7 Survival Tips for LGBT Parents

There may be a wealth of so-called mommy blogs online discussing everything from how to choose the right diaper brand to when to start potty training a toddler, but the vast majority of them target heterosexual families. LGBT parents, on the other hand, often find themselves unable to get the guidance they need. Read on to find seven survival tips specifically for LGBT parents.

[image: pexels by daria obymaha]

1. Find an Experienced Surrogate

Some LGBT parents are able to conceive or carry children, but others cannot, and that doesn't make them any less of a child's parent. Should it be necessary to find a surrogate for gays, look for an agency that has experience working with the LGBT community and finding gestational surrogates that have similar values.

2. Seek Support

Every new parent needs support. In most cases, older family members can be relied upon to provide help and guidance, but that's not always the case for LGBT parents. Whether a new parent's family is supportive or not, it's still beneficial to expand support networks early on. Seek advice from other LGBT parents who will understand the unique challenges that come along with raising children in that context.

3. Teach Children Early

Children's brains are like sponges. They're constantly bringing in new knowledge. Teaching kids about the importance of celebrating diversity and treating people with respect and modeling those behaviors sends a positive message. Breaking the wall of prejudice by openly discussing different kinds of families and lifestyles is also important, starting from a young age.

4. Answer Questions Age Appropriately

While it's best to introduce children to the importance of respect for diversity early, it can be difficult to figure out how to address questions about gender, sexuality, and other people's prejudices. Stay calm and respond in straightforward ways that are tailored to the child's age and maturity level.

5. Respect Kids' Feelings

Every child responds differently to entering broader society and interacting with other kids and families. Some know that their families are different but feel that it's completely normal. Others are more susceptible to feeling excluded. Ask about and be respectful of children's feelings as they navigate this difficult time.

6. Foster a Safe Environment

It's easy to create a safe environment at home, but the situation becomes more complicated once kids start venturing out into the wider world. LGBT parents may want to take proactive steps towards making sure that their children's schools, daycare facilities, and other frequented environments are accepting and welcoming of kids from all kinds of families. All kids have the right to an equal education, which means keeping these, and hopefully all other, environments free from discrimination and harassment, but LGBT parents may have to act as stronger advocates than some.

7. Create a Community

Even if a child's peers are welcoming and accepting, it can still be difficult to feel different all the time. Creating a social network of families with LGBT parents can let kids know that they are part of a broader community, which can give their self-confidence a boost and empower them to be whoever they truly are inside.

Parenting is Hard

Parenting is always hard, but LGBT parents often face more challenges than most. Try to balance fighting for equality and equity with protecting children and making sure that they feel supported, loved, and accepted within their homes, schools, and broader communities, and don't forget to stop and appreciate the many joys of parenthood.

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