My daughter told me she was bisexual. How am I supposed to react?
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Johnny - posted on 04/16/2012
If you are wondering when the appropriate age to feel 'bisexual' or 'homosexual' is, just ask yourself when you started to feel 'heterosexual'. I remember having little crushes on little boys as far back as age 7 or 8. I never remember having a crush on one single girl. And I recall other little girls talking boys way back in grade 1. No one thought that was anything but normal. Why would she have to be any older to know that she is attracted to both boys and girls?
When I was 6, my best school friend kissed me under the blanket that constituted our "fort" but told me he just wanted to try it because he really wanted to kiss one of the boys. He has now happily married to his husband for 5 years. Children do not need to have reached or gone through puberty to have a good idea of their gender attractions.
Martha - posted on 11/15/2012
My daughter, who is a similar age, also told me last night that she thinks she might be bi-sexual. We had a really long talk, and I am just offering this as another explanation. Firstly, I felt a bit at sea because I wanted to react in the right way, but inside I felt a bit panicked as of course school can be so cruel. But I didn't say anything, and I talked through what she meant by attraction. Boys: she said, she wanted to have a boyfriend and to be hugged etc. I said, do you feel the same about girls? She said she didn't want to be physical, but she likes how pretty girls look. I've left it pretty open with her, and said there is no rush to define herself and she should see how things go. But I did say too that finding something or someone attractive can be asethetic. All women - or most women, look at other women - their hair, dress sense, nails, whatever, and can find them pretty. Women's magazines are rarely full of pictures of men, but usually women we want to be like. I think because teenagers are more aware of different sexual orientations nowadays, they probably rush to a conclusion but in fact may simply be muddling attraction with sexual feeling. If she is bi-sexual I really hope she has the same experience as Cathy Day's daughter and finds a positive and loving relationship with the person she dates. In the end I've found that what I want for her in the future is for her to be happy and safe and loved. I'm nervous for her - but I think I'd be nervous if she told me she wanted to date anyone at her age, because so much pressure to do too much too soon is on teenagers. I'm so glad I'm not her age anymore!
There is no age, some people just know. Try this thought process, "At what age did I know I was heterosexual?" You've probably never thought about it and that's how many bisexual and homosexual people feel as well. No matter who she falls in love with , she's still your child and personally this is not news that is earthshattering to me.
Tell you you'll love her no matter what - that's what she needs.
Cathe - posted on 04/16/2012
I am stumped bu Louise's advice...If you are not bisexual yourself, how can you possibly know when the appropriate age is to "feel" bisexual. Bisexuality/gay/lesbian is not a disease...Let it be a non-issue. allow her a safe place to talk openly about how she feels, and what she is experiencing and let her know that you love her. She will figure out her feelings if she has a safe place to share them and talk openly. I have a gay son, and I knew from the time he was little that he was gay, so it wasn't a surprise when he told me at 16. I have a daughter that is heterosexual but had a relationship with another woman. It was a great relationship and she learned so much about herself and how to be in a relationship with someone. She is now engaged to a wonderful guy..Why isn't okay for our children to love and be loved by others and not worry about gender?...
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I totally agree with CAthe. I have had had some very big attractions to girls all my life although I am predominately heterosexual and have never had a relationship with a woman. I never put it into words when I was younger because I didn't know what it was. She's so fortunate to have you as a Mom.
Kay - posted on 04/15/2012
I had feelings from the time I was nine or ten that I found both males and females attractive. It plagued me up until I left my parents' house, because I never felt comfortable sharing those feelings with them.
Little Miss has a very good point about keeping communication open. If you are comfortable, your local Gay Straight Alliance can be a great place to find people who have been through the same situations, and most of them are very open-minded about the possibility that your daughter may always feel this way or may change in the future.
Just letting her know that you love and accept her can work wonders. I think it speaks volumes about your parenting that she came to you with this information, so you are probably better equipped to deal with this than you think.
Good luck, and best wishes.
Medic - posted on 04/15/2012
Not much you can do, your options are accept it, pretend it did not happen, or not accept it. I would hope you would accept it, talk to her about her feelings and why she feels that way and be open and encouraging to her expressing herself. Could it be a phase?.... Yes....Could it be her life feelings? Yes...so why not take this time to just let your daughter talk and share and for her to know you support her and love her no matter what.
Louise - posted on 04/15/2012
I would listen to her but not encourage either way. Your daughter is hitting puberty and emotions are going to be high. Dont dismiss her but explain to her that she is very young and just because she thinks that way now does not mean she will feel the same way in 6 months time.
She has been very brave to talk to you about this so make sure you leave the communication lines open.
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