Parents’ Influence: Promoting Positive Health Outcomes for Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual Teens
When lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) teens share their sexual orientation1 (or even if they choose not to share it), they may feel rejected by important people in their lives, including their parents. This rejection can negatively influence an LGB teen’s health and well-being.
On the other hand, a positive family environment, with high levels of parental support and low levels of conflict, is associated with LGB teens who experience healthy emotional adjustment. These teens are less likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors and be involved in violence.
Fact sheet providing steps parents can take to promote the well-being of their LGB teen: Parents' Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens: What Parents and Families Should Know [pdf 255K].
Learn more about CDC activities regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
- Talk with, and listen to, their teen
- Support their teen to practice safe, healthy, and protective behaviors
- Stay involved with their teen
- Be proactive with their teen to gain access to supportive organizations and resources
What can parents do to promote the health and well-being of their LGB teen?
CDC researchers reviewed published research and identified ways parents can support the health and well-being of their LGB teen and decrease the chances that their teen will engage in risky behaviors.1 The following selected actions reflect broad recommendations from experts in the field:
In addition, research on parenting shows how important it is—regardless of their teen’s sexual orientation—for parents to
- Have open, honest conversations with their teens about sex
- Know their teen’s friends and know what their teen is doing
- Develop common goals with their teen, including being healthy and doing well in school
(More detailed action steps are provided in the CDC fact sheet: Parents’ Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens: What Parents and Families Should Know, available at the top of this page.)
- Bouris A, Guilamo-Ramos V, Pickard A, et al. A systematic review of parental influences on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth: Time for a new public health research and practice agenda. Journal of Primary Prevention 2010;31(5-6):273–309.