LOVING YOUR CHILD
What can I do about my daughter? We can never talk any more. I feel so
angry at her all the time. She is so busy with her friends and her new
life-style, she doesn't even care about what her dad and I think. She is
ruining her life. And ours. What am I going to do?
This call for help by a mother whose daughter is struggling with
homosexuality is an expression of her pain and helplessness. When parents
first learn or are told of their child's homosexual involvement, the jolt
is devastating. The effects of homosexuality in a loved one reach deeply
into the day to day emotional lives of mums and dads of children involved
in homosexual behaviour and relationships. Disbelief and doubting often
occurs. "I don't think he is really gay. It's just a phase." After this,
feelings of fear surface. Finally, "What in the world are we going to do?"
From their children and their community, many parents are told to accept
homosexuality and learn to live with it. People who have not gone through
this are not always very understanding, though, as to what is at stake for
a parent and what trauma this brings to their life. It's hard for a parent
not to sadly reminisce back to the days when little Susie was sweet and
innocent, wanting a bedtime story read.
It is also difficult not to think about the opportunities you wanted to
give your children that you never had, like a chance at university and a
good job, not to mention having hopes of them finding a good mate and
having a family. Sorrow, anger, and restlessness are all products of such
unhappy news. Because these reactions are natural, don't let anyone tell
you it's not appropriate to feel this way.
What also comes up in the midst of these feelings is the urge to do
something: to get the child out of this lifestyle and back on their feet.
As we've talked to our kids, told them how we feel about homosexuality, and
tried to figure out a plan to get them out, frustration has been added to
our hurt. There are some things we just can't do for them. As we well
know, talking and figuring can sometimes make things worse. The child,
adult or otherwise, grows distant as we unknowingly antagonize him or her.
But there are ways to make our lives more manageable and our relationships
with our children more satisfying.
1. Love is the reason for our frustration and hurt in our relationships.
It's because we love so much that we hurt so much. Love is a positive
factor, but when it is manipulative it becomes negative. If a sentence is
started, "You know I love you, but ...", who is going to take heed to the
rest? In Dr. Ross Campbell's book, How to Really Love Your Child, he says,
"What is unconditional love? Unconditional love is loving a child no
matter what. No matter what the child looks like. No matter what his
assets, liabilities, handicaps. No matter what we expect him to be and,
most difficult, no matter how he acts. This does not mean, of course, what
we always like his behaviour. Unconditional love means we love the child
even when at times we may detest his behaviour." 1/
If, as parents, we can practice unconditional love, our children will
respond more positively to us. Because they are human beings, they deserve
to be loved and, most importantly, in an unconditional way.
2. To love unconditionally we must let go. This is needed in two specific
ways. First, we must give up our desires and attempts at controlling our
childrens' lives. This includes setting unrealistic limitations on when
and where they can go (for the child at home), constantly giving advice
with the subtle undertones of "I'm right and you're crazy." and stifling
their normal independence with our mistrust. Our children know how we
feel: it's not necessary to reiterate it at every opportunity. We must
respect them enough as people to allow them to make their mistakes and make
their own life choices.
The second area of letting go is difficult because it's hard to see. To
give our children the freedom they need, we must give up our expectations
of them. Whether it was a fantastic career with a strong wife supporting
him, or grandchildren to sew for, these are our dreams, not theirs. It's
not fair to live for the successes and hopes fulfilled in our childrens'
lives. We must somehow convey to our children that their decisions are
their own and, "Whatever you decide is okay with me. I still want to be a
part of your life because I love you, not because I'm pleased with what you
3. Pray. Pray to see God's perspective of our child when we aren't feeling
like loving unconditionally. Pray for the courage and wisdom of how to let
go. "Lord, show me in what areas I'm controlling and have expectations.
Give me the courage to remove the pressure of my dreams from my child."
In our parents support group, we often pray for God's intervention in the
child's life, that through His creative work God will confront the issue of
homosexuality and bring our children to truth. Then trust God daily that
He is in control of our son or daughter and it is by His power that healing
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May
your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."
(I Thessalonians 5:23,24 NIV.)
Parents are naturally very angry and very hurt when a child does something
completely against their grain. When kids are three and four, we have the
opportunity and responsibility to correct and discipline. But with our
adult children, it is difficult. We never have to compromise on our stance
that homosexuality is sin. We never have to feel terrific that our child
is involved in homosexual behaviour. We don't have to quit praying. But,
in time, as God gives us grace, we do have to let go of our child into the
care of the heavenly Father. In time, we must show unconditional love as
often as possible.
I hope you see the time as now.
-- Kelcie Sheriff
1/ Dr. Ross Campbell, How to Really Love Your Child; Victor Books,
For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual
brokenness, please contact:
LOVE IN ACTION
G.P.O. Box 1115
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone (08) 371 0446
This article is reprinted by permission from
P O Box 33039
Seattle WA 98133-0039
MINISTRY TO HOMOSEXUALS
Database Listing - Ministry To
Christian Resources on Homosexuality on the web
These documents are free from BelieversCafe.com
the complete christian resource site with more than 5000 webpages.