Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guest Blogger Returns

A previous guest blogger is back with an update and more questions.

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I wrote you a few months ago about my foster daughter who was in residential experiencing some confusion about her sexual orientation. Thought I'd write and give you an update.
K came home about a month ago. We had shared with her caseworker and GAL about our concerns that there was some inappropriate sexual behavior going on at the facility where she was staying. These concerns were expressed in court and the judge immediately ordered her to be returned to our care.
Since she has been home, K has stated that she is no longer confused and has decided she is heterosexual after all. I think K has been so starved for acceptance and friendship, she was just going along with the pressures some of the other girls at the facility were putting on her. Her GAL had told us they have had similar complaints about this facility before. But then again, we also recently found that she has once been looking at sexually explicit photos of young woman online. So maybe she is still curious.
Then last night, she asked if one of her friends could spend the night this weekend. She has told us before that this friend is lesbian. Considering what she has told us before and the knowledge that she has been looking at the photos online, we decided against overnights. We did offer that her friend was welcome to come hang out at our house, that they could plan an outing together or whatever, just no overnights for now. K took this very personally, said she is sorry now that she told us about her confusion, sorry she told us her friend was gay. She says we are holding it against her, judging her and her friend. We have tried to assure her of our love and acceptance but she isn't seeing that and just feels embarrassed and hurt.
I feel so unprepared to handle these issues. I'm so afraid I'm going to mess this up for her, make her feel ashamed of who she is and I really don't want to do that.
Any suggestions?

5 comments:

  1. I want to recommend, if I haven't already, that you read "Always My Child."

    After that, I think I am going to be quiet here and see what the readers have to say.

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  2. Sounds like she's trying to use guilt and emotional blackmail to get her own way :) Usually works too, that's why they do it.

    My daughter (who's straight) had a friend who was bi-curious. Yes, she spent the night here and there and I wasn't worried about something happening because they were so open about it. On the other hand if she wanted a guy to spend the night I don't care how good of friends they are the answer would be no. There is no sex under my roof and I'm not going to take their word for it so I get to set the boundaries.

    You offered her the day and she should have accepted that. That's not judging, that's setting boundaries and as the mom you get to decide whether it could become inappropriate under your roof or not by the information you have, not the words offered. In my opinion I think you did the right thing with the information you had and most of us parent by our gut instincts anyway. :) Best of luck!

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  3. I don't think I ever did respond last time, but I'm a lesbian. I think the hard part with the situation you're dealing with is that it gives her an incentive to lie if she's trying to bring a friend in for shenanigans ("No, seriously, this one is straight!") and it sets up a double standard. If she is in fact not straight (and that's still possible, I think) she's now got a reason not to tell you about it. I'd recommend that if there's a no-overnights policy it's going to have to be no overnights across the board until she proves she's ready for them.

    I do think that it's not that unusual for a straight girl to have romantic attachments to female friends, maybe even to kiss/mess around with them while trying to figure things out. There's in some ways less pressure for girls exploring a body that's like theirs than there is in experimenting with a boy; it's a way to learn more about themselves and their responses without the extra baggage of male-female dynamics. That can also be true of photos of women, that maybe she's seeing herself in the pictures of women and maybe it's reminding her of the same-sex experiences she's had.

    I guess all I'd advise is to try to be patient with her and try to avoid double standards. Looking at pictures of women should get her the same consequences as looking at similar pictures of men, etc. It may take her time to figure all this out and get to a point where she's willing to talk to you. I'm glad you've got that baseline set!

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  4. Not being a lesbian, but as the parent of two teenager daughters, please don't think this is limitd to GLBT issues. We banned all sleepovers= for various reasons. Our girls are both hetero, so that ruled out male sleepovers (even with gay guy friends), because I didn't want to make judgement calls on anyone's sexuality, nor did I want my daughter to try to "convert" a gay guy to liking women simply because he was adorable, neat, smart and smelled good (don't ask, I overheard a conversation between my daughter and a friend lol).

    We ruled out female friends for the following reasons: one tried to sneak beer/cigs in my house, one tried to convince both girls to sneak out, one snored really loud and kept us all up, one had a passion for horror movies, blah blah.

    Sleepovers really have no point except stress. THere is nothing spectacular about sleeping that requires a group except pranks or mischief.

    Our girls weren't thrilled at first, but we just emphasized that we allowed late curfews, allowed the others to come hang here til their curfews, but everyone needs to sleep in their own beds for their best beauty and health.

    Don't let yourself be manipulated just because she has an ace in her pocket. Teen sleepovers rarely have good endings, and unless this friend lives hours and hours away, there's no need for it. Allowing day visits should be fine unless she's got another purpose that darkness can hide.

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  5. I agree with those stating that she was probably doing the manipulative teenager thing. :) Stand your ground--she needs structure now more than she's ever needed it before.

    One thing I wanted to address was about the sexually explicit photo of the naked woman. I wouldn't rule out that she's not at least "curious" but don't entertain too much the idea of her recanting a claim to be hetero-sexual. In general, people are sexual beings, and any sexual images whether it a solo sexy posing man or woman, or whether its heterosexual or homosexual couples, can arouse us. Teenagers especially. Also, I know a lot of heterosexual female artists who are fascinated with the nude female body due to its sheer beauty and elegance. So who knows. Just don't let yourself read too much into it. No matter what her sexual orientation ends up being (which she might not figure out until she's 30--college and 20's are a confusing time right now for many), you'll love her.

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