The following are research-based steps parents can take to support the health and well-being of their LGB teen: Talk and listen.
Parents who talk with and listen to their teen in a way that invites an open discussion about sexual orientation can help their teen feel loved and supported.
A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LGB students.
A complex combination of factors can impact youth health outcomes.
LGB youth are at greater risk for depression, suicide, substance use, and sexual behaviors that can place them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Parents should have honest conversations with their teens about sex and how to avoid risky behaviors and unsafe situations. Parents who take time to come to terms with how they feel about their teen’s sexual orientation will be more able to respond calmly and use respectful language.
Parents should develop common goals with their teen, including being healthy and doing well in school. Parents who make an effort to know their teen’s friends and know what their teen is doing can help their teen stay safe and feel cared about. Parents can access many organizations and online information resources to learn more about how they can support their LGB teen, other family members, and their teen’s friends.
Get more information from the CDC Fact Sheet: Parents’ Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens [PDF – 254 KB].