‘This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids’

BookReview_This is a Book for Parents of Gay KidsThis is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids
by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo

c.2014, Chronicle Books                     $18.95 / $22.95 Canada                      240 pages


You didn’t know what to expect.

When your child told you he’s gay, it came as a bit of a shock even though you kind of already knew. As he was telling you, though, he was nervous, you were nervous, but the conversation went well.

You love your gay son or daughter, but you have a thousand questions. So maybe the next thing to do is to read This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo.

Who would’ve thought that two little words—“I’m gay”—would cause so much confusion?  That’s what you’ve felt ever since your son or daughter came out to you and that’s “completely normal.” Working through this journey will undoubtedly be something new, but then again, aren’t there always a lot of firsts in parenthood?

It’s possible that this may be new to your child, too. He may have only recently understood that he’s gay, and talking about it can sometimes be scary! Patience is key here, as is having a home environment that’s accepting.  And yes, you can gently (and calmly) ask respectful questions; you are, in fact, encouraged to do so. It’s the only way you can understand your child better.

Knowing that your child is gay is not license to broadcast it, however. Telling others depends largely on many factors and situations, and it’s really up to the feelings of you and your child. Again, communication is important so you’re both clear on whom to tell, and when. It’s also important to understand that this is a process for loved ones, as well as for you, and that you’ll need to “give some room” for their reactions.

Expect changes in your child, but remember that he’s still the same kid. Know your child’s rights in schools, restrooms, and bullying issues. Talk to your child about sex, and be firm on house rules, especially for sleepovers. Keep a close eye out for any signs of depression or suicide. Be patient, strive for understanding, and talk, talk, talk.

And when it comes to your faith, remember this: “Nearly every religion hinges on love” and you love your child. Isn’t that what matters?

Maybe you knew. Or maybe the news had you totally gobsmacked. Either way, you’ve got questions and This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids has answers.

Springing from the website that the authors created,, this book offers succinct advice, sensible comfort, and a glossary of terms that the authors encourage parents to know. I like that it’s comprehensive and not overwritten, and that it’s browse-able and not necessarily meant for cover-to-cover reading. That’s helpful because the questions you may ask now are “very different from the questions you may have a year from now.”

If your child has just come out, or if you suspect she might, then this book may be the best information you can have. Find This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids and you’ll know more of what to expect.

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Terri Schlichenmeyer, Book Review Columnist, has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She has worked with more than 200 newspapers and nearly 50 magazines scattered in 46 states, the Virgin Islands and six provinces of Canada. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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