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Being PRIDEful in Your Support: A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Your Adolescent

Written by: Imani Craig, LMSW Clinical Review by: Jenny Ryan, LCSW-C

Being PRIDEful in your support means celebrating and affirming the diverse identities and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community while advocating for their rights and equality, fostering an inclusive and accepting environment for all. Here are a few ways you can support your adolescent:

Importance of Being an Ally

Many youths feel alone as they explore their sexual orientation and gender identity. Family and friends of those in the LGBTQ+ community may not even know how to show up for them. Undeniably, a mix of emotions is experienced when a child shares their preferred sexual orientation and gender identity, and those complex feelings are normal. Support may come naturally to some, while others may be inhibited by their long-held beliefs. Learning how to support your child, adolescent, or loved one is a process, but it is possible.

Start with Love

Many youths within the LGBTQ+ community doubt that their friends and family will support their gender identity or sexual orientation. Though it may be a process for you as a parent or ally, express your unconditional love for them. Love can be expressed verbally through words of affirmation and/or physically through a hug or embrace.

Be Open to Listening and Learning

The LGBTQ+ community is constantly evolving. Become proactive about learning the common terminology and appropriate language for the community. Many of the socially created terms that were once used in the LGBTQ+ community are now seen as derogatory and cruel. A great way to show support would be to familiarize yourself with appropriate terms.

Encourage Dialogue

Show interest in your loved one’s orientation and sexuality. Show curiosity and interest without leading with skepticism or criticism. Children may not be sure what they feel, so give them space to express their feelings without feeling like there is a right or wrong answer.

Help Identify Resources

Youth in the LGBTQ+ community may not know where to seek support. LGBTQ+-friendly environments are crucial for them to feel supported and accepted. Here are some resources you can help them access:

  • Local LGBTQ+ Support Groups: These can provide a sense of community and
  • Mental Health Services: Connect them with therapists who specialize in LGBTQ+
  • Online Communities: Websites like The Trevor Project and PFLAG offer online support
    and resources.
  • LGBTQ+ Events: Encourage participation in local Pride events or other community
  • Educational Materials: Provide books, articles, and other materials to help them
    understand their identity and feel supported.


At Backpack Healthcare, we are dedicated to serving everyone’s unique mental health needs and are proud to help kids and teens who may be struggling with their identity. If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out. We are here to help you navigate this journey.



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