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Helping A Teen Who Is Coping With Gender Orientation Issues

The most important thing to keep in mind is that teenagers typically have very mixed feelings about those of their own and the opposite gender.  As teens come to terms with their own sexuality, they are often confronted with a sense of sexual attraction to nearly everyone they meet.  That is because their hormones are in a constant state of flux and arousal can occur in almost any situation.  Therefore, just because a teen is attracted from time to time to someone of the same gender does not necessarily mean he is gay

On the other hand, if your teen comes to you with this concern it is important to remain calm and listen to what he is really saying.  Depending on your personal background, you may be very uncomfortable, even dismayed, at the idea that you child may be gay.  On the other hand, you should also beware of overcompensating in the other direction in such a way as to convince your teen that fleeting feelings he has experienced are more significant than they are.

The key lies in balance and support.  Assure your teen that you love him no matter what.  Explain to him that he will probably not be completely clear about his sexual orientation for several years yet.  Even if he has experimented sexually with members of his own gender, that does not necessarily mean he is gay.   Chances are at this stage in his life he may be attracted to both boys and girls.  In either case, make sure he understands about the importance of protecting himself from sexually transmitted diseases.

Because sexuality can be such a charged issue, arrange for your teen (with his permission) to talk with someone outside the family whose counsel you trust.  Hopefully this person can help your teen better understand his feelings, whatever they are, and cope with them better.

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