I recently discovered that my 12 year old daughter has been posing as a boy on-line and has established a "relationship" with a 13 year old girl whom she met through a children's interactive website. After this discovery, I had a heart to heart conversation with my daughter and she told me everything. She said that she thinks she might be a lesbian but she isn't really sure because she has never liked a boy before. She said that she was afraid to tell me because she was afraid I wouldn't love her anymore. I assured her that I love her no matter what and that what she was feeling was normal. I asked her if she wanted to talk to someone else (like a doctor) who could help her sort through those feelings and she immediately said no. She was already embarrassed that I had found out and she asked me to just forget about it and pretend it never happened. The fact that she took things to a higher level by pretending to be someone else on-line concerns me. I took away her internet access but explained to her that it was not because of the things that she said, but rather because she had accepted a friend request from someone she didn't actually know. She said she understood but I could see that she was upset about not being able to "talk" to this girl anymore. I'm just not sure where to go from here.
Because she is so young, in spite of her expressed disavowal of therapy I would certainly go ahead and arrange therapy for her. She may indeed have sensed that she is homosexual, and she will need support dealing with this. Try to seek a therapist who has experience dealing with gay and lesbian issues. You handled things very well with her - you were understanding, accepting and suppportive.
Thank you so much for your response. Isn't it common for adolescents to question their sexuality at this age? I don't want her to think that we feel that there is something wrong with her and that is why she needs to see a therapist. I fear that she will completely shut down and not trust her Dad and I at all if we force her into therapy. Isn't it possible for her Dad and I to offer her the support she will need as she goes through this self discovery process?
Your daughter is experiencing a very normal exploration for her age. Most people who seek therapy do so not because they display serious emotional disorder, but rather because they are trying to solve problems. At its essence therapy is a problem-solving process. You are a parent, not a therapist. Of course you will continue to offer your daughter the king of love and support and guidance only a parent can offer. But that can go only so far. You seem to have the idea that to arrange therapy for your daughter would be to do something wrong. She has a need and you are trying to answer it, just as any responsible parent would do. You tell her staright out that you do not think there is something wrong with her. People don't seek therapy because there is something wrong with them. They are trying to solve something in their lives.
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