Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2015

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Page 10 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 11 concerns that lingered well after that discussion. Like Wynkoop, her great- est concern was how others would treat her son. She says she concocted every terrible scenario imaginable, and was horrified to think, "There will be people in his life that hate him just because he is gay." She says she cried, wondering, "What kind of life is he going to have?" Tips for fellow parents So what can parents do when faced with this news? How should they react when their vision of their child's future suddenly changes? How can they be supportive and at the same time address their own fears and concerns? Wynkoop and De Muro offer these tips: 1. Take a breath Wynkoop suggests waiting to say something until you have had time to process the information. "Some- times the best reaction is to say, 'Let me digest this.'" She also points out that though the teenager has thought about this moment for a very long time, the conversation is probably coming as a surprise to the parent. De Muro echoes this advice. She says that when faced with this news, parents should take the time to process, keeping in mind that if your child is coming to you with this in- formation, that child is putting his or her trust in you. "Don't react. Act." 2. Allow yourself to be human The surprise and shock parents feel upon learning that their child is gay is understandable. "We have to give ourselves a break," Wynkoop says. "Even as a well-educated and aware parent, we tend to go with what society says is normal." It is okay to express fear, says De Muro, and if you don't know quite what to do for your child, that's okay, too. "Ask your child questions; let them tell you what they need." (Continued on Page 12) 5 $KHDOWK\SUHJQDQF\ " 5 %HLQJDQHZSDUHQW" 5

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