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Looking for advice (teenage daughter thinks she's gay) (1 Viewer)

playin4beer

Footballguy
A little background..  Wife and I have 4 daughters.. 14, 16, 18 & 21..   This is concerning the 14 year old.. She's been having a rough time lately, very emotional, moody, etc.. I wrote it off as teenage girl drama/issues..I've been through it with the other three.  My wife told me that after pressing her on what was wrong, she confided that she likes girls more than boys.  She's struggling with it because she thinks I'll be mad or disappointed.. (she's always been a daddy's girl).

Another key piece of information.  My daughter is an athlete and looked up and idolized a girl that graduated last year and got a full ride to a D1 school.. She came out her Senior year as being a lesbian.. They remain close friends thru social media.. 

We aren't a super religious family.. my girls go to youth group at the local Church, but it's because the like it and want to, I've never forced them to go to Church.  I don't really have a strong feeling one way or the other on the issue concerning friends that I have that are gay.  If they are happy, so be it.  

My main concern is, she openly comes out as liking girls..she's in 8th grade.  I can't imagine it won't be hard for her the next 5 years of school.  Also, I don't think she's old enough or mature enough to fully understand the situation and whether or not she is gay.

In the end, she's my daughter and I'll always love and support her no matter what.  I'm just trying to protect her from a sometimes ugly World.

Does anybody have any personal experience or advice??  As always, humor is acceptable ;)

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
Let her know she doesn't have label herself or have it all figured out in 8th grade.  Tell her to live, learn and grow.
This. And tell her that second to last paragraph in your op.

It's hard to say these days...kids finally can look up and feel ok about being attracted to same sex, and I've noticed a lot more of my sons peers identifying that way as early as 9 or 10 (when they first start having crushes). Is it a trend? Does it even matter? Imo, we let our kids crush, love whomever they like...as long as they're being treated well...and support and love them regardless.

 

Soulfly3

Footballguy
as an ex-teacher, there are tons of gay kids in highschool. Unless you live in some stone-aged hickville, no one will give 2 ####s about her sexuality, esp in this instagram culture, gay is almost "in" (as odd as that sounds)

and she knows she's gay. you're not confused at that age, she's likely just trying to convince herself she's not so she doesnt disappoint/offend ppl. 

 

AcerFC

Footballguy
I teach 8th grade. this is my 20th year. In the past 5 years or so there has been a major shift in the kids views on this stuff. I have had openly gay studentsand students who are transitioning. 

They really do not have a tough time. if this was back when I went to school they would have been beaten up. Now its just another kid. They dont even get second looks

My 2 cents, just be there for your daughter. Whether it is a phase or not, your love and affection you show her now will be huge for your relationship in the future. 

 

playin4beer

Footballguy
I teach 8th grade. this is my 20th year. In the past 5 years or so there has been a major shift in the kids views on this stuff. I have had openly gay studentsand students who are transitioning. 

They really do not have a tough time. if this was back when I went to school they would have been beaten up. Now its just another kid. They dont even get second looks

My 2 cents, just be there for your daughter. Whether it is a phase or not, your love and affection you show her now will be huge for your relationship in the future. 
Thanks.. I too come from the age of playing "Smear the Queer"..  I know times have changed a lot.. I'm just worried about her

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
If you are thinking that she's only pretending to be gay because she idolizes another gay athlete, you should stuff those feelings DEEEEEEP down inside yourself and don't ever let your daughter know that you ever had those thoughts.

Anyway, I agree with the whole "she doesn't have to have it all figured out by 8th grade" stuff. If she likes girls, okay, whatever. Let it happen naturally.

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
Just be supportive with tons of love.  There's more info and support groups (including online) than you could ever offer her.  No need for labels, especially this young.  Most kids today will be fluid until their point of clarity.  

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
Another thought... did any of us think we were straight early on? Or did we just know. The latter for me, and every straight or gay person I've ever spoken to about the subject...never spoken to somebody who identifies as bi though.

And perhaps social norms helped guide that, while the recent changes of norms allows for more fluidity for today's youth...dunno.

 

mr. furley

Footballguy
Another thought... did any of us think we were straight early on? Or did we just know.
having absolutely no idea what "straight" or "gay" meant until later in elementary school.. i knew that something about girls was interesting in a different way as far back as i have memory. my first crush was like 1st grade. 

not sure if that's a result of anything my parents said or other kids said because i don't ever remember it coming up. it was just something innate. 

3rd grade, when we had to line up in rows one behind the other.. trying to make sure i was in the last row to check out the girls in front of me. i was 8/9. 

conversely, the younger brother of a kid i played sports with my entire youth until junior year of HS used to show up to games and do the cheer routines. he wanted to be on the cheerleading squad but school wouldn't let him. that kid was out and proud without anyone knowing what it meant when we were kids. we just knew he liked braiding girls hair, wearing skirts and not playing sports with the rest of the boys.

it was just always in him. so when he came out the reaction was "well.. yeah."

 

kutta

Footballguy
I’ll second what others have said. Be supportive and show her love. If she “thinks” she’s gay, she is.

 

Van Dyman

Footballguy
Wait... kids don't play "smear the queer" anymore!? What kind of pansy ### society have we become?
They didn't stop playing it because the name is offensive. They stopped playing it because you have to run around outside.

 

Van Dyman

Footballguy
I'm in this same boat with you. My 12-year old daughter came out 6 months ago. My wife didn't handle it well at all.

 

Hastur

Footballguy
This is me right now. Except my daughter is in 7th grade, not 8th.

My view:  It doesn't matter what her motivations are(being rebellious, trying to get a reaction from my wife and I, fitting in with a certain crowd at school, etc.).  If she is true to herself(whatever she may become) she will no doubt lead a much happier life. 

My question to her:  Are you happy?  Are you being true to yourself? I told her that is what is important.  Be happy and comfortable with who you are.  

That is what it really is about.  Being unashamed of something so natural as sexual preference.  Almost barberic to force a child into something that isn't 'them' due to a millennial-old ideology of some religion or other.

Another thought:   The supposed 'shame' that comes with the lifestyle choice is seen in the parents of a LGBTQ person at times.  Always hearing about parents who disown their own children because the children come out.  Do they think that if they admit a child of theirs is gay, it somehow reflects that they, themselves, are gay as well?  Is the stignatism so bad in their minds, they force a lifestyle upon their child due to their own bigotry?  

 

Courtjester

The Town Drunk
Just let her know you love her and don't even press her on this issue. It is what it is. 

My 20 year old daughter went through this phase right around 9th grade where she was madly, head over heels in love with this girl. This other girl was a little older and completely out. We rolled with it because it frankly didn't matter to us. We have gay family members and friends and we would still love our girl no matter what. Well, that lasted a month and then sure enough, she was then head over heels with a guy and ever since then, she has dated nothing but guys and has zero interest in girls. 

Flash forward to today, my 15 year old daughter is going through basically the same thing. She started saying in 9th grade how she didn't know if she was straight or gay and we were going to just have to deal with it. I think she was disappointed that didn't get us upset or anything. Now her favorite thing to say is she asexual and we are going to have to deal with that also. Okay, we still love her--no change. Tonight she comes home all giddy and flushed in the face because this guy she apparently has a crush on, tried to kiss her after his baseball game.  Yeah,  my wife and I are just riding this wave of female, teenage angst. 

Oddly enough, I have a co-worker whose teenage daughter acted the same way last year, except she said she was bi-sexual.

I can't help but wonder if this is a byproduct of the society we live in these days. We have all these sexual identity titles that are being used by famous people--pansexual, sapiosexual, etc and I think it is confusing for a lot of kids who see this and say, "Hey, maybe this is me too."

Just support her and roll with it and see where the train goes.   

 

Johnny Rock

Footballguy
My teenage daughter had a clingy friend that had some problems as she grew up. One day she sprang it on my daughter that she liked her as more than a friend. So my daughter talked to us about now questioning whether she herself was gay and what we thought, etc. This manipulative girl and her drama had her thinking too much.

I told her she’s young and hasn’t even had a boyfriend yet. Give it time. I said I haven’t seen any behavior up to this point in your life pointing toward that. My wife and I talked to her for a bit and it was good. Just because this friend is attracted to you doesn’t mean anything. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. We would love her either way but it was contrived and this friend was unhealthy for my daughter in many ways.

My advice is to let her know there is no rush to put a label on it. Give it time. Keep an open dialogue. 

Also, what do her sisters think and say about it?

 

SpurrierisisGod

Footballguy
Nothing to add advice-wise other than a little background on how different generations view things.

My 15 yo son never showed any interest in girls...it was always sports. Now he has a girlfriend that he has completely fallen for.  I dont bring it up to my dad much but he asked if there were any games this weekend he could go watch.  No, not this weekend.  He has to go to his girlfriends homecoming.  My dad's response, "well, glad her name isnt bruce."

My dad is 74, as conservative as they come and has a brother that is gayer than Gay Gayerson.  No one cares - except him.  He just cant grasp the concept but I think it was ingrained in him in another time that was more "manly" and it was taboo.  

I admit, my wife and I did worry a bit because there was NO interest in girls until about 3 months ago (That we knew of anyway).  We just always told him it didnt matter, that would love him no matter what.  

I will say though, deep down I am kind of glad he apparently wont have to deal with the social/peer pressure of being gay in Alabama.

 
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shuke

Black Ice Skeptic
playin4beer said:
 She's struggling with it because she thinks I'll be mad or disappointed.. (she's always been a daddy's girl).
This shouldn't be surprising to you.  Look at your your thread title.  You didn't say, "my daughter is gay".  You said, "my daughter thinks she's gay".  Even if this was subconscious, your daughter may have picked up on signals that you might not be supportive.  

My main concern is, she openly comes out as liking girls..she's in 8th grade.  I can't imagine it won't be hard for her the next 5 years of school. 
Meh.  My son has a friend that came out in like 6th grade.  I don't think anything has changed for the kid. This isn't 1985.  

Also, I don't think she's old enough or mature enough to fully understand the situation and whether or not she is gay.
You might be in denial.  I'm sure this isn't easy, but you need to be supportive.

 

MindCrime

Footballguy
I have 2 sons, age 13 and 15. 15 year old questioned his sexuality 2 or 3 years ago. In the past year, he seems to talk about girls a bit more, but has never had a relationship with either female or male. He’s pretty indifferent about dating, focused on school and baseball and Skyrim. 13 year old has tons of female “friends”, but has discussed his gay friends with us. 
Honestly, i think the hardest part for me to understand at first is that this  is now thought of as a choice for many teens. “What bands do you like, what clothing styles to wear, how do you style your hair, are you straight or gay.” As if teen years aren’t difficult enough, now many feel like they need to choose before they even understand the emotions and changes of puberty. 
As a parent, our job is to support them and let them know that a decision does not need to be made at this age, but if they do decide, we will be there to support them.

 

jon_mx

Footballguy
I am not a big fan of labels.  Everyone is different and experience life differently.  Be who you are and be comfortable with what you do.  Know there is nothing wrong with what makes you happy.  

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
I have 2 sons, age 13 and 15. 15 year old questioned his sexuality 2 or 3 years ago. In the past year, he seems to talk about girls a bit more, but has never had a relationship with either female or male. He’s pretty indifferent about dating, focused on school and baseball and Skyrim. 13 year old has tons of female “friends”, but has discussed his gay friends with us. 
Honestly, i think the hardest part for me to understand at first is that this  is now thought of as a choice for many teens. “What bands do you like, what clothing styles to wear, how do you style your hair, are you straight or gay.” As if teen years aren’t difficult enough, now many feel like they need to choose before they even understand the emotions and changes of puberty. 
As a parent, our job is to support them and let them know that a decision does not need to be made at this age, but if they do decide, we will be there to support them.
Love that last paragraph. And I wonder about whether with the stigma removed, if sexual identity is now a choice or still a bilogical imperative. 

I like the idea that they can "choose" without fear of societal repercussions (or at least as big as they were previously)...even though nobody I've ever talked to on either side thought it was a choice. I do wonder if that's a generations/societal thing though, which is why I like the idea that maybe now there's more freedom in it.

My teenage daughter had a clingy friend that had some problems as she grew up. One day she sprang it on my daughter that she liked her as more than a friend. So my daughter talked to us about now questioning whether she herself was gay and what we thought, etc. This manipulative girl and her drama had her thinking too much.

I told her she’s young and hasn’t even had a boyfriend yet. Give it time. I said I haven’t seen any behavior up to this point in your life pointing toward that. My wife and I talked to her for a bit and it was good. Just because this friend is attracted to you doesn’t mean anything. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. We would love her either way but it was contrived and this friend was unhealthy for my daughter in many ways.

My advice is to let her know there is no rush to put a label on it. Give it time. Keep an open dialogue. 

Also, what do her sisters think and say about it?
I think we're all saying the same thing essentially...that well love and support our kids no matter what.

One thing struck me though...if your daughter was interested in a pushy boy, would you have told her the same thing? "You're young and haven't even had a girlfriend yet?" 

 

playin4beer

Footballguy
This shouldn't be surprising to you.  Look at your your thread title.  You didn't say, "my daughter is gay".  You said, "my daughter thinks she's gay".  Even if this was subconscious, your daughter may have picked up on signals that you might not be supportive.  

Meh.  My son has a friend that came out in like 6th grade.  I don't think anything has changed for the kid. This isn't 1985.  

You might be in denial.  I'm sure this isn't easy, but you need to be supportive.
All fair points.. the reason for the wording on the title is because that's what my wife said, and my oldest daughter.  I haven't sat down and talked to her yet, wife and I have that planned for this weekend.  Nothing about her being gay makes me feel anything negative or sad, so I don't believe I'm in denial.  I'm more sad that she thinks I'll be disappointed..

 

playin4beer

Footballguy
My teenage daughter had a clingy friend that had some problems as she grew up. One day she sprang it on my daughter that she liked her as more than a friend. So my daughter talked to us about now questioning whether she herself was gay and what we thought, etc. This manipulative girl and her drama had her thinking too much.

I told her she’s young and hasn’t even had a boyfriend yet. Give it time. I said I haven’t seen any behavior up to this point in your life pointing toward that. My wife and I talked to her for a bit and it was good. Just because this friend is attracted to you doesn’t mean anything. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. We would love her either way but it was contrived and this friend was unhealthy for my daughter in many ways.

My advice is to let her know there is no rush to put a label on it. Give it time. Keep an open dialogue. 

Also, what do her sisters think and say about it?
I've only talked with my oldest about it, she's 21.  Her and I are very close.. We went to Africa together and do a lot, just the two of us..  She also told me that after talking with my youngest, she's confused and not sure of how she feels.  She likes boys, but likes girls too.. I know she's struggling.  There's no doubt I'm supporting her 100% no matter what and don't feel anything but love for all my girls.  I pretty much knew what I was going to say to her going in, I was looking for somebody that may have already went through this for a little more advice.  This is a great board that has a ton of insight and experience.

 

shadyridr

Footballguy
I think in 8th grade its definitely possible for a kid to know they are gay. I also think in 8th grade its definitely possible for a kid to think they are gay (perhaps they confuse a strong bond/friendship as romantic feelings). I think the important thing to do is just be supportive and make sure she realizes the answer doesn't have to be known now.

 

mr. furley

Footballguy
Honestly, i think the hardest part for me to understand at first is that this  is now thought of as a choice for many teens. “What bands do you like, what clothing styles to wear, how do you style your hair, are you straight or gay.” As if teen years aren’t difficult enough, now many feel like they need to choose before they even understand the emotions and changes of puberty. 
:goodposting:  

 

ffldrew

Footballguy
I would also try and talk to her about her self esteem - to not worry at all in 8th grade(and especially in high school) about whether she should "like" someone else - a boy or a girl especially in a sexual manner. Tell her she has a long long life ahead of her that will be full of changes and that the only thing that gets you through that is a solid personal foundation. Tell her it's a waste of time to be focused on that right now.  It's way too young for relationships to be of concern. She needs assurance to resist the peer pressure to "pair" up. Who's she is seen with is unimportant - even though her peers are doing it. Ask her about school and walk her through the situations she sees there - where certain girls are bragging on who they go out with and how it makes them "popular" - and how others are competing to be in a pecking order based on who they "date" - walk her through how stupid it is at her age to be concerned - she knows who the fakers are . Talk to her about the other girl who came out and why it's a non-event in the overall scheme of life. Tell her how beautiful SHE is and talk about those strengths she has - her knowledge, her sincerity, her honesty, her empathy, her trustworthiness- all those things that make a person beautiful - not who she needs to hook up with. Tell her it's better to spend time on those things now and that when she is older that solid foundation will result in better and more fruitful relationships be it with a girl or boy and she will be strong enough to handle any noise that comes her way.

 
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ChiefD

Footballguy
I remember before my wife and I got married, we sat down with the minister for some pre-marital counseling. One of the things he said to me that I will never forget is this:

Men are fixers. They want to fix things. They always want to offer advice on how to do things, how to solve a problem, whatever. And sometimes, as a man, you can't be a fixer. And in those times, you just need to be a listener. And there will be some days where your wife doesn't need you to fix one of her problems: she just needs you to listen.

And to me, this is one of those times where, as a dad and as a man, just listen to your daughter. Support her and if she asks for advice, offer it. But just listen. 

 

Copeman

Footballguy
I was raised much differently than how kids have been raised nowadays regarding "gay", and had/have friends with much different views than what is being posted here.  I still think the same way, only not as bad as I had in the past.  My step kids on the other hand, while not gay, are totally supportive of other lifestyles.  It makes me proud.  To think, at age 47, I learn so much from my teen daughters, and that makes me proud beyond belief.  If not for them, I would still be locked in that old life that is so ugly.

 

SWC

Bromigo
i dont have any good advice brohan but i wanted to say 1 i think your daughter is awesome and brave as hell for coming to you and mom and 2 i think you must be great parents that she is so brave and awesome and that she felt solid talking to you both so basically keep on keepin on and i am glad to know you on the interent take that to the bank 

 

playin4beer

Footballguy
i dont have any good advice brohan but i wanted to say 1 i think your daughter is awesome and brave as hell for coming to you and mom and 2 i think you must be great parents that she is so brave and awesome and that she felt solid talking to you both so basically keep on keepin on and i am glad to know you on the interent take that to the bank 
Thanks Brohan!  Any advice from you to "take it to the bank" is solid advice!

 
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jwb

Footballguy
playin4beer said:
A little background..  Wife and I have 4 daughters.. 14, 16, 18 & 21..   This is concerning the 14 year old.. She's been having a rough time lately, very emotional, moody, etc.. I wrote it off as teenage girl drama/issues..I've been through it with the other three.  My wife told me that after pressing her on what was wrong, she confided that she likes girls more than boys.  She's struggling with it because she thinks I'll be mad or disappointed.. (she's always been a daddy's girl).

Another key piece of information.  My daughter is an athlete and looked up and idolized a girl that graduated last year and got a full ride to a D1 school.. She came out her Senior year as being a lesbian.. They remain close friends thru social media.. 

We aren't a super religious family.. my girls go to youth group at the local Church, but it's because the like it and want to, I've never forced them to go to Church.  I don't really have a strong feeling one way or the other on the issue concerning friends that I have that are gay.  If they are happy, so be it.  

My main concern is, she openly comes out as liking girls..she's in 8th grade.  I can't imagine it won't be hard for her the next 5 years of school.  Also, I don't think she's old enough or mature enough to fully understand the situation and whether or not she is gay.

In the end, she's my daughter and I'll always love and support her no matter what.  I'm just trying to protect her from a sometimes ugly World.

Does anybody have any personal experience or advice??  As always, humor is acceptable ;)
My niece thought she was gay from 13-19 or so. Now she's 22, and has been dating a guy for the last year, so who knows?  

School is WAAAAY different now than when we went. Kids are very accepting, there was an LGBTQ club at my niece's high school, etc. Zero stigma. Now, I live in NY and not Alabama or whatnot, so ymmv depending on your surroundings. But I'm guessing she's not in for anywhere near as hard a time as you are imagining.

 
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SWC

Bromigo
playin4beer said:
Thanks Brohan!  Any advice from you to "take it to the bank" is solid advice!
3 something about this thread is hitting me in the gut because i think it is amazing how far we have come on this stuff instead of this being something to hide and be ashamed of the new question is how do i be a good parent about this and support my kid the best and everyone knows damned well there aint anything at all wrong about it or to be ashamed of love is love and brohan that warms the corners of my beat up old heart and just makes me have some hope that is all i am sayin take that to the bank 

 
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dhockster

Footballguy
ChiefD said:
I remember before my wife and I got married, we sat down with the minister for some pre-marital counseling. One of the things he said to me that I will never forget is this:

Men are fixers. They want to fix things. They always want to offer advice on how to do things, how to solve a problem, whatever. And sometimes, as a man, you can't be a fixer. And in those times, you just need to be a listener. And there will be some days where your wife doesn't need you to fix one of her problems: she just needs you to listen.

And to me, this is one of those times where, as a dad and as a man, just listen to your daughter. Support her and if she asks for advice, offer it. But just listen. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

 

Good Posting Judge

Footballguy
playin4beer said:
 I can't imagine it won't be hard for her the next 5 years of school.  Also, I don't think she's old enough or mature enough to fully understand the situation and whether or not she is gay.
I was pretty certain of my sexuality when I was 14. :shrug:

 

 

Johnny Rock

Footballguy
El Floppo said:
My teenage daughter had a clingy friend that had some problems as she grew up. One day she sprang it on my daughter that she liked her as more than a friend. So my daughter talked to us about now questioning whether she herself was gay and what we thought, etc. This manipulative girl and her drama had her thinking too much.

I told her she’s young and hasn’t even had a boyfriend yet. Give it time. I said I haven’t seen any behavior up to this point in your life pointing toward that. My wife and I talked to her for a bit and it was good. Just because this friend is attracted to you doesn’t mean anything. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. We would love her either way but it was contrived and this friend was unhealthy for my daughter in many ways.

My advice is to let her know there is no rush to put a label on it. Give it time. Keep an open dialogue. 

Also, what do her sisters think and say about it?
I think we're all saying the same thing essentially...that well love and support our kids no matter what.

One thing struck me though...if your daughter was interested in a pushy boy, would you have told her the same thing? "You're young and haven't even had a girlfriend yet?" 
Except she wasn’t interested in the clingy girl. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. The clinger being attracted to her was what triggered questions.

But to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t have questioned her bringing up being interested in a boy. Who would?

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
Except she wasn’t interested in the clingy girl. Daughter wasn’t attracted to her. The clinger being attracted to her was what triggered questions.

But to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t have questioned her bringing up being interested in a boy. Who would?
I wouldnt have asked either way. But you mentioned expecting your daughter to date boys first...so I asked.

 

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