley
“Healing Homosexuality,” by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
“Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth,” by Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
“Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan for Family Healing,” by Richard Cohen
http://www.pathinfo.org Professional, Secular & Religious
http://www.narth.com Professional perspective
http://www.peoplecanchange.com Secular perspective
http://www.youngmansjourney.com/ Professional perspective
http:/www.adventureinmanhood.com Professional perspective
http://www.freetobeme.com Christian Youth perspective
http://couragerc.net Catholic perspective
http://www.evergreeninternational.org *LDS perspective*