It’s natural to have concerns about how to tell your parents about your sexuality

Teenage girl talking to her mum about her sexuality 

Many people (not just young people) would find it difficult to have a conversation about sex and attraction with their family.

But sometimes your parents are the best people to speak to. When it comes to conversations about sexuality, your friends may not know much more than you do, and the internet can’t necessarily give you all the advice you need.

If you’re worried about how to tell your parents about your sexuality – for example, if you don’t know how to tell your parents you’re gay, lesbian or bisexual – here are some tips that might help.

1. Know what you’re going to say

It might help you to write down your thoughts or record yourself speak before you have a conversation with your parents. This means that you can explore your ideas beforehand, and you’ll have a really clear idea of what you want to say or the questions you want to ask.

You may feel frustrated that your parents assume things about your sexuality – after all, lots of people are not only attracted to the opposite gender. Try to see this as an opportunity to educate them. You can find resources online for your parents to learn more, including how to talk to you about your sexuality.

2. Pick a time and place, and choose who you tell

If you want to tell your parents about your sexuality, make sure you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Ask your parents when a good time would be to talk, and go to a place where you feel comfortable. This could be in a quiet spot at home, or outside if the house is normally chaotic. There might never be a perfect time, but try to pick a moment where you can relax and focus on what you want to say. Also try to read your parents' mood, if they've had a stressful day at work that might not be the best time to approach them as they could react in a way that is more about the stress at work than what you've told them, for example.

Remember you don’t have to tell both your parents together. If you feel like it would be better to have a conversation about your sexuality with only one parent, ask to speak with them alone.

3. Think about your parents

Even though you may have been thinking about this moment for a long time, this is new information for your parents. They might have questions, so be prepared and try to answer them if you feel comfortable doing so.

If they react in a way you don’t expect or say things you don’t like, you can tell them that you want to stop the conversation and talk to them again another day. First reactions don’t always last, so they might need a few days to get used to what you’re telling them.

4. Talk about what happens next

Your sexuality is your own. If you don’t want your parents to tell other people just yet (for example other family members) be really clear about that and ask them to respect your wishes.

Now you’ve opened the door to telling your parents about your sexuality, you don’t need to close it again. Keep the dialogue open for future conversations – you could even arrange to talk with them again soon. That way, you can go to them with more questions, and they can do the same. It will make you feel much better if everyone is being open with each other.

5. Be kind to yourself

Tell yourself you are making a positive step in your life. Whether the conversation with your parents went smoothly or if there is still some talking to do, be proud that you have done it!

If you feel like you need more time, that’s okay too. It’s important to go at your own pace, so be kind to yourself and try not to put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

To learn more about sexuality or to get advice about other topics, visit The Children’s Society resource vault for information and tips.

go to our resource vault