Cambridgeshire NSPCC issues guidelines to parents and carers if faced with children who are confused about their sexuality or gender identity
PUBLISHED: 13:20 16 April 2019
Cambridgeshire NSPCC has issued guidelines for parents and carers with children uncertain about their sexuality.
“Firstly, reassure them that it's natural if they are confused about their sexuality or need time to work out who they are,” said Sarah Lambley, the NSPCC's community fund raising manager for Cambridgeshire. “It's okay not to be sure.”
Sarah said: “Some people know who they're attracted to or how they identify from a young age but for others it's not so simple and takes a while to work out.
“It takes different people varying amounts of time to understand their sexuality. And that's fine.
“Let them know that sexuality and gender identity isn't a choice and it can change over time. And that's also fine”
She added: “Importantly they should not be put under pressure to 'come out', but if and when they choose to do so it can be tough so support is vital. Often it gets easier as you start to tell more people but it's their choice who they tell”.
Sarah said that sadly there are times when young people may feel it is unsafe 'coming out' to certain people which may be because they wonder how their family or community may react or to the threat of bullying.
Her comments come as the NSPCC has offered support to the latest Childline campaign backing LGBTQ+ young people.
“For children and young people, learning to understand their sexuality or gender identity can be confusing and LGBTQ+ people can face bullying and discrimination which may exacerbate that confusion,” said Sarah.
“It's really important that children know that there's no such thing as 'normal' sexuality and that no one should be made to feel uncomfortable or singled out because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It's also vital they have access to support which is why Childline has launched a campaign to make young people to know that they can talk to our counsellors for non-judgemental advice.
“Using the slogan Never Apologise For Who You Are the campaign also directs young people to the Childline community on the message boards or image gallery on the Childline website.
“But parents and carers can also play their part to support children who are confused about their sexuality or identity.”
The NSPCC says that making a safety plan is really important if a young person is worried about people reacting badly to their sexuality or gender identity.
This could include:
Important numbers to ring if things go wrong, including the police and Childline
Places you to go if feeling unsafe, and information on how to get there
A list of trusted adults or friends who can offer support
The NSPCC says the Childline website has a host of information about sexuality and gender identity as well as tips, advice and videos that can support young people.
And Childline is available 24/17, free of charge and confidentially on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk where a trained counsellor can support young people with any problems they may be having, either over the phone or via chat.