Support Your Teens in Understanding What They're Going Through

  • Child Development
Eric Peterson

Hello all and happy Pride Month!

As someone who reads quite a bit, my natural response to most things that I don’t understand is to read a book about it! So when my teenage son came out to me, I knew that I had to read more about raising kids who identify as LGBTQIA+. Middle and high school are confusing enough times for teens. Imagine adding the extra pressure of feeling unsure about how your fit into our hetero-normative community. My wife and I did some research, and we came up with some books to read to help us navigate this somewhat unfamiliar (to us) world. Here are some of our suggestions and a link to buy them at The Tattered Cover:


This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids

Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced in answering parents' many questions and sharing insight and guidance on emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this is the book gay kids want their parents to read


Unconditional: The Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child 

 In Unconditional, author Telaina Eriksen, a professor at Michigan State University, explains what she and her husband have learned through the experience of parenting a gay child. She covers topics like how to handle kids coming out, being an advocate for LGBTQ+ children, how to help your child deal with stress unique to LGBTQ+ kids, and finding an LGBTQ+ family. This book is a must-read for anyone who thinks their child is transgender or otherwise LGBTQ+.



This book is essential reading for questioning teens, teachers, or parents looking for advice, or anyone who wants to learn how to talk about gender and sexual identity. In this volume, popular vlogger Ash Mardell, who embraces all pronouns, answers your questions about the post-binary world of the twenty-first century.


Raising LGBTQ Allies

This book sheds light on the deeper, multi-faceted layers of homophobia. It opens up a conversation with parents around the possibility they may have an LGBTQ child, and shows how heteronormativity can be harmful if not addressed clearly and early. Although not every parent will have an LGBTQ child, their child will jump rope or play tag with a child who is LGBTQ.


About the Author

Eric Peterson, 8th Grade Instructor, Communications & Literacy, Student Leadership & Entrepreneurship Coach, Communications & Literacy Department Co-Chair

Eric has been a part of Aspen Academy since 2011 and has taught both drama and middle school language arts. He has also served as our Advancement Manager. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Theater from Juniata College as well as a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Texas. He helped to create the Shark Tank Program for our 8th graders and was instrumental in developing the Bears Student Enterprises Media Cohort.