How Do I Talk to My Teen About Sexual Orientation?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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Show notes:

In this episode:

  • The Sue Atkins ‘Parenting Made Easy TODDLER SYSTEM’ covering toddler tantrums, play, speech and language, biting, bedtimes, fussy eating, a new baby, night terrors and much more.
  • Ways to Support Your Family: As Children Seeking Mental Health Treatment Soars During the Pandemic.
  • Learn More About Tik Tok’s New Features to Combat Bullying and Harassment
  • Sue Atkins in Conversation with Avril O’Brien Author of Mitchy Titch – All Around the World – a Fun Book of Yoga for Kids

Listen to the Expert Interview

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How Do I Talk to My Teen About Sexual Orientation?

Answer :

Part of being a teen is figuring out who you are — including your sexual orientation and gender identity. No matter what your teen’s identity, they’re likely to have many questions.

It’s a good idea to get clear yourself as a parent about sexual orientation and gender identity as they are 2 different things.

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual are labels that describe sexual orientation, just like straight or heterosexual.

Questioning means figuring out your sexual orientation or gender identity. queer has many different meanings, but it’s often used as an umbrella term to describe a sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender presentation that’s not straight and cisgender.

Even though sexual orientation and gender identity are 2 separate things, many people who are lesbian, gay, or bi and those who are transgender or gender nonconforming have similar experiences growing up. They may grow up with a strong sense that they’re different from the people around them, and fear rejection from their families and friends.

If your teen has recently come out and you’re finding it hard, know that you’re not alone. You may feel worried about your teen’s health or their acceptance in your community. Or you may feel guilty for your attitude toward LGBT individuals in the past, like using words that you now know are hurtful. But it’s never too late to show your support and create safe spaces for your teen.

Finding a community of parents of LGBTQ children can be a big help in working through these issues. PFLAG is a great resource for families of LGBTQ youth.

When it comes to sexual orientation, try not to assume that you know anyone’s orientation until they’ve told you themselves. While it’s true that there are more straight people than people with other identities, assuming that all people are straight until they say otherwise sends the message that straight is normal. In fact, there’s no “normal” sexual orientation, and no one sexual orientation is better than any other.

If you and your teen have never talked about sexual orientation, look for chances to let them know that you think people of all sexual orientations deserve respect. You can talk with them about LGB friends or family, or even characters on TV or celebrities as a way to say that you respect people of all sexual orientations and to ask your teen what they think.

I think it’s about being open and open minded about the outcome and being prepared to listen more than you speak. There’s a gift in listening.


Ways to Support Your Family: As Children Seeking Mental Health Treatment Soars During the Pandemic

A rather grim & growing report from Sky News has suggested that COVID-19 has created a crisis for ‘years to come’ – as lockdowns have put children under ‘unprecedented’ levels of distress.

Sky News is given unique access to a child and adolescent mental health trust to see first hand the crises children are facing.

Before the pandemic, A&E attendances by children with psychiatric conditions had tripled in the last 10 years. Now, month on month, the numbers arriving at hospital are continuing to rise.

Often children will self-harm or harm themselves in other ways to deal with stressful situation.

There’s been a surge in referrals.

The CAMHS team is dealing with a surge in referrals – self-harm, suicide attempts, anxiety – a grim but growing list of troubles.

There is going to be a section of people in our society who are kind of surviving through this now and are in total survival mode,” said the trust’s lead clinical psychologist, Dr Chantal Basson.

“And as we come out of the pandemic, we’re more likely to see the mental health impact on those young people and families.”

Make it Count: A Guide for Parents and Carers on Children’s Mental Health

Make it Count: A Guide for Parents and Carers on Children’s Mental Health

This guide from Mental is for parents and carers to help children understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

It is important that children are encouraged and supported to look after their mental health every day. This guide offers suggestions for how you can help your child do this. The guide also offers advice for what you can do when things get tough and if you’re worried about your child’s mental health.


Learn More About Tik Tok’s New Features to Combat Bullying and Harassment

As part of its continued efforts to combat bullying and harassment, TikTok is introducing a way for users to delete or report multiple comments or block accounts in bulk. People can now select up to 100 comments or accounts rather than having to go one by one.

Apparently TikTok is committed to fostering kindness and along with this update, it has a number of other anti-bullying and kindness features including:

Filter All Comments

Reconsider posting a comment

Choose between a private or public account

Decide who can make Duets

Control who can comment on videos

Remove followers and block users

Report accounts and inappropriate content

Enable Family Pairing

You can learn more about the new features on TikTok here.


The Sue Atkins Book Club has a wealth of resources to support your family through the pandemic

  • HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH LOSS AND CHANGE: a guide for professionals and parents by Amanda Seyderhelm
  • A Mind of Their Own: Building Your Child’s Emotional Wellbeing in a Post-Pandemic World by Katharine Hill
  • It’s ok… by Jodie Greenslade
  • I’m Calm – Jayneen Sanders
  • TAM’S Journey by Amanda Peddle
  • What’s Wrong Arty? by Linda Beckett
  • Books by Clare Shaw, an author of therapeutic stories covering tricky subjects such as bereavement.


Join my Parenting Club and have free access to my 24 week Parenting Made Easy TODDLER SYSTEM covering toddler tantrums, play, speech and language, biting, bedtimes, fussy eating, a new baby, night terrors and much, much more.  

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