LGBTQ Youth Struggling with Acceptance
Helping Struggling LGBTQ Youth
Growing up is hard – much harder today than it was years ago. In addition to the challenges introduced by social media, everything just seems to be more difficult. And, when you are “different” (in any way, including identifying as LGBTQ+) simply surviving day-to-day can seem impossible.
Tools to Help LGBTQ Youth
As adults, it is our job to not only protect children but also to provide them with the tools they need to navigate their lives and learn to thrive. This can seem overwhelming, but there are a host of things we can do. Consider some of them.
Identify Groups: Youth groups for those who identify as LGBTQ are becoming more and more prevalent across the country. Some exist as an arm of community programming and others can be found in local school systems. Do some research and see what is available. Providing your child or those you know the opportunity to interact with others “just like them” can be incredibly empowering.
Actively Listen: As parents, we are all busy. Between work and raising a family time is short and responsibilities are significant. We are often distracted and don’t give children the attention they need and deserve. One of the greatest gifts we can provide to today’s youth is to actively listen. Hear their concerns, understand where they originate, and respond compassionately. And, for those of who are not parents, non-judgmental communication with the youth with whom we interact can truly make a difference in their lives.
Behave Appropriately. The adage “do as I say, not as I do” is old – and hurtful. Kids see how we act and our behaviors influence them. So, be welcoming and supportive. Don’t leave people out - inclusion is key. And follow the important rule of “if you see something, say something.”. Bullying should never be tolerated. But big problems often start with small things. If someone says something rude or inappropriate, call them on it. Stop those who disparage others and always be an ally.
Seek Out Information: Knowledge is power. Staying up to date on what is happening both in the world as a whole, in your community, and in the lives of the children around you is so valuable. Research appropriate terminology. Use people’s correct pronouns. And when you are unsure, ask. In order to better support, you have to understand. This is true in life.
As adults, providing children (all children) the support they need to live peacefully, grow appropriately, and learn freely is our responsibility. Sharing kindness in a world that is often difficult can make all the difference in a child’s life.
Work Together for LGBTQ Youth
We need to work together, leverage our resources and help those struggling with acceptance appreciate that they have people on their side who see them, understand them and love them for who they are.
Support for the LGBTQ community is at the heart of what we do at Rainbow Depot. We were once those struggling kids and know, first hand, how hard it can be. Take some time to learn and help those who need you, especially LGBTQ youth.