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My 16-Yr Old Announced She's Bisexual

My daughter and I had a deep discussion yesterday, following an interrupted Mother's Day (due to ex-husband issues). Among other things, she "came out" to me that she is bisexual and just asked her best friend to go out with her (she also informed me her friend is definitely gay). I'm trying to be open-minded, but in the end I'm just a heterosexual mommy who is trying to keep her child healthy, happy and sane.

So ... since she is now dating another girl, am I supposed to restrict sleep-overs with this friend? If it were a boy, I certainly wouldn't let him come over and sleep in her room with her! Since she has many sleepovers with girlfriends, should I be restricting her participation. Should I even worry about?! I guess I don't have to worry about her becoming pregnant (trying to see the humorous, positive side).

To be honest, I'm struggling with this announcement. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone of differing sexual orientation by my questions. I have had gay friends (they moved away), but never a very close friend that I could ask these questions. I also think it's a natural thing for teenagers to explore their sexuality and my daughter has been disappointed that boys haven't asked her out. (She's a smarty pants and I feel scares them all away with her cutting remarks and criticisms.)

Any advice on how to handle all of this? My daughter is extremely stressed out about the difficulties between her father and I. We've been divorced for almost 13 years, but it has been terrible the whole time. I don't want to stress her out even more with my response to her honesty. Help ...

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First, I gotta say "WOW!". I was overwhelmed with the wonderful, promt, and varying responses I received and was so happy to discover this whole "MamaSource" really works!! This was the first time I posted a question and was so happy to get EVERYONE's input. I don't have girlfriends I could discuss this with, so I really wanted to get some opinions.

Now - for an update. My daughter and I have continued to discuss the subject, my views on sleepovers, and the whole thing in general. For all those wondering, no, she is not sexually active and never has been with either sex. I was pretty sure when she turned 16 she was the classic "sweet 16 and never been kissed". She and her girlfriend have kissed on the cheek once or twice and that's it. Heck I remember "practicing" french kissing with girlfriends when I was younger, so I think I'm okay so far.

My daughter's girlfriend told her she was a bit uncomfortable "going out" because she was concerned it would ruin their wonderful friendship. We discussed how that can happen many times with heterosexuals and then you're left without your very good friend when things don't work out sexually (not fun and a waste of a good friendship). Over the past few weeks, they've talked some more and will be "taking it slow" so they are both comfortable and can keep open communication going So - she's planning now for a "first date" this summer. Ok - we'll see where it goes.

I absolutely agree with so many that my daughter is just not getting the same support does with the special girlfriend and is longing to have a deeper relationship to check it all out. And when I say "check it all out", the kids hasn't been on a first date, ever! I moved out of the house when I was 16 (and had already been thru several pregnancy tests), so again, I'm struggling to understand what she must be going through.

We discussed again the ground rules when it comes to sex and sleepovers. Interested in someone sexually (I don't care which gender), no 1:1 sleepovers. She also understands what a serious step it is to enter into a sexual relationship and doesn't plan on moving quickly into that arena at all any time soon. She knows it changes everything and should be handled with great care and respect.

We have continued to discuss the difficulties and stress she faces (heck we all face) with shared custody. Admittedly, she finds it difficult to know "who's right" when we both have different stories to tell and advise to give. I asked her to consider that we might both be "right" and to listen with her heart or ask for more details when she feels our information is confusing. When I say the sky is blue and he says it's purple, she'll just need to go with her gut. I can't make magic and that fact that he puts her in the middle and she feels she can't say "no" and tell him it makes her uncomfortable is something we'll continue to work on. We have done inconsistent counseling to get through some rough patches, but she doesn't feel like more frequent counseling will resolve everything. It won't, but it can't hurt either. I'll make some appts.

Lastly, my daughter has not shared this with her brother, father or anyone else but her immediate friends. I talked about when her brother should be "brought into the loop" and that if things progress the appropriateness of telling him sooner rather than later so he doesn't hear it from someone else :( I'm not really sure how he'll accept or understand the meaning of all of it. He's extremely close to her and to make a long story short her father has put her in a position of "mommy" to him since we split when they were 3 and 1 yrs old. Another burden my daughter carries and I try so hard to break for her.

Anyway - enough typing for now. I'll apologize beforehand for any typos or missed words. I didn't scroll back through to edit ;)

Thanks again, everyone!!

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honestly I would treat it like you would any dating situation.

If you wouldn't let boys spend the night, don't let her.
Same rules apply.

In this case.. just let her explore herself.

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B.,

I would contact PFLAG it is a lesbian/gay/bisexual group that could help you with any questions you have and how to talk to your daughter about it. As far as sleep overs go, I would get a clearer understanding of what sexual activities your daughter is active in or if she is(she may think she's bi because she kissed another girl or had sex with her- see what the extent of the relationship is)-- then based on that info, you can see if you should not allow sleepovers with the girlfriend- but friends are ok etc. I would also encourage you to get your daughter one on one counseling for handling the divorce issues. I think it would be very beneficial to her especially at this critical stage in her life. Good luck to you!

Molly

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honestly I would treat it like you would any dating situation.

If you wouldn't let boys spend the night, don't let her.
Same rules apply.

In this case.. just let her explore herself.

3 moms found this helpful

I've got that "oh no I thought I was liberal why am I reacting this way" t-shirt, and the companion scarf:"I'm worried she'll make bad choices in partners because her dad and I have a terrible relationship after our divorce when she was 4 years old".

My daughter is almost 21 now, and I found out she identified as bi when she was about the age of your daughter. (She didn't tell me herself though.) My reaction was a lot like yours, similar concerns AND "silver lining" thoughts.

Give yourself a big round of applause that she felt like she could talk to you about this. That speaks volumes to your relationship with her, and the home in which she was raised.

Second, give yourself time. Your feelings will most likely evolve - I know mine did. While I still worry about an unforgiving world and the difficulties she may face if she ends up with a woman, I worry more about the quality of the relationship than the gender.

I think it's valid to let her know where you stand on the issues of ANY sexual activity at her age, regardless of orientation. And they can't hear too much about safety.

Connie

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Wow! This is a touchy subject! But lets just go with some facts. Biblical facts...God made male and female to be one. not any other way or any more than 2. I think that her feelings are natural..we have these natural feelings but during certain times and without proper direction you can get confused. I do think exploration of herself is ok. Hopefully she will get a sense of this not feeling totally fulfillng. My best advice to you if you do not already is to find a good Church and get some basis of moral teaching so that she can better stear through this life. Looking back at my crazy past, I wish that is what my parents had done. As far as allowing the friend to sleep over, I think it is ok, spend as much time with them as you can, get to know her too. The more involved you are, the better. Good luck and God Bless

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I'd like to first correct the AIDs/HIV comment. It is in fact very difficult to transmit HIV from one woman to another. This risk is minimal. Do some research into transmission of STD's between women for yourself. I dated a researcher a few years back who worked specifically on this subject for the govt. I learned a lot about this type of thing. Time to do some research mom. :)

Sorry this will be a bit long... :)

I dated a gal several years ago whose daughter came out to us as Bi. As a lesbian couple you'd have thought there would be no issue - her mom had a fit - yelled at her and called her names and such! I didn't get that - it certainly wasn't productive in any way and it caused a lot of problems. Then came the issue of the girlfriend staying over night. Her mom did a complete 180 and said yeah sure and said they could sleep in the same bed, go ahead have sex - whatever! Talk about confusing for all involved. Her daughter asked me for some guidance since I was the only one not freaking and she knew I have had the ability to be reasonable and consistent. What we worked out was this:

She was just fine as she was. If she was confused - who cares? All kids are confused about something at this age - it is part of being 16. She could be straight - she could be lesbian - does it matter? No. We talked about safe sex openly and in detail(we already knew she had been active with boys so...). I pulled out my lesbian handbook on sex and read the sections on safe sex together so she would know what was risky with women and what was not...I stayed within her comfort level. She didn't want to know HOW to do anything - she could figure that out on her own. She just wanted to be safe. Her mom had never gone over safe sex practices with her - even after she found out her daughter was sexually active - just threw her a box of condoms and said use them. We discussed boundaries: She could have her girlfriend sleep over - but they would NOT be allowed to share the same bed at night. This made sense to her. She was given the gift to express her relationship in front of us - whether that was snuggling, quick kisses, whatever was appropriate - no long make-out sessions tho...she needed to know that she was normal and that she had some boundaries within which to learn about herself and explore her sexuality. We set up ground rules for dating and such. Just normal parental responsibilities here...nothing special.

Joining PFLAG or COLAGE or both would be a great idea for you and your daughter. They will teach you a tremendous amount of what it really is to be gay/lesbian/bi, etc... in today's world. The simple fact is that really where you live and how your parents were raised plays a large part in how you are treated by family and community. If you live in a tiny town where homophobia is rampant - yes you will have a problem if you come out. However, if you live in a town where being gay means nothing, your parents were raised to accept others and not judge, and there are support systems and an LGBT group at the local high-school, you are less likely to have a problem.

It is seeming to be 'cool' to be bi these days for the kids, and I do think it is better than hiding who you are in fear of your life. I would prefer that is be 'cool' to just be who you are...but we'll get there someday too. :) Also, depending on where you live will make a large difference in how you are treated as an adult who is LGBT. I am lesbian but have no issues in my community. I have a partner, I share custody of my two younger boys with their father, I am a known figure in my community and anyone who meets and works with me finds out sooner or later (usually sooner) that I am lesbian. No one cares. I am just another human out there working and raising a family. I just happen to be doing that with another woman. :) It is getting easier and easier to be Gay, lesbian, bi in many areas...thank goodness! It really is about time.

The bottom line here is that your daughter should be treated with respect and accepted for who she is - regardless of her sexuality. Her sexuality does not make her who she is - it is just a part of who she is as if her sense of humor or her choice in clothing
. She is still the same kid you knew the second before she told you - the only thing that changed was that now you know a little more about what is going on inside her. How awesome that she trusted you enough to talk to you about this. It is a TOUGH thing to talk to your parents about - regardless of how old you are. My mom had a fit 8.5 yrs ago when I came out - and to this day she still won't accept it.

Does your daughter need counseling? Well, for the issues relating to the difficulties between you and her father, she probably does. Are those difficulties the cause of her bisexuality? Does it matter? But I doubt it... Would counseling help her sort out who she is...maybe - but so will time and experience. :)

If you want to help your daughter simply be honest and say "Honey, I don't know a thing about what you are going through. I have never been bi and I have no basis of understanding. I love you for you - I don't care about your sexuality. How can I help you? What would you like to share with me so that I can learn more about you? I am interested in what you are going through. I'll support you in your choices even if I don't understand or agree with them...I love you for you." Some people don't agree with that last one...supporting a choice even when you don't agree. But I have learned that when I support my kids choices even when I don't agree (and I tell them I don't agree, but that it is their choice and they have to learn) they learn more. And that is what they need to do. I am not talking about supporting the choice to use drugs and alcohol - that is absolutely NOT OK...but personal choices within reason. How else do they learn?

Find some good literature out there for teens, for you, for your family. She will need guidance but nothing more than how to navigate relationships and how to be careful with her heart. Also, if your area is not accepting of LGBT folk, she will need to know how to be careful - when to not be 'out', and when it is OK.

I wish her much luck. I wish I had had a parent (my mom was a single mom) who had been accepting of me as a kid..or ever for that matter. I met my dad and step-mom when I was 17 and they was the first people in my life to ever accept me for me - regardless of my faults. They loved me in the truly unconditional manner we should all be loved in. I am working hard to pass that along to my kids... If you can simply accept her for who she is and learn with her you'll do fine.

Good luck...

Warmly,
J.

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This is a tough one. Most parents have the "usual" parenting stresses to get thru during the teen years, but because our society is still not completely grasping all sexuality choices, parents aren't given enough tools. I think you are very brave and sound like a wonderful mom.

My advice on the sleepovers: if she asks if her "girlfriend" can stay over, explain that the rules would be the same if she was dating a boy (that's if you wouldn't allow a boy to stay over). Make it clear that it doesn't matter if it's a girl or boy; it's not appropriate to have sleepovers at this age with someone you are "dating."

I do have to say though, that when I was a teen - some 20 years ago - my parents opened their house up to my friends. Anyone could sleep over, but girls in one room, boys in the other. You obviously will have to sleep at some point and can't be watching every move. BUT, if you have the "sex talk" with your daughter, and even your 14 yr old, too, explaining the complications (and joys) of sex, relationships, etc. and do it in a positive way, then you will give her the tools to make informed, mature decisions whether she's dating a boy or girl. Sure, she can't get pregnant with a girlfriend, but there are still dangers of STD's, regardless of gender.

Be open, honest, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to the school health teacher or counselor. Look for books. If you don't know how to approach it, it's better to ask for answers than to make them up and confuse her even more.

Keep up the good work, mom! And good luck. =)

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Hi B.,
First, I would say that it is wonderful that she felt comfotable speaking to you about it. Many teenagers keep it a secret and suffer in silence because of it. It shows that she feels close and connected to you. And I also commend you for wanting to do the best thing for her even as you are struggling with the news, as many parents do.

If you would feel cautious about having your daughter have sleepovers with a boyfriend, then I think the same would apply here. However, I don't think you need to restrict sleepovers with other girls. Just as heterosexual women aren't attracted to every man they see and are friends with, the same is true here.

For you, you might like to find support at an organization like PFLAG--parents and friends of lesbians and gays. There are also many other resources here in the Bay Area. The SF LGBT center can probably connect you with what is available.

My parents struggled with the news, too, but, like you, really loved me and wanted to support me through it. That was many years ago now, and I still have wonderful relationship with them. I am so grateful to have them in my life--especially now that I am a mom.

Best,
E.

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hi there...
my brother came out around college age... age 23? and i am ten years younger. from a sibling perspective, can i make a suggestion? if you think your other children are mature enough to handle this information, please don't lie to them or hide it from them. chances are they already know something is up and trying to leave them in the dark will confuse them possibly.

i guess parents will start dealing with this at much younger ages now that things have become so open. i'm not saying that's a bad thing - just a sign of the times.

i second the suggestion about contacting PFLAG... and continuing to show your love and support for your daughter "no matter what."

good luck and it may be just a phase but better to be loving and supportive either way and continue it no matter the outcome.

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Hi B.,
I am a family therapist who specializes in adolescents, and I can assure you that you're not alone. Teen agers are very much in flux, and although not all see their sexuality as other than heterosexual, many do-- some settle there, some swing back and forth-- there's no way to know. Your best bet, since you're not at all in control of that side of this situation is to take charge of what you can control, namely yourself. Keep talking to your daughter-- about everything, not just her sex life. There more you let her know you want to know her, without prying (fine line, I know-- 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen' by Faber if you think you need help). As for the sleep-over issue, that depends on you again-- would you not permit her boyfriend to spend the night cause you wouldn't want them to have sex, or so they couldn't spend time together-- also, keep in mind it is very hard to prevent kids from spending time alone together, so even if you ban sleep-overs, you certainly aren't preventing anything.
Good luck!

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Hello, When you are sixteen, everyone around you says they know what love is, and where to find it. Truly, love is so much bigger than almost all teenagers understand, and it starts with God's love for each of them. An emotional draw to a person does not mean it needs to be a sexual draw. That is a choice we all make whatever feelings may run through us at the moment. Close love for a girlfriend, or struggle with boys because of hurts with your birthdad does not make a sexual orientation. While every person deserve my care and respect,I know and believe we choose who we love and how, it is not something that just happens to us. I Corinthians 13 and John 3:16 talk about the love that leads us to a place where we can find the source of love to fill all our empty hearts. Then we can trust for our future love to come. I pray it will be a wonderful young man for your daughter in a few years, and good friends till then. Take care

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B.,

I am a 46 year old lesbian woman who had my first crush at age 16, and it was reciprocal. We had a relationship which lasted 7 years, all the way through university. (She's now married with 2 kids, and I am in a gay relationship and have a youg son). We really loved each other, sincerely, so there was nothing more natural, but we never put a label on it and we kept our relationship hidden. It doesn't matter if your daughters friend sleeps over at your house or vice versa as if they've developed a 'sexual' relationship they'll easily find other times and places to share their intimacy. So, I wouldn't make a big deal about this. Nor, would I take the "moral preaching" advice from anyone. Maybe your daughter is just testing some feelings for her girlfriend and doesn't really know her entire sexual orientation. It's hard at age 16 to really know, as typically you've never had much experience yet. It's probably easier for her to label herself "bi" leaving that opening for future boyfriends (and maybe a future male parter). In any case, just let your daughter live and be happy. I really don't think you need to pry too much into her relationships, though if they are with guys, do ensure she understand the use of birth control pills and condoms. By the way, do speak with the PFLAG group about sexually transmissible diseases between women ... though believe me it's much, much harder to catch the HIV virus. Feel lucky she's open to you about her feeling, sexual or other, for her friends, as this is not always the case. But, don't pressure her either, now that you know. Just let her live and ensure she knows you're here for her when she needs you. She'll then be free to make her own decisions about future relations and friendships. Regarding the divorce, if it's so hard why do you keep seeing this ex-husband? Perhaps your daughter may need/want contact with him, but at her age this should mean you have little contact with him. If he's bugging her about your newfound life (remarriage) then he's really stepping out of bounds. I am not a councelor, but you may want to re-think a 13 year old problem which has apparently lasted much too long. Nor you, nor your daughter should have to deal with this ghost of the past, and a GOOD Father would just focus on his daughter and not his ex-wife. Good luck.

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I "came out" as bisexual when I was 17. Though I'd had such feelings since I was about 6, I didn't have a label for them, nor a safe space to name them, until my teen years. Even then, I waited until after my first full-fledged sexual experience with another young woman to announce my feelings and identity to the world. I remember my mother thinking that I was "going thru a phase." In fact, for me, my attractions to both sexes came to me very early on, as naturally as breathing, and I am still the same person today. I can be happy in a long term relationship with the right person of either sex. I see it as a gift that I have the capacity to love someone for her/his spirit and the connection we share, regardless of which set of plumbing s/he comes with! I am glad that I came of age in a time and place which was not as hard on GLBT folks as it had been in the past. Whether my child grows on to be gay, straight or bi, my priorities will be that they learn how to make good choices in partners (people who will treat them well), have good communication skills, know how to protect their health, etc. I am more concerned that they have the skills in place to have a good relationship than I am with which sex they ultimately wind up connecting to.

Good luck!
JB

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my daughter also announced to me a few months ago that she is bisexual. i think she has felt this way for about 2 years now, but is just now telling me. i'm having a difficult time with this. My daugther is very pround of who she is and wants everyone to know. i'm not sure if this is a phase or not. i don't treat her any different and i made sure she knew that i still loved her just as much.

i don't have any advice, just wanted to let you know you are not alone and to hang in there.

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Hi B.,
You have probably already done this, but I think emphasizing "I love you and support whatever choice you make" is incredibly important.
Also, contact PFLAG. It is a support group (Parents and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders). Their website is www.pflag.org
Good luck!
E.

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It takes time for straight parents to deal with their kids coming out. It sounds like you are doing well so far. Certainly, this is nothing to worry about. It's a wonderful credit to you that your daughter trusted you enough to tell you. Keep being supportive. Be nice to her girlfriend--invite her over for dinner and get to know her. But if you aren't comfortable with her sleeping over, that's OK. Explain to your daughter that you wouldn't let a boyfriend sleep over, and the same rule applies to a girlfriend. Your daughter may be angry about the restriction, but it will also send her the message that you are taking her relationship seriously, and that's a positive thing. Do NOT restrict sleep overs with other female friends (even if they are lesbians). That would seriously hurt your daughter and her relationship with her.

Find out if your daughter is "out" at school, and how that is going. There are organizations that provide support to LGBT teens--find out if she'd be interested in this. The rate of depression and suicide is very high among queer teens. Your daughter has you and trusts you, and she will probably avoid the worst of it, but still, it doesn't hurt to keep your eye out for signs of depression.

Best,
Once a Lesbian Teen

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Wow. I never thought about the sleep over issue with someone saying they are bisexual. That is an interesting question. I wish I had an answer, but I think the best thing you can do is be supportive and let your daughter talk when she needs to. She obviously feels very comfortable with you if she felt safe sharing this information. I wouldn't tell her father, I'd leave that to her if/when she decides to. Good luck and good job on your open communication with your daughter, that's very good.

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If I were you, I would seek counseling. There seems to be more behind this type of behavior than just "exploring". If you know of any counselors, I would talk with one. If you don't, maybe word of mouth from friends or your church. My step daughter thought she was bi sexual too. She is now married with a child but she has always had major issues. (some still are not resolved)

Good luck,
A.

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Sleep overs are definitly not happenning. Do not condone any sexual behavior for your daughter at her age. This will lead you into a world of hurt. Not just for you, but for your daughter as well. Do Not Allow It!
Patti B

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Well, if she's identifying as "bi", she could still get pregnant.

Highly recommend that you talk to her about same sex sexual activities, find out a little bit about how far she's "gone", reinforce what is acceptable (for some that means dental dams or condoms and for some parents that means abstinence until adulthood), and know that even in "heterosexual/non gay/non bi" sleepovers, a lot of girls explore same sex-sexual activities. So honestly, I don't think sleepovers are a big deal, but she should probably invite friends over who are comfortable with her current self identity and whose parents are also open minded about the whole thing.

Lots of kids are content with kissing, holding hands, and just having fun crushes with the same sex. That might be what your daughter is actually doing, and giving it a label.

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Hi B.,

First, it sounds like you have stayed calm with all this and that may be part of what your daughter needs. There indeed are some teens who explore their sexual identity in a flexible way, some from attraction to others, some from rebellion, some from what is current among their peers or in the media, and some from a bit of what you are describing in one part - boys aren't being attentive. I would say that the stress between her father and you may be a contributing factor and I would seek mediation or a therapist who knows how to work to create two-family homes (even with all the time you've been divorced).

As for dating, rules are rules and since she has decided to share this information with you I would be thinking that she may be asking for boundaries, but will also probably rebel against them. Would you let her go out with a boy she likes now? Have you ever considered what dating rules/regulations should be? As for sleeppovers at others house, you probably wouldn't have known that anything sexual might be happening, but this is a great opportunity to talk more about your values and expectations in the houses of others. When I found my then 17 yo daughter being sexual with her boyfriend in the car outside my house (oral sex), I stopped their seeing each other in private until they could give us a presentation on STDs (what they were, how to protect, who is responsible), same thing for pregnancy, and then they had to tell us why they thought they were ready to move to this stage in their relationship since they were only going out for two months. This meant they had to decide if they still wanted to see each other enough to work together and understand their responsibilities to themselves and us. We felt that we couldn't police them forever, but we were going to make sure that they had knowledge and were conscious of their decisions. Interestingly, the boy, also 17, was a virgin (for intercourse). They did do the presentation (and the young man in question said he appreciated that we cared enough to make them think this through), but in a few days he broke it off. I think he wasn't ready to become sexually active (my daughter was upset, of course, that he broke up with her). Maybe talking with your daughter about responsible sexuality as a bisexual person, including finding a dental dam, etc., might get her to think more deeply about the difference between sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and getting to know someone in a dating/relationship way.

Sorry for the long answer, but I wish you the best. BTW, I am a sex educator and I decided that lecturing my child wasn't going to be effective (she already had access to all my books and materials).

L.

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Hi, Tell her that you are no longer comfortable with having any sleepovers AT ALL. They aren't necessary anyway. You do NOT have to condone sex in your house. You have no contol what she does after she moves out of the house but until then, your house, YOUR rules.

1 mom found this helpful

YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! I have so many gay friends and their lives were destroyed when their parents abandoned them.

Instead of one on one sleep overs have group sleep overs in the livingroom. And yes, you don't have to worry about pregnancy! just kidding you do. Join a parents group just to deal with some of the issues that you will be dealing with from society.

Mother of 4

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1st of all I comend you for being open and understanding your limitations as a heterosexual. I think it's great that you are asking for advise and are being open. I am gay and have been in a relationship with the women of my dreams for 7 years- we have a 2 year old and are married, happy and participate in our community fully as gay parents! I am telling you this so you know the context of my suggestions. When I was 17 I declared myself bisexual and only dated boys/men for a long time. I now relaize that had I been in a nurturing community, I probabaly would have dated girls...

My advise to you is to keep the communciation open and let her know that you love her no matter which gender she is with! It is true that she can't get pregnant (later that becomes a challenge :)but it is still important to practice safe sex and especially to honor herself through sexual exploration (never doing anything she is uncofortable with...same type of stuff you would tell her if she was a with a guy!)

Gender definitions & roles are imposed on all of us in a big way- so try to free yourself of those thoughts. Check out PFLAG ( I think that's what it's called) which is an organization for parents of gay and lesbians.

My last suggestion for you is to not minimize this as a phase or a reaction to your family issues. Everything in life can be looked at as a phase really, but going through those phases makes us who we are and if they are not validated, then you create a barrier. Going back to the "I love you no matter what, I am here for you and will participate in your life fully no matter what. I trust you and want the best for you ..."statements are validating and sends her the message to explore away....

Oh yea- about the sleeping over issue- YIKES- I have no idea what to do and I've often wondered about how we may handle that if our child is gay! Raising teenagers is tough stuff- I commend you for not giving up like so many folks do :)

Blessing to you and your daughter :)

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Hi...This subject is interesting to me. I have two young girls 7&11 and I think about this. I was at a middle school helping out and one of the young girls told me that she was bisexual. I was amazed and discusted. How could she know - really. All it means is that she has experimented I think. Anyway, I think young women are confused about the expectations and demands on them. When they don't think that they "fit" into the mold for the sexy video girl or the prep or the cheerleader or whatever they think they "should" be like or want to be, then they look for something else to be. It is too easy to be another sexual orientation here in SF. It is talked about in youth culture like it is an alternative that is as accepted and 'ok' as being hetero. I am also very liberal but think that today's kids have so much confusion. Obviously she is angry about her dad and that just feuls the fire and the rebellion. I think if she is staying steady with school and off drugs and has goals for her life, that may be the best we can hope for. 16 is an awkward and emotional time. It can be horrible. As long as she knows she can talk to you, that is the main thing. I think she will figure it out on her own. I think if she in essence is hetero than she will be one ultimately. She is probably just experimenting. She needs your support, however difficult that is for you. You are right, hopefully there is ultimately less damage that can be made with a woman relationship. About the sleep overs, I don't know. Talk to her about your concerns and thoughts. Maybe figure it out together. When they are 16, they are pre-adults and maybe should be treated like that. I wish you all the luck in the world. From, T.

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I wanted to encourage you to give your daughter a little bit of space right now. While there are many adults who are genuinely bisexual, sexuality can be fluid, especially at this age. She may be feeling a lot of unconditional love from her best friend, and may want to be exploring this connection in another way. I hope that you can be patient with her process, because she may be all over the place for years, as far as her sexuality goes. Encourage her to be safe, and to be a kid, and offer to help her find advocacy groups in your area, if she wants to explore it a bit more. And please, don't assume because she is interested in girls that she won't get pregnant...be frank about safe sex with both sexes!

Most importantly, I think it would be important for you to acknowledge that it must have been hard for her to be honest, and encourage this part of your relationship however you can. Keep an open mind to her, and hopefully she will keep an open heart with you!

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I think every single girl (maybe some boys too, but more girls) go through the "AM I BISEXUAL" phase. I would not stress on it regardless if she really is or isn't. But, mainly, just let it be............if she's just going through a phase, she'll constantly flip flop back n forth between liking boys vs girls just depending who she is into at any given moment. Eventually, as she is in her 18 yrs 20s etc...she'll figure it all out. I think the one mistake most parents make is to hyper focus on it, feed the fire, shame them, freak out, take them to a psychiatrist, kick them out, etc...etc...which all just makes the kid feel more alone and confused about what she feels inside compared to what is "accepted" by their parents/society....

Just let it be........our children come from us, but they are not us...they are going to have their own lives and we won't be in control of that. We shouldn't scar them and make them spend the rest of their lives trying to get over their childhood or teen years. Acceptance is key

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Good luck with this. I'm in the education field and have heard that this is a "fad" now for kids to be consisdered bisexual. Posssiblity?

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NO MORE SLEEPOVERS!
If she says she's bisexual then she can't be alone with boys or girls. No sleepovers at her house or others, doesn't matter if the other person is gay or not, your daughter is saying she's bisexual so now the same rules apply for boys and girls. Not in her room, no sleepovers, supervised visits ONLY!
She can't have her cake and eat it too. Being bisexual is not a license to do whatever you want.

1 mom found this helpful

hey bev, it's okay you're doing a great job just having her communicate this is awesome. it's totally okay. be there for her and yeah allow friends over lay down how you feel. whatever you do do not blame yourself. stay strong it's tough.
M.

I would be shocked period

Indeed she won't get pregnant but the chances of getting AIDS is still very much a risk. As a pasrent I would not allow the sleepovers with girls or boys at this point. It sounds like she is just turning to girls for attention that she has not gotten from boys or emotionally from her father. I would entake her to a psychologist and encourage her to talk out her feelings with someone impartial. Girls are always better at giving emotional support than boys and if she is mean to them and they find out she is gay or bi they will steer away from her even more.

Hi my name is C. Im pregnant with twins right now and have no other children but am speaking to you as kinda a insight. I was bi sexual when I was younger it was a faze because like your daughter I was very intimidateing to boys being raised by them I had their smart mouth some guys like it but when your at that age boys are not as sure of themselves as girls. So you are pushed toward other mature girls to seek comfort. usually girls go to their older sisters but like in my case my sis was already out of the house all I had was boys and so I went to other girls. I had a few girl friends but quickly got over it when I started meeting more mature boys. Im not a ugly girl I actually modeled when I was younger and was captin of my high school and college cheer squad and homecoming queen in high school and college.I was popular and excepted. I dont know how your daughter is but just let her know it hits every kind of girl even the ones like me who you would never expect. It was a faze. Although I had to hide it from my parents my brother and sister knew and excepted it but also thought better to keep it away from my parents. Im glad I did but sometimes wish she would have known. ALthough if she did I would have understood if she restricted my sleep overs. ANd maybe should have. Though deff talk with her and explain yur logic in a comfortable setting to both you and here deff alone just you and her.I know have a steady boyfriend and have dated boys since I was 17 and Im 24. But just be supportive and if she is not sure ussually means that she is not all the way into it. And will probably going to grow out of it.

let her explore most girls come back to boys as for the sleepovers everyone sleeps in the livingroom and lights of some kind are always on its not going to stop everything but it will help to take the sleepovers away altogether i think would hurt her more try not to agrivate the subject

You might look into HOPE ministries which is a place where parents of gay/bisexual children can openly discuss their lives with one another. Or also, there is Exodus ministries.

I believe all you can do is be supportive, she is still your child and no matter what!!! Just need to adapt new rules like you mentioned on sleep overs!!! I have two Autistic boys, and know of many parents with children that are sick... we would much rather have the coming out announcement than the diagnose given to us!!! Just be thankful she is healthy and love and respect each other!!! Love, G.. :0)
P.S. I am totally hetero and happily married... but I would trade places with you in a heartbeat!!!

Hi,

Your daughter is being open and honest with you. Score! It is not uncommmon for girls to try this, to discover a bisexual urge or preference. My niece was bisexual, then a lesbian and now is married to a man and pregnant. Human sexuality does not always follow a path to a life long disposition. Support her, be sure she uses safe sex practices.

E. B. Klyce, MA MFT

She is lucky to have you as a mom --- you've sent her the right message that she's loved no matter what her sexual preference may or may not be. As far as sleepovers --- you cannot keep her from being alone with boys OR girls HOWEVER, if you wouldn't allow alone time/sleepovers (giving opportunities for sexual experimentation) with boys you should restrict sleepovers with girls, even if they are just friends. You wouldn't allow sleepovers with boys who are friends? Then you shouldn't allow sleepovers with girls who are friends. We all know how quickly a friend can turn into more than a friend, especially at 16 years old. Yes, this is more restrictive than a hetero child's life, but their preference has thrown another restriction into the mix. Good luck!!

Dear B.,
When my now 16 yr old daughter was a freshman she told me she thought she was bisexual and that she had a girlfriend. It lasted 1 day the other girls mom disapproved of lifestyle so transferred her to another school to make her straight. But I told my daughter that I loved her no matter what she was. I also reminded her of several crushes on boys she had recently had. So I explained the term Bi-curious to her and told her its perfectly normal to question ones sexuality. And I told her that I would not interfer or try to force her to be straight. She now has a boyfriend and they have been together for 8 months on the 17th. He wants to marry her when she graduates (he's 17 gonna be 18 in june, and getting his GED due to joining the National Guard Reserves). As for sleepovers you can always opt for slumber parties and tell your daughter that she can invite this girl but she also invites straight girls. Less things can happen in a crowd due to wanting to do group activities. When we take things away kids seem to want them more, but if we trust them and love them. They usually make the decision we wanted them to make,in the first place and they thank us for raising them right. Mine has many times you have done a great job because she felt good talking to you because she knew she could trust you. Don't worry about dad he's out of the picture anyway so why bother him. I hope you get all the good advice you need to reaffirm what you already know is right.

B.,

I feel that you should love your child no matter what sexuality they decide. Showing your love and support is so crucial at this age, as you do not want her to get distant with you. She already has her issues with you because of the divorce with her father. As long as your daughter shows the respect and understanding of what your rules are in your house, I do not feel that you should worry about the sleep overs. If the respect and understanding is not abided by, then that is a different story. I wish you the best of luck, just be patient with her and listen to her when she needs someone to talk to.

Take care and God Bless

Dear B.,
Tenns are hard to raise, and now you have another issue to deal with. I have gay friends, too. It doesn't make the decision based on your moral compass any easier to deal with.
If she is dating this girl, then you have to treat them as if you would any other couple. The girl cannot stay the night just as a boyfriend cannot stay the night.
For her sexual direction, is she going for girls because boys did not ask her out? Is she saying that because there isn't a boyfriend and she needs a "partner"? If so, encourage her to look at positive relationships, hetero, and she how she reacts. I can say that I had one boyfriend in highschool for all of a month who was a total dope, and never was asked to a single dance, etc. The only boys interested wanted into a girl's pants and that was it. All my friends had BF's, and I was somewhat lonely. But that made my female/sister friends more important. Sexually, she may think that that attention is what feeds her "love" tank.
Regardless of faith background, with an open mind you can learn alot about your daughter with this book: The 5 love languages.
EVERYONE fits into these categories. You have a major and a minor language. Mine is acts of service. In other words, I feel loved (and make better decisions when) you do for me. Example- husband taking out the trash, washing the dishes, doing the laundry. My husband is physical touch and gifts. He needs to be touched- on the arm, a small back rub, sex, etc. And he needs little gifts here and there to see that I love him.
I want to say your daughter is searching for a way to fill that void left by her father. She may think that in some way, it would be better for her to avoid men because of the situation???
Is your relationship with your husband good? Can she see the positives and understand sometimes we all screw up?
I also wonder if there wasn't pressure from the girlfriend since your daughter was clearly inquiring about bisexuality? I am not saying she was forced in anyway, and also do not want to offend. But I don't think people just "decide" to do this without good reason and encouragement.
Above all, love her, treat her well, treat her relationship like any other and keep to those rules. AND never let her use it as an excuse for not doing the right thing, regardless.
You are in my prayers
-E.

Hello B.,
It sounds like you are going through a tough situation. It is nice to see that your loving , and supportive of your daughters lifestyle. As for letting her friends stay the night, I believe that depends on a few factors. It depends on if she shares with a sibling,and sometimes religious values can have an opinion in what the house rules are. It's good to have a sense of humor about everything. If you stop laughing you stop living. Believe it or not just the fact that you could listen to her,and be supportive is wonderful. I know that my cousin was bi-sexual, and she got married. She is a University professor,and she is successful. So,just the fact that you can be supportive of her, and not freak out at the fact that she calls herself bi sexual. As far as your ex is concerned, he needs to grow up, and move on with his life. After 13 years it's overdue. Your daughter needs to put that aside now, and just deal with the stress of being her. To finding her place in life,finishing her education, and going on to college or trade school. The difficulties that your ex has is not her problem. She needs to explain that to her father. It sounds like he could use some structure, and limits. She has to be the one to set them. You can only say positive things during this visit. Her life is just beginning, and it's ok to protect herself from negative things. It will help her on in life to know how to look only to the positive. To be able to set limits on how much negative garbage people can heap on you. I am happy that you moved on , and that you have a good marrige. That is somtimes hard. Just continue doing what your doing. It sounds like your doing great. I hope this helps. Have a great day.

I second the recommendation to check out PFLAG. Also, Dan Savage writes a sex advice column (a lot of it is VERY explicit, but he has some great advice around dealing with your kids coming out both in his written column and his podcast...if you look around, you can avoid the more graphic stuff if it makes you squeamish). He has a lot of good book recommendations too.

Whatever you do, don't use any language like "it's a fad." Remember when you were a teenager, and you had a huge crush on a boy and you were sure you were meant for each other & going to be married? That's how your daughter feels about this friend. Being open will keep her close, and that's what matters.

First I do want to commend you on seeing the very real positive side of this: less risk of pregnancy and std, PLUS less likely to be taken advantage of by horny boys. IT's also a sign that she isn't as swayed by peer pressure as many kids can be. Great. (I don't think there's anything wrong with alternate sexual lifestyles or orientations, as long as everyone is safe and honest, and not out to hurt someone else.)

Next I would say, be patient and don't expect this to be the last word. Human sexuality is so complex, and sexual behavior is not the same as sexual orientation. People do experiment, and that's fine. Also, some girls need to find a safe place to explore intimacy without the added pressures of male sexuality, which can be both overwhelming and scary. Even for a strong, self-determined girl like your own. So if I were you I'd be relieved that she isn't promiscuously sleeping with boys and putting herself at grave risk. She's also communicating with you, which is great. Please keep that door open and your compassion available. She'll probably be fine. About sleepovers? That's probably something you'll need to have a frank conversation with her about, and guage your level of trust with her. Truthfully, in my experience, kids engage in sexual activity after school as often as other times, so there are no guarantees that restricting overnights will be a challenge to sexual opportunities.

I think things will work out for both of you. You're already showing your willingness to be openminded, and she's got her own mind at a time when pressures to conform are heavy.

PS Have you suggested counseling?

Have you thought of counseling for your daughter? Adolescence is a very confusing time..she may be bisexual, she may not. Have you asked her how long she has liked girls. I just find it very suspect that her best friend is gay, you and your ex are having trouble and now she's a bisexual. If you and your ex are having difficulties still, it may help for her to have a third party listen. Be glad that she came to you with this...many kids don't confide in their parents. I would definitely halt sleepovers for the time being.

Bisexual sounds like she is experimenting. Wait this one out and see what happens. Just be sane about your rules which you stated clearly. No sleep overs with a love interest. Friends are okay. This could be an play she is acting in to see if it fits her world. If you play it cool you will find out soon enough whether this is who she really is. 16 is an age when we try on personas until we become comfortable with who we are. Best advice, "I know you will figure it out because you are very wise and whatever you choose I will support as I will always love you".
Good Luck,
Gale

As the mom of a 17 yo, who has for the last year and a half admitted that she was bisexual, I can completely understand. I know my daughter has a gay friend and has spent many a night with the girls (there is a group of them - most hetero) for a sleep over. I think it all has to do with your daughter and how she feels about herself. I know my daughter has fooled around with her friend but nothing serious especially now that that friend has a girlfriend. My daughter talked to me about it. I have always been very open with my kids when it comes to sex and relationships because I have always felt that knowledge is the best power. I have never lied to them when asked about things no matter what. I may have cringed on the inside but I have always answered their questions (my son is 13). Like the time a few months ago my daughter asked me what an IUD was. She had heard it mentioned in a song and asked me what it was. After I blinked a few times, asked where she'd heard that, I asked her if she really wanted to know, she said yes, so my 17 yo daughter sat on my lap (LOL) as we looked it up on the internet together. The minute she saw birth control device, she said, "EWWW!" and tried to bail. I made her read all the info and then talk to a friend of mine that has one. My daughter has decided that abstinence is best. (Silent Whoo Hoo from mom here.)

Be open with her. This could only be a phase since she is probably feeling rejected by the boys. My daughter has a really strong personality also and in the past, hasn't had much luck with boys. Finding acceptance with a friend is her way of dealing. You may find that as she gets older, she will lean more toward boys, or not. If the idea doesn't freak you out too much, you should just go with the flow.

Personally, being gay or bi doesn't bug me. I am a heterosexual mommy too. However, I was exposed to this lifestyle very young groing up in SF. Even my uncles are gay and let me tell you, they have been together for almost 40 years - longer than most male/female couples I know.

Now, my daughter still desribes herself as bisexual but now has a fabulous and wonderful boyfriend. He is 19 and totally respectful. She has gone from little boys to a great guy. Just give your daughter time and understanding and continue to talk to her. By doing that, you are opening up an amazing conduit. She will continue to come and talk to you and THAT is the best part of all. Despite what people think, I know my daughter tells me 98% of what goes on. I trust her. I have taught her through her whole life that the only person she has responsibility for is herself and she has to take care of herself. She can't make other people's decisions or choices for them only hers.

So, now with impending high school graduation and college registration done, I feel confident about her going out in the world. And, no, I am not worried about the 19 yo boyfriend, he is just as up front with me as my daughter. He is one of my best friends sons and is wonderful. Knowing the junk my daughter has dealt with from the boys she dated, he is taking real good care of her.

If you ever want to vent, you know where I am... ;)

Hi,
Well, congratulate yourself that you are a good mother, one whose daughter can communicate with. Next, consider contacting your local chapter of PFLAG. I think it would be helpful for you to have other parents to talk with that have more experience themselves. I just attended a great play sponsored by the Fremont/Newark PFLAG and the parents there seemed like such a wonderful, supportive resource for all of our kids. I hope you find the same. :)R.

Hi B.

I want to just say first, God Bless you in this time. I have many issues with the girl-girl and boy-boy thing. I hate that we have started to accecpt this bull. It is not normal and not what God wanted for us in relationships so I am with the mom who said to give it to God and take your baby girl to the bible. If you are christian this is easy, pray a lot! If your a non-beliver, I am not here to read you a sermon but look at our values as humans now that we are in the "new age" all sex is ok in all ways and its sad. The stuff on TV has our kids soooo darn confused its no wonder they are lost to what is right.
What a sad people that support all this. You just support your child and love her but do all you can to get her back on track. She just has some healing to do.

Peace be with you sweetie

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