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This Is a Battle of Love

(Richard Cohen, M.A. © Gay Children Straight Parents 2007; IVP)

As you prepare yourself for this new effort, you will need emotional, mental, physical and spiritual fortitude. Always remember that your child deeply fears losing your love. Although he may have been coached about how to “come out,” he is still afraid that you will withdraw your love and attention. All his conversations with you will have a subtext “Do you accept me as I am?” What your child is really saying is “Do you still love me, or will you reject me?”

Many Parents have asked me, “How long will this take, and what are the necessary steps to win my child back?” The length of time required will largely depend on four elements: (1) your tenacity, (2) your child’s receptivity, (3) the severity of your child’s wounding and (4) God’s timing. As you will see in this treatment plan, there are many positive things for you to do. The more time you invest, the greater the results. Concerning the efforts necessary to win your child back, here is a brief overview of the process.

Educate yourself about the causes of SSA. Read books and articles, listen to audiotapes or CDs, watch videos or DVDs that talk about the causes and healing of homosexuality, and attend parental support groups such as PFOX, JONAH, Exodus, Courage or Evergreen International, which can help you understand the truth about homosexuality. Study sources from Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (www.pathinfo.org) will help you understand how change of orientation happens.

Some Parents and loved ones will have to make the journey from disgust to compassion. It is natural to think about homosexual behavior as unpleasant. This is a visceral reaction to something we do not understand. That is why it is imperative to learn about the truth of same-sex attraction, to listen to individuals who have suffered with these feelings and finally come to a place of deep compassion for their journey. This will take time.

Educate yourself about the homosexual movement and what your child has learned. To learn more about the information to which your child has been exposed, read pro-homosexual books, newspapers and magazines, attend PFLAG meeting and view pro-homosexuals websites. It is important for you to understand how and why your child thinks about being “gay” or “lesbian” Therefore spend time learning about pro-gay philosophy. This will give you deeper insight into your child’s worldview.

Realize you are now entering your child’s world. You are feeling and experiencing what your son or daughter has already been going through, perhaps for years: confusion, hurt, denial, pain, anger, shock, guilt, shame and betrayal. In short, the question you will continually ask yourself is. “Why me?” Ask for support from family, friends and your spiritual community, while bearing in mind that many will have accepted the gay affirmative agenda and thus may not be as helpful as you wish. Attend support groups for parents or participate in our teleconferencing classes via telephone. Take care of yourself. Take care of your relationship with your spouse (if you are married). Keep things in balance while seeking God’s comfort and guidance.

Join with your child. Grieve with and for her. Listen, listen and listen. Be Mr. or Ms. KYMS (Keep Your Mouth Shut). Travel back in time with her to find out what she went through. This will demand much time, touch and talk. Be patient with yourself and your child. This process is more difficult if your child is not living at home, but I will make suggestions on how to work with kids who live elsewhere. And a word to the wise: expect rejection, but never give up.

Establish trust, do things together and attend meeting of their choice. Love, praise, stroke, hold, cherish and provide the unmet needs for love. This is particularly important for the same-sex parent to do. Use all the skills of the treatment plan in orde to create secure attachment and a profound sense of beloning to you. Fathers, get more involved in your son’s life. Mothers, do the same with your daughter. If she wants you to read one of their pro-homosexual books, magazines or articles, do so. If he want you to attend a PFLAG meeting, go. It’s important to demonstrate your love and care by “joining” in his world, seeing from their point of view. It does not mean that you condone the behavior or lifestyle. It means that you love your child and want to understand her perspective.

Seek professional help: therapy, seminars, family healing sessions. Find local therapists who understand what you are trying to do and are willing to assist. You may attend some of our healing seminars, particiapte in private family healing sessions or attend other healing events for parent-child attachment. If your son is interested in healing from unwanted SSA, encourage him to attend a Journey Into Manhood (JIM) weekend, an Adventure in Manhood (AIM) weekend, or International Healing Foundation’s Father-Son and Mother-Daughter Healing Seminars. You may also want to get involved in groups that assist those with unwanted SSA. Do keep it in mind, however, not to push too hard. If you do, you may trigger resistance or even rebellion.

As for your opinions, my advice is that you should state your beliefs regarding homosexuality one time and one time only. Please do not repeat them over and over again. If you continue to hammer away on morals and values, you will further distance your already-detached child and lose valuable ground. You may think that if you don’t constantly reiterate, “I don’t believe in homosexuality,” your child will assume you are accepting his “gay identity and go even deeper into that lifestyle. Your constant negativity will only reinforce your child’s sense of “not belonging” with you and will further distance her from a Loving God. Nagging about biblical law or God’s displeasure will send SSA strugglers directly into the arms of the sad gay world. Bear in mind that we flawed humans need love the most when we deserve it the least. An integral part of the SSA condition is oppositional behavior. As I have seen again and again, those who experience homosexual desires are consciously or unconsciously-deeply wounded. Unable to access their hurts, which often involves past family dynamics, they may do things to upset you as a means of retaliation. Above all else, they need your love, but perhaps they haven’t experienced it to the degree they really need it. Please don’t withhold your love or anything else, such as finances, in an effort to control your child’s behavior. If the love you demonstrate toward your SSA child is conditional, withheld whenever you are displeased, you will widen the gap between you.

Therefore you may not experience a lot of love coming your way from you SSA child, at least not at first. Instead expect tot be rejected when you make more efforts to love and listen. SSA men and women have many shields around their hearts, many defenses and many wounds that have been buried alive. Therefore initially they may reject your attempts af expressing love. Please hang in there. Don’t let go, and eventually they will let you in.

In the beginning, you may find yourself doing the wrong thing and saying what appear to be the wrong words. Try not to worry or obsess about what you’ve said or done; mistakes happen to everyone because there is a huge learning curve. Simply ask your son or daughter to be patient with you, and while you try to find your way through the maze of challenges, extend grace both to your child and to yourself.

While you’re at it, explain your effort to you other children, relatives, and friends. It is important to educate them about the truth of SSA and how they can help your child heal. Teach them about this strategic plan of love. Give them books to read, tapes/CDs to listen to and videos/DVDs to watch. Have them check out websites designed to assist strugglers. And tactfully help correct the misinformation they might have picked up along the way.

Speak to your pastor, rabbi or priest. Some members of the clergy may have been deceived by gay affirmative propaganda on the one hand or may reject anyone who experiences same-sex attraction on the other.

Do your best to help your spiritual leaders understand what you have learned, and encourage them to walk with you through the process. If you find no openness to your plan, it might be wise to seek out another clergyman (or woman) who will support you in your efforts.

"Whoever loves the most and longest wins!"

There was this man who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. He decided to save it by stretching out his finger, but the scorpion stung him. The man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water, but the scorpion stung him again. Another man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him. But the man said, "It is... the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?"

LESSON:

Don't give up loving. Don't give up your goodness even if the people around you sting you. The greatness comes not when things are always going well for you. But the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes... Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.