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My dd just told me she is gay and I'm really not sure I handled it well.

(142 Posts)
shakinstevenslovechild Fri 07-Feb-14 20:28:59

She is 9 and told me that she has feelings for one of her friends, I (stupidly) assumed it was a boy and then she started crying and told me it was a girl.

We hugged and I told her it didn't matter if she had feelings for boys or girls or both and I was proud and pleased that she could speak to me about it and all I ever want is for her to be happy and I would always love and support her etc.

But then I started telling her about different kinds of love, love for friends and love for partners and I upset her all over again and she, once again told me it was girlfriend feelings she has, not friend feelings.

We chatted a bit more about it all and she went to bed quite happy and she said she was relieved to have told me but I feel like I have been totally dismissive of her feelings and messed it all up now by a) assuming it was a boy she had feelings for when she told me and b) going on about loving friends when she blatently told me that it wasn't like that.

Can anyone tell me how I can salvage the open and honest relationship I have with her, and maybe recommend a book or some other way to help her deal with her feelings. She seems to be struggling a bit at the moment, although my 13yo son came in when we were talking and she told him and he said 'I don't care who you love, you will always be stinky to me' and gave her a hug and that seemed to ease her a bit (can't believe he handled it better than I did) she seems to be a bit ashamed just now sad

NinjaBunny Fri 07-Feb-14 20:31:59

I think you've done very well.

There's a book called Girl Walking Backwards about a girl (Skye?) who's coming to terms with her sexuality.

Might be a bit old for a 9 year old though.

I'll have a think on other books. Give me a few minutes.

NinjaBunny Fri 07-Feb-14 20:36:02

Here we go:

sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000154901

Scroll down a bit. The first selection of books are for very young children and are about homosexual guinea pigs and so forth.

The ones further down are for your DD's age group.

smile

I have zero experience on this but it sounds like you handled it brilliantly!
You should be very proud that your family feel they can be so honest and open with you.
You've done a great job.
Just be there for her x

SpottyDottie Fri 07-Feb-14 20:37:41

I think you handled it brilliantly and so did her brother. smile

grumpalumpgrumped Fri 07-Feb-14 20:40:09

I think you handled it fine and you are clearly a great mum as your DS sounds awesome.

MrsBartowski Fri 07-Feb-14 20:41:50

It doesn't sound like it went too badly at all.

I think it's great she has been open with you about it. I think I would just press the point that she doesn't need to label herself as gay or anything as she is still growing as a person and shouldn't confine herself to a box.

WaitMonkey Fri 07-Feb-14 20:42:19

You did really well and your son sounds utterly wonderful. smile

shakinstevenslovechild Fri 07-Feb-14 20:42:45

Thank you so much Ninja.

I am ashamed to say that one of my first thoughts was that she is so young to know if she is gay or not, but now that the shock of her telling me has worn off there was never a time I didn't know I liked guys so why would it be any different for her.

She knows her own mind though and always has and I am very happy she told me, I just wish I handled it better, I feel like I was so dismissive.

I'll order her a few of those books (all of them) and I might see if I can find some for myself too so I don't screw the next chat up.

Thank you everyone else too I clearly have no experience of this either and it was a bit of a shock to be honest, I can think of a million things I should have said now, I just wish I thought of them at the time.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Fri 07-Feb-14 20:44:10

She may not have told you she is gay. She might have done - but it might not be quite that. It sounds as though you and your son handled it well. I would just carry on the way you are and look for a few helpful books about relationships generally. I had extraordinarily strong feelings for a female friend at school when I was 10/11 - but I'm not gay. I loved her though - and the strength of feeling was a bit overwhelming for a while. Just keep the channels of communication open. You clearly wouldn't/won't judge her whatever her sexuality so I should just keep loving her the way you do and let her talk to you when she wants to.

NinjaBunny Fri 07-Feb-14 20:46:21

I was gay aged 14/15. Had very strong feelings for a female friend which led to a year long relationship.

CormoranStrike Fri 07-Feb-14 20:46:37

She's not too young to know, but also not too young to be confused. Time will tell.

Most of all it's great she told you and you handled it well.

Be careful about not making every converstion a life lesson about being gay. In my efforts to be supportive I catch myself going too far this way with my son, who quite rightly would say being gay is one of his least important or memorable qualities.

cupcake78 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:49:56

At 9 she will have a very good idea of how she feels.

I think you did very well and your ds sounds amazing! They are a credit to you and your hard work.

Brilliant you can all talk about it. I'd ask her if she's ok and sorry she got upset. That you will always love her for just being who she is and that you hope she can talk to you about how she feels in the future.

Don't make a big deal of it but don't forget or hide away from it either.

Your daughter is a very strong little girl!

mrsjay Fri 07-Feb-14 20:52:28

I think you handled it really well and well done on having such a lovely daughter who can come and speak to you , you must be very proud of her, you have been given lots of advice already just wanted to say I think you did amazing some parents might have palmed their 9 year olds off as silly

SundaySimmons Fri 07-Feb-14 20:53:22

I think you handled it well.

It's great she was able to talk to you.

youarewinning Fri 07-Feb-14 20:54:49

I also think you've handled it well and your DS sounds fab.

I also agree about accepting her and letting her know whoever whenever she loves someone she'll have your full support.

mrsjay Fri 07-Feb-14 20:54:55

shakin although most parents are fine with having gay children and this is wrong wording but I do think or default setting is straight that is probably why you were a bit shocked

YouLoveItDoreen Fri 07-Feb-14 20:55:54

OP, I think you handled it brilliantly, I wasn't able to talk to my parents about my feelings when I was your daughters age, we had a good relationship, but not good enough for me to feel comfortable about that.

Ninja that link is fabulous!

PortofinoRevisited Fri 07-Feb-14 20:56:10

She is 9. She probably loves her best friends and thinks boys are annoying. How this can translate to anyone deciding they are gay at THIS AGE seems a bit peculiar to me. I would just carry on as normal, talk about respectful relationships and not worry about it. My dd (9) is going to be an astronaut, and is never having any babies. They are not mature enough at this age for this to even be an issue.

shakinstevenslovechild Fri 07-Feb-14 20:59:33

Do you think I should try and talk to her about it again tomorrow or just leave her to come to me again?

It really, genuinely isn't a big deal to me, if she is happy I am happy, but if I'm not careful I will make it into a huge deal by going OTT about being supportive, which I wouldn't if she told me she had feelings for a boy, which is confusing me somewhat too.

She told me that this isn't the first time she has had feelings for a girl and she has been feeling this way for a long time, whether thats weeks, months or years I don't know I didn't want to push her to tell me anything she doesn't want to just yet.

Good advice about not making everything into a life lesson about being gay, I will have to reign it in, I just want her to know that she is totally supported.

In future I will hand all conversations to my son though, he is just brilliant and always knows exactly the right thing to say, he doesn't get that from me grin

mrsjay Fri 07-Feb-14 21:02:25

I think I would leave it let her come and talk if she wanted, would you make a fuss if she said she liked a boy ? and next week she might like a boy

AcrylicPlexiglass Fri 07-Feb-14 21:06:29

Your children both sound lovely and so do you. I think explaining different types of love was a very good response. It could well have been a friend crush after all (if anything more likely than not at this age) and you were very clear that it was fine when she said er no actually I think it's different from that. I also think your son's slight lightheartedness accompanied by affection is a perfect way to handle this. My main worry would be that the intensity of her feelings is a little beyond the norm for most nine year olds I've known and I'm not sure it would necessarily go down well with other kids if she were to discuss it with them. The whole "I'm in love with x" thing tends to start quite a bit later, I'd say, and even when it does can be breathtakingly shallow at times (lost track of how many supposed love interests my sons had at about 11/12- lasted about 2 seconds each and then an unceremonious dumping, often via social media, would ensue with precisely zero emotional fallout). I would be a bit worried about her depth of feeling in a world of such shallowness, iyswim. I think she is in quite an unusual situation emotionally for a 9 year old. Is she generally a very intense child?

JupiterGentlefly Fri 07-Feb-14 21:07:07

I don't think you could have handled it any better z

Birdsgottafly Fri 07-Feb-14 21:09:51

"She probably loves her best friends and thinks boys are annoying. How this can translate to anyone deciding they are gay at THIS AGE seems a bit peculiar to me"

I was already masturbating at this age with thoughts of Jack Nicholson in my head (which is now appalling to think of a child that young finding him sexy).

I knew the type of men I liked physically.

Although I wanted to grow up to look like Sophia Loren, it was a different admiration.

Children vary in sexual maturity and development.

Although I agree that I wouldn't label a child's sexuality, as such, that isn't the important part, helping them make sense of each stage and being comfortable with what they are feeling/thinking is what matters.

shakinstevenslovechild Fri 07-Feb-14 21:13:32

No I wouldn't make any fuss at all if she liked a boy, I would know how to handle it because I have been there myself. I haven't been where she is so I have no idea how she is feeling, it's difficult enough having crushes at her age without the added difficulty of having a crush on a member of the same sex at such a young age.

I wouldn't say her feelings are intense about this girl in particular, but I do think her feelings about being gay are pretty intense, and this isn't the first time she has had a crush on a girl (although its the first time she has told me about it) I think she has just noticed that everyone else in her class 'fancies' a member of the opposite sex and gossips about it and she can't speak like the rest of her class about who she 'fancies' which is why, I think, she is a bit ashamed about it and spoke to me. She isn't generally a very intense sort of child, but she does know, and speak, her mind.

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