Parenting young children presents all kinds of challenges, but it’s as they get older, those teen years, that can be trickiest to maneuver. You want to give them a little bit of space, some breathing room because if you get too close, they’re going to try to distance themselves or tell you to back off. But here’s the thing — parents, you need to make sure they know you’re still there, even if they think they’ve got it all figured out. There are some things that are just too much for a young person to handle on their own.
No matter how uncool it is to ask for their parent’s help, sometimes it’s necessary. Just having Mom or Dad there — as a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to or simply just someone to listen with no judgment (that last part’s hard but very important) — might be all they need.
When Magic Johnson and Cookie Johnson‘s son E.J. decided to come out, they reacted the way every LGBTQ kid dreams.
“When my son came out, I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents,” Johnson told Ellen DeGeneres during a recent appearance on her show. “And we love him. And E.J. is amazing.”
Coming out can be daunting; acceptance and support from family can make all the difference.
When asked what advice he would give other parents who might be in a similar situation, Johnson’s answer was simple: “I think it’s all about you not trying to decide what your daughter or son should be, or what you want them to become. It’s all about loving them no matter who they are, what they decide to do.”
Right?! Because isn’t that what parents are there for, to love and support and fight for their children, no matter what?
Magic added: “You gotta support your child. It’s so many people who try to discriminate against them, so they need you to support them. ‘Cause if you don’t support ’em, who’s gonna support ’em and love ’em? It’s really important.”
Should we be crying? Because we’re totally crying. His advice hit us right in the feels. Not only the words themselves but more his overall enlightenment, and the ongoing, baffling mystery of why all parents of LGBTQ youth aren’t this open and aware and understanding about their own children. There’s enough discrimination and bigotry and hate in the world; the last place a child needs to be subjected to that kind of hate is at home.