Both parents have a great influence on the child's sense of self-worth and gender identity.There can also be other traumatic experiences outside the family that contribute toward the development of same-sex attractions.
A trauma, such as a teen-age girl or boy being raped, may lead him or her to have same-sex attractions rather than opposite-sex attractions.Father Harvey: Often parents are afraid that their child has same-sex attractions but do not want to seek professional help in order to ascertain their child's inner tendencies.The problem is that parents are not given real knowledge of signs of homosexual inclinations.The more we study, the more we see the influence at home is early, in grade school, and even earlier.But it's important to remember that teen-agers who think they have same-sex attractions aren't set for life. When teens say they feel uncomfortable around peers of the same sex and are attracted to them, often they've also had difficulty relating to and identifying emotionally and psychologically with their same-sex parent -- it's just that the realization of this strained relationship doesn't happen until much later.Although most cases of same-sex attractions begin in childhood, the teen-age period becomes critical -- either the teen is drawn toward acting out homosexually, or the teen gets help and learns to live a chaste lifestyle.The teen may also be able to gradually work toward overcoming or at least minimizing homosexual attractions with the help of a good therapist and spiritual director.Parents need to talk to their children, give their child thorough instruction on the purpose and meaning of human sexuality, and the beauty of marriage as union of a man and a woman. The writings of Christopher West on Pope John Paul II's "theology of the body" are most helpful.Parents are afraid to tell their youngsters what to do, and at 18 teens have their freedom to do whatever they please.He shared how parents can educate themselves about same-sex attractions and how they can teach their children about healthy human sexuality. Is there a difference between children in these situations and youth who choose to experiment with homosexuality because of social influences?Father Harvey: There's a significant difference between a child with same-sex attractions due to family environments rather than due to experimentation.