Not too long ago, I polled Christian parents of LGBTQ kids and asked them this:
When your child came out to you, select any of the thoughts you experienced in the days that followed...
“I have failed as a parent.”
“I want to get my child help to overcome these feelings.”
“We have to keep this a secret.”
“What will my friends think?”
“Yay! My child can finally be who they are!”
“It’s probably just a phase.”
What do you think was the most common answer? I’ll tell you…
It was, “What will my friends think?”.
47% of respondents reported having that thought. Half!
I was a bit surprised, but I don't think I should have been. Humans are social creatures and fears around status are very, very real.
Here’s the thing though: Worrying about what others—friends, family, or extended family—will think about your child is poison to your soul. Some may gossip or ignorantly think that you’re a bad parent. Gossip exists, and the more we obsess over it, the more power we give it. Ultimately this is out of our control, and there’s a freedom in just letting go of the compulsion to worry about it.
Since high school, I’ve loved Proverbs 29:25…
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
That’s what I mean. Fearing the thoughts and opinions of others is a trap. The alternative is trusting God through it.
I think it’s perfectly normal for parents to worry about what their friends will think. But you can’t keep worrying about it. I encourage parents to begin doing the emotional/spiritual work of caring less and less over time.
It’s true…people may judge your child. But ultimately, your child’s sexuality and how they’re processing it is no one else’s business.
Worrying about what your friends will think is a trap.