I have a 16 (almost 17) year old daughter who is struggling with her sexuality. Actually, I should say her dad and I are struggling; not her. She is intent on labeling herself as a lesbian. She has grown up in the church. She knows that that is against God's Word. But she is choosing to pick and choose what parts of the bible she believes are true. We have made it clear to her that a relationship with another girl is not allowed. But she has snuck behind our backs and done it anyway. I want her to know that we love her unconditionally and will always love her no matter what. But that we don't agree with that lifestyle.
She is now being home-schooled because she was going to a Christian school and pretty much made life miserable for herself because she chose to tell everyone that would listen about her sexuality.
This has been going on for about 2 years now. In a little over a year she will be out of the house at college and I am so fearful of the choices that will be made by her when she thinks she has freedom to do as she chooses. And I don't know the right way to handle it at that point since we will be supporting her, but she will be making choices we don't agree with.
I don't even know what I'm asking you, Dr. Todd. I just struggle with how to handle this on a daily basis. And I am so fearful of how to handle it in the future if she chooses this lifestyle.
I truly believe that God will get her through this and she will come back to Him someday. I just get anxious (I know I'm not supposed to) about what will happen between now and then. We have a really good relationship with the exception of this issue; which obviously is a biggie.
P.S. She is seeing a Christian counselor.
Dr. Todd writes:
Thanks for your heartfelt question. I can certainly hear how you love your daughter and are trying to keep your relationship close while guiding her on this important issue at the same time.
Not knowing the details of your daughter’s life and your family relationships, I must speak somewhat generally. I do not know what has caused your daughter to question her sexual identity; there could be a variety of factors. It sounds as if she has experienced a sense of identity and perhaps uniqueness, in identifying herself as a lesbian. However, it is not at all uncommon for heterosexual teens to experience feelings of closeness to a friend of the same gender and wonder if that means they are homosexual, when in fact, they are not. Even having a sexual experience with a same-gendered person does not mean that you are a homosexual. It simply means that you engaged in that behavior.
If your daughter has concluded that she is a lesbian, you are not likely to argue her out of it. But you can love her through this confusing period in her life. I support you in your strong effort to maintain a loving relationship with her; that will be important step number one.
Step number two will be to really listen to her. Listen to understand. What has led her to this conclusion? What is it that she gains from her female friendships? If it is closeness and acceptance that she feels, you can remind her that having those feelings toward a female friend doesn’t mean that she is a lesbian. Does she think heterosexual girls have strong feelings of closeness and friendship toward their close friends? What does she think about what God has to say about his design for marriage, sex, and relationships? Is she willing to turn this area of her life over to God and trust his guidance and wisdom? Don’t turn these discussions into lectures, but listen to her responses and invite your daughter to honestly think about these important questions.
Third, offer to pray about these issues and explore them together. For instance, Focus on the Family has several informative articles about homosexuality on their website that you both can read and talk about. Other Christian organizations that deal with this issue may have helpful material that will be research-based and will help clear up common misconceptions. But this will only happen if you have taken a relationship-first approach.
Finally, allowing your daughter to talk to a Christian therapist can also be a great step in helping her to learn important facts about teenage sexuality, explore her teenage identity issues, and find healthy ways to find a sense of relationship and belonging.
Tue, May 8, 2012
by Dr. Todd Cartmell