SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In recent days, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) kids from the streets of Russia to communities around the world have seen a country arresting its own citizens for being gay and witnessed a father of a talented NFL draft pick express his disapproval when Michael Sam Jr. came out as gay. Safe Harbor Coach to the LGBT Community Susan Berland says this is not the message we want to send to our LGBT young people on Valentine's Day or any day.
"Reading Michael Sam, Sr.'s response to his son's coming out breaks my heart," Berland says. "I know first-hand the long-term impact that kind of response has on LGBT kids. It affects their self-esteem and can lead to depression and substance abuse." Today, Berland coaches parents and their LGBT kids with the goal to build a bridge to acceptance and understanding.
Berland believes it is possible to move past the space of confusion and rejection. For parents who love their child and want to understand, there are tools available to move toward acceptance and understanding. "Love denied is a tragedy, and it is time to bring in the healing," Berland says. Community groups, anti-bullying organizations, and families around the world can download Berland's A.C.C.E.P.T.™ Manifesto to share in perfect timing to shift perspectives and heal broken hearts.
Given the high expectations that bubble up among families when a child comes out, Valentine's Day seems a fitting time to share tips to lay the foundation for relationships to deepen instead of shatter.
- Start by acknowledging and accepting where you are. If you don't start there, you won't be able to move beyond it.
- Be courageous and open in discussing uncomfortable topics with one another.
- Show compassion and caring in your communications so you will be heard and understood. Communicating out of anger, frustration and disappointment stops the message you are trying to deliver from being heard.
- Be patient with yourself and one another. It takes time to adjust one's expectations and there is no one way and no one right way. Everyone has a unique path.
- Trust yourself, your feelings, and who you are. When the foundation of love is still there, you can trust that you will be able to build a bridge back to understanding and acceptance.
About Safe Harbor Coach Susan Berland:
Susan Berland guides young people and their parents back to a loving, accepting relationship when the parents are struggling to accept their child as gay, bisexual or transgender. Berland shows parents and their kids how to communicate effectively, trust one another, and accept one another where and as they are. As the proud mother of a gay son and champion for people who are different, Berland is called to support LGBT kids and their parents in the most important journey of their lives. She welcomes invitations to speak to the media and from stages at conferences and workshops around the world. Her mission is to foster acceptance and understanding and be a catalyst for stopping gay intolerance in families around the world. Download The A.C.C.E.P.T.™ Manifesto and learn more about how Berland helps at http://www.susanhopeberland.com.
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SOURCE Susan Berland