Way Out Parenting: Do your parents need a 12-step program before you let them visit their grandchildren?

Do you have remarkably supportive parents who fastened on their “I love my gay son” or “My lesbian daughter rocks” lapel pins the minute you confirmed their worst fears? Or do you have parents who summarily shut the door in your face after hearing your news? Now that you have a grandchild, don’t be surprised if some of these parents want back into your life. Grandchildren change all the dynamics. The question is: do you let them in?

Parents who have disowned their gay children forfeit any right to participate in their children’s children’s lives. Until they atone for their abandonment, rejection, and hate, you have every right to deny them access. You may tell them you won’t even consider a supervised visitation until they have completed the 12-step program outlined below. Most hate-mongering parents can’t get through step 1. If yours miraculously complete all 12, they definitely want your forgiveness and you should give it.

The 12 Steps of Parental Atonement and Rehabilitation

Step 1 • We admitted we were pathetic parents overpowered by hatred and fear.

Step 2 • We got a therapist—this time not to change our child but to look deep into our hate-filled psyches and understand the origins of our prejudice.

Step 3 • We got on some much-needed medication.

Step 4 • We made a list of all of the reprehensible things we had done to our gay child, including the verbal taunts, humiliations, and emotional rejections.

Step 5 • We sent a heart-felt apology to our child and asked for forgiveness.

Step 6 • We sent an email blast to 1000 friends, relatives, business associates and neighbors admitting that we had deceived them about the true nature of our child out of shame.

Step 7 • We filled out an application form for the nearest chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbian & Gays (PFLAG) and started attending meetings on a regular basis.

Step 8 • We agreed to tithe annually to a gay rights organization of our son or daughter’s choosing in order to advance the cause we had obstructed for so long (and we produced tax receipts on request to prove it.)

Step 9 • For the first time in our lives, we supported the campaign of a pro-Gay candidate by holding a fundraiser in our home, volunteering at the get-out-the-vote phone bank, and distributing leaflets in front of our local polling station.

Step 10 • We identified and patronized all of the gay-and-lesbian owned businesses in our community including but not limited to: florists, catering services, health food stores, pet grooming facilities, hair salons, real estate agents, and interior design firms.

Step 11 • We endowed an annual college scholarship for gay children denied tuition by vengeful parents.

Step 12 • We became certified foster parents to gay youths in our community who could no longer safely live with their own families.

© 2008 by Carrie Smith. All rights reserved.

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