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My 13-year-old daughter is fascinated and obsessed with another girl. She is not able to do her normal routine things. She has not even talked to the girl yet the girl occupies her full mental space. This has led to all her friends laughing at her and calling her "gay" she has stopped going to school. I am very worried and concerned. She is in therapy but this issue is not getting solved or it's not even close to being resolved. She is on anti-depressant medication.

What can I do to help her?

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Any chance of getting her to a different therapist? And are you certain that the therapist is helping her learn how to curb the obsession rather than focusing on her gender preference? Sounds like this therapist isn't clicking, especially since she's trying self-harm. –  Valkyrie Jun 6 at 10:14
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Could you please elaborate a little bit why she is in therapy? Is it to correct the situation or to accept it? –  refro Jun 6 at 12:45
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You are being intentionally vague. "She is in therapy but this issue is not getting solved or it's not even close to being resolved". What is the issue? Homosexuality? Being picked on? I am not sure how to offer advice here –  staticx Jun 6 at 16:08
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She has a gay crush and ends up shunned and in therapy? Oh dear, the problem is most definitely not with that poor girl. –  Raphael Jun 8 at 11:24
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All I can add is that it's important that you accept her for who she is, despite what she's going through, and there's no better way to do than spending time with her not talking about problems. Sitting on the sofa watching Dr. Who or whatever you guys like, experiencing something that isn't a problem on an ongoing basis can make dealing with problems easier. If your relationship with her is all about problems, dealing with problems, talking about solving problems, I don't think you'll solve any problems. –  Marc Jun 8 at 22:54

5 Answers 5

Is the psychological therapy a direct result of only this event? To an outsider without more information, that sounds like more than necessary.

For something this critical, don't get advice from anonymous Internet strangers. Talk to the therapist instead!

Your daughter's therapy is private but you should take the opportunity to discuss your role with the therapist. Get an urgent appointment with the therapist and get professional advice on how to handle the situation as an involved parent.


There are things you can do, separately from managing the immediate crisis you are facing. Most importantly, show her that you love her and that you support her unconditionally. Her sexuality as well as every other detail that makes her her does not change that you're her loving parent and you want to help her be a wonderful person.

Try to support her in a way that she best likes (don't bulldoze over her with your own style). Give her hugs and support if she needs it. Give her space and quiet if she prefers that.

Also, we have a few related questions on this site, and this answer in particular seems useful.

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Absolutely. The first thing is for the adults to react calmly, and it really doesn't sound like the querant is doing so. Second thing is to treat bullying as bullying, no matter what the justification, and handle that independently of the sexuality questions. Her sexuality is something you have no input on or control over; DISCARD THAT ISSUE and focus on helping her deal with learning her emotions and the social minefields just as you would if she had a crush on a guy and was getting teased for that. Teen crushes are generally transient anyway. –  keshlam Jun 6 at 20:35

She needs your support (and the therapist's) while going through a difficult enough stage of life with the added complication of (possibly) being gay. It sounds like her peers are (like most kids) not open and supportive of her, which may quite possibly reflect the general society where you live. If she's hurting herself because of anti-gay taunting, that's something that her school is legally required (in most states) to try to combat. If they can't or won't, you should take her out of that school.

Please keep two things in mind, whether you're uncomfortable with homosexuality or it gives you no problem: 1) it's biologically determined, not a lifestyle choice. Your daughter is that way not through a choice, but through her own internal makeup. And 2) it's entirely possible that she will bounce all over the place, between out and out lesbian and perfectly straight, before she settles on her own skin that she's most comfortable with. Especially in females, sexual orientation is a rather fluid thing that doesn't settle down until her 20s. So don't feel alarmed if she's gay, or relieved if she's straight -- it could change (multiple times).

Addendum: 13 years old is a little young, particularly in girls, to declare a sexual orientation once and for all. As I said above, she could change back and forth several times by her 20s. Don't let her get tattooed with a declaration of her lesbianism at 14, as by 16 she may desperately wish to remove it while she's dating a boyfriend (and at 18 may be back to a girlfriend). Don't worry about it, but give her your love and support, whatever she turns out to be -- she'll always be your daughter. And if you're not comfortable with homosexuality, it's time for you to come to terms with that, or at least hide your feelings so as not to give her a message that's she's bad in some way.

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I think the most important thing is to support your child in her self-discovery. If she is realising that she is gay, then it is fundamentally important that she is in a supportive and loving home, with a family that accepts her. You can't control the attitudes of her friends and classmates, but you can make sure you let her know that you still love her no matter what her sexuality is. You can also tell her to drop those friends that can't accept her.

Taking her to therapy could help her with depression and anxiety, but it could also make her feel that there is something wrong with her, at a very formative time. She needs to discover her own natural sexuality without feeling pressure to be one way or another.

I agree with Torben that if you are struggling with this situation yourself, perhaps you might benefit from speaking to a therapist..

By the way, I don't want to sound at all like I'm accusing you of not being supportive. It's just that without knowing your situation, the mention of therapy does make me a little concerned. Being gay is not a sickness that needs to be treated by a doctor. (Nor is a teenage crush.)

I wish you and your daughter all the best. Love and support are the best advice I can give.

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There are a few issues you have identified:

  1. She has some homosexual feelings.

  2. She is exhibiting what you identify as an unhealthy obsession over another person.

  3. She is on antidepressants.

  4. She is in therapy.

  5. She has stopped going to school.

Because all of those items are in one question, the natural presumption is that they are all related. From my personal experience as a gay, bipolar, ADHD person, I rather doubt everything in your question is related, but that's for your therapist to be the authority.

Taking a step back, each issue has its own items to inspect:

  1. Having homosexual feelings isn't always the most devastating thing in someone's life. Because of social stigma's, lack of societal support in many areas, a lack of knowledge about homosexuality, and other factors, the "coming out" stage varies in difficulty significantly. It is also well accepted in the "gay community" and amongst many others that sexuality is on a range from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual, with very few falling at the extremes.

    Many communities have support groups for teens identifying as homosexual and those who support them. If your area has such a group, it may be very helpful as she will then be able to spend time with "others like her".

  2. An unhealthy obsession over another person (regardless of gender) is something many people have to work through -- whether over a celebrity or the hottie at school. It is important to work with your therapist to help your daughter establish healthy, balanced relationships with other people.

  3. I will not address the antidepressants as there's only one way she's getting them and that's through the psychiatrist prescribing them, so it appears to be being addressed.

  4. The other posts have discussed supporting her and working with her therapist. I will only add to be sure that she has confidence in her therapist (i.e. she relates with him/her and feels that the therapist relates with her.) Without a trust bond between patient and therapist it is unlikely the therapy will prove therapeutic to the degree desired. There are many doctors, so find the one which will help her most effectively (if you haven't already).

  5. Not going to school is, perhaps, one of the more challenging, immediate components of your question... she is most likely in fear of ostracization and bullying. Alternative options likely exist: a different, somewhat-nearby school? home schooling? Chatting with the school principal could be quite helpful in resolving this. A change of venue is often helpful. I do, however, recommend discussing this suggestion with her therapist first in case there are other aspects of your question not written above (and, well, even if you had... I'm not there to see and I'm by no mean a therapist!)

One thing I notice which is distinctly missing from your question is what your daughter says/feels. While everyone is recommending talking to her therapist (a good suggestion), talk with her, too. -- And by that, I mean to just listen... she has plenty to say.

Finally, you say that the issue isn't "solved" -- it will never be solved as it is not a math problem. Your goal should be to find a resolution to what is ailing her so that she can live a healthy, productive, balanced life.

And, in that goal, I wish you both the best.

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This kind of fixation is very common during puberty, when the developing brain is bathed in a flood of new hormones that cause dramatic cognitive and somatic changes. Disorders occur when we fail to grow past these fixations, independent of sexual orientation and instead remain frozen in a developmental stage.

The best solution I ever saw for this looks like the following: Talk to the parent of the other girl, and arrange a safe and non-intrusive play time for your daughter, the girl, and some mellow friends to round out a small group. It can be in some appropriate social context such as a sports activity, or a tea party or whatever the heck is most natural in your local context.

When we see people as people we can grow past the fixation and realize that the other person is just a person too.

You daughter can move on from this through the hurt of rejection, or she can learn to express her feelings in a safe manner and experience the company of another person who also feels safe in the circumstance.

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