DD1 came out to us this weekend and I don't know what to do for the best(30 Posts)
Our eldest DD (14) came out to us this weekend as pansexual. We praised her for being so brave to come out to us (she has already come out to her younger sister (12) & a small group of close friends), had her explain what it was, said it was fine with us, advised her to be careful about who she shares this information with (because other people can be idiots, not because we want her to hide herself away) and hugged her. Everything has been fine since then.
I've done some googling & understand better what it means. I've also had another conversation with her about it today to understand better and make sure she's ok/safe. I know she had a crush on a friend's son a while back and from what she's said she's had similar feelings towards someone at her (all-girls) school.
DP's attitude was fine and he seems totally relaxed about it. I, on the other hand, am now freaking out (slightly, not too much) about how to deal with it and keep her safe. I think I'm still in shock tbh.
It was all further compounded today by DD2 (12) telling me about her group of friends (a mix of bi-, a-, straight etc). When I followed that up with 'what about you' I was honestly expecting her to say 'no, I'm totally straight'. Instead her eyes just filled with tears. I was so gutted that I'd unintentionally led her to a question she didn't want to answer. I hugged her, said whatever she feels she is is ok with us and she can tell us when she's ready to. And I wouldn't mention it again.
I gave DP the heads up, said about her group of friends and he responded by saying there seems to be a band wagon situation - as in they're all jumping on it. So I think he's certainly sceptical about DD2 and also possibly about DD1.
Anyhoo whatever they both are or decide to be, sexuality wise, is fine but I just don't know how to deal with it going forward. I need to talk about it but DP is more of a mind to see how things pan out over time. There's only so much talking he'll contribute to. I just don't feel I can do nothing. I don't mean I want to 'change their minds/feelings' or anything like that. But I feel like I'm staring at a blank page now.
I don't think you need to do or say anything more. You've assured both your daughters that your concern is their safety and happiness. It's really a case of waiting now, to see what relationships they embark on and encouraging them to have healthy relationships with whoever they are with.
I'm an emotional wreck over it. I'm confused and almost want to just leave everything/one (which I realise won't help my kids much)
It really doesn't matter and the drama is ridiculous tbh. They are teens and trying to fit in at school is hard enough nevermind the drama at home about who they fancy.
Just put it at the back of you mind like you would if they were straight. Not sure why it makes a difference
I understand that you feel you need to do something - you want to pre-emptively protect your daughters, and make sure that they are happy and won't get hurt. But I agree that the best thing you can do right now is to take a deep breath and do nothing for a while. You have let your girls know that you are there for them, and that you accept them for who they are, and that's all they need right now. Let them come to you.
I feel, tbh, that this is just the difficulty of parenting at this age: you want to protect them as much as you ever did, but they are learning (and need to learn) how to make their own way in the world. Sometimes we parent best by letting go. They will both have their hearts broken one day, because having your heart broken is part of life. And you will be there for them to weep on, and to help them pick themselves up and get back out there.
Thank you all for your replies. I'll do my best.
Yes I don't think it's the sexuality issue that's driving your feelings. It's just a part if growing up which naturally has to mean growing away from us. Whilst that's how it needs to be and it's a huge joy to get to witness it and be part of it, it is also very emotional and sometimes it catches you out with the force if the emotion.
It's not caring about the sex or gender of the other person. Like bisexual, but without having a gender binary.
What is pansexual?
I am not sure. Apparently meaning you are attracted to intersex persons, or, more likely, to "non-binary", because after all, in this brave new world, trans identified males are and always have been women and lesbians are required to be attracted to them, so it cannot apply to being attracted to trans.
That's what I'd worry about most.
Not that the DD is probably bisexual, but that she feels the need to use this kind of terminology.
OP, ask her why she thinks she isn't bi, as apparently some people in her friend group are. What makes her different?
Perhaps that'll get you some answers that'll help you find out whether there is anything to worry about.
Otherwise, don't worry. You don't have to "deal" with it. Your DP has it right, sorry. Your daughter having a crush on a girl is no problem.
Thanks. I'm still confused. It all seems very intense for preteens.
Your 12 year old daughter's friendship group is a mix of bisexual, asexual and heterosexual children??
That's what she says they say. Probably they're busy labelling themselves and each other.
DP reckons that they give them so much info at school now, compared to what we had (1970s), that they feel obliged to give themselves a label. And that being in single sex education it's hardly surprising that they're coming out as something other that straight - i.e. Crush on a girl not surprising when in puberty. And equally they've both had crushes on boys.
I'm just totally thrown by it and my own hormonal/mental state (perimeno) hasn't taken it very well although I get the logic of what he's saying & I don't care what they end up deciding they each are.
Pansexual means they don't care about the sex or gender if the other person. It's more fluid than bisexual.
They are still so young and its normal at that age to have crushes on boys and girls. Its so dad they begin to label themselves so early. I wouldnt get into it too much as if they want to change their minds they may find it difficult if everyone has already labelled them. You have assured them.of your love. That was the most important thing. I think its so sad your 12 year old has this to contend with at such a young age.
I would let them both know that sexual attraction and sexuality changes a lot in teens and twenties and to just live and learn who they are and who they fall in love with. I would also tell the 12 yo and maybe the 14 yo to postpone dating a year or two (take the pressure off themselves). Personally I think these are some of the messages kids need from parents.
No dating going on as yet and I wouldn't be happy about the 12yo dating yet anyway. I think it's the 12yo that has upset me the most. She's only just starting out with puberty and yet she and her friends are labelling themselves already. And she's also the most brittle about it, defensive before I even say something. The 14yo at least will talk with some insight into her feelings.
forgive me, but I am a bit sceptical. Not if you OP or your dd who is struggling to work out who and what she is.
I am sceptical of all the labelling that goes on.
When we were teens, there was o lot of crushes on same sex older girls and teachers, combined with crushes on opposite sex pop idols, combined with lots of naive real life yes/no/maybe about who we fancied.
Most of that took a long time to settle down. Obviously some people had a much clearer idea of who they were attracted too from an early age, but I really do think some of this sexual fluidity is a normal part of growing up. I wish that they didn't feel the need to label and identify so completely so young.
steppemum I agree and DP obviously does. They're getting so much more information and education about this than we (me and DP) ever did and they seem to need to label themselves.
It totally threw me for a loop and today things are a little easier. DD2 is clearly at an age where I know nothing, she knows what she is, and there's nothing else to discuss. Her only discussions will clearly be with her mixed bag of friends at school for now. DD1 is at least more amenable at the moment and will have a reasonable conversation about it.
Pansexual means they don't care about the sex or gender if the other person. It's more fluid than bisexual
It's also terribly fashionable. I know that sounds awful, but really it is.
I'm with your DP. In the 70s they'd have been joining the Moonies.
Oh look... having said that I also think you should read Fish's post carefully. Be really wary of who you turn to for advice because some so-called professionals are so brainwashed by the Cult of Trans that they'd not address her situation objectively or holistically, but instead put her on the trans bandwagon where (as Fish said) she might be too scared to jump off again.
One of my secret vices is Girls' school stories from the early twentieth century and I am always intrigued by the open and honest way in which 'crushes' were discussed in these. Perhaps we need more of this kind of thinking instead of the current inclination to see anything about identity or attraction as an indication of some inner truth about gender, sex or orientation?
Yetanotherspartacus totally understand where you're coming from. My difficulty is that when I so much as suggest to my girls that they might want to be careful about labelling themselves so early and to understand that they may want to be more open minded (as they're expecting me and DP to be) they shut down on me. That's tantamount to my saying 'it's just a phase' and that's been clearly indicated to them as not supportive, either by their friends or school. Have yet to speak to latter to find out their approach and support mechanisms.
Agree with you re early 20th century books. I loved Enid Blyton and still have my mum's collection of Chalet School books tucked away. I even reread them occasionally
Why all the drama? Let them be who they want to be. Does it matter?
I find it so troubling that children barely into their teens (or not even, in your 12yo's case) are labelling themselves with complicated, exotic (and yes, trendy) sexualities. Bloody tumblr
Anyway, I wouldn't be that concerned. It's just teen navel gazing, and she most likely won't consider herself "pansexual" in ten years.
Fingers crossed the friendship group don't all start coming out as trans in a few months/years, because I find that more worrying than any sexuality.
It matters to the teenagers because they love a drama! Yes they like to talk about labels but in reality not that much has changed. My sons friendship group is similar. Two of the girls at least have come out as bi and then gone on to date a succession of boys and no girls. One guy is gay. There is a bit of a bandwagon thing going on, just wait it out and they'll be what they'll be.
Being told your child is very different to how you usually innately assumed they would be is a massive revelation to get your head around. You will be working through your own process as a mother for some months to come (a bit like grief has stages you pass through in time). Tonnes of stuff is going to be buzzing around in your head.
Fact: you raised a child who feels comfortable enough with herself and her family to express her true self (something some people never do and spend their lives half lived). In my opinion being able to express yourself from as early as possible is No1 importance in life.
Other than that, with an open attitude (from you) to be who she needs to be in her life, just leave it alone and let your own head process it all. Because down the line none of it will matter, life will just feel fine with your children and their partners and all the emotional stuff that comes with it when they turn to you cause you accepted them just as they are.
My daughter came out 7 years ago and it knocked me sideways, I cared way too much about what other people might think/say/act/treat her. I even blamed the men in her life for not being good enough role models!!!! None of it happened, it was all my head just having to process 18 years of change in expectation.
There are harder things to have to go through in life in future than our kids sexuality, I learnt that too.
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