Wednesday, April 24, 2024

LGBTQ+ Parenting Expert Heather Hester’s Book, Parenting With Pride, Empowers Families Through Warmhearted Honesty

Last updated Sunday, March 17, 2024 17:32 ET

Author, coach, and podcaster Heather Hester shares her family’s story following her son’s coming out, as well as shares the four pillars of how parents can support their LGBTQ+ child.

Wilmette, Illinois, 03/17/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

In today’s highly polarized society, being an LGBTQ+ person is fraught with risks and hardship. Bigotry and homophobia are still rife in many parts of the world, and individuals who do not conform to a conservative view of sexuality may suffer discrimination and bullying. This is also hard for parents who accept their child’s identity, but are also deeply aware that the wider society does not. These parents are constantly looking for ways to best support their child and the rest of the family through these challenging times.

Heather Hester, founder of Chrysalis Mama, an online resource for parents of LGBTQ+ children and creator of the podcast, Just Breathe: Parenting your LGBTQ+ Teen, experienced this when her eldest son, Connor, came out as gay in 2017, when he was 16. Heather and her husband, Steve, quickly moved past the initial shock and were nothing but affirming, loving, and supportive towards their son.

However, they soon learned that this was not enough, as Connor was still facing his own issues, grappling with his personal identity and relationships with others. This turmoil manifested in dangerous behaviors, such as self-harm and substance abuse, and culminated in an attempted suicide. The Hesters realized that they needed professional help, and they ensured that Connor got all the help he needed on his journey, which would take years.

During this time, Heather discovered that there are many other families going through similar situations and there was a huge lack of resources and support for them. This led her to found Chrysalis Mama and the Just Breathe podcast, allowing her to reach out and provide support to everyone who needed it, sharing the knowledge she gained through years of personal experience, research, and conversing with mental health professionals.

Heather further condenses all of this knowledge into her book, titled Parenting with Pride: Unlearn Bias and Embrace, Empower, and Love Your LGBTQ+ Teen, which will be released on May 14. The book uses humor and Heather’s heartfelt personal experiences to convey her message of love and acceptance.

According to Heather, she began writing a book about her family’s experience even before the COVID pandemic, but she shelved it. In 2022, the project was revived after a guest on her podcast introduced her to a publisher. She shares that the writing and editing process was difficult, as it was a deeply personal subject. It was also a journey of self-discovery, and she learned how to better take care of herself while undertaking this endeavor.

Aside from telling the story of the Hester family, Parenting With Pride presents the four pillars of fully supporting and loving an LGBTQ+ person in the family: Embrace, Educate (or Unlearn), Empower, and Love.

According to Heather, the first pillar, Embrace, is about affirming your child for who they are, without judgment. The second pillar, Educate, involves learning about the issues and challenges being experienced by LGBTQ+ people. This also includes unlearning any biases you may have internalized. In Heather’s case, it was her upbringing in a conservative, Christian family.

The third pillar, Empower, is teaching your children to have courage and allowing them to connect with their authentic selves and with others, creating a strong support network that will allow them to be sure of who they are and where they are in their life paths. And, finally, the fourth pillar is love, which Heather sums up succinctly: “Just love them unconditionally. It should be simple, but people make it so difficult.”

“I want readers, the parents of LGBTQ+ children, as well as the children themselves, to know that they are not alone,” Heather says. “Despite living in a relatively progressive area, our family felt alone and isolated in the early days. So, when I think of families in more conservative regions of the US and other parts of the world where the stigma against LGBTQ+ people is much greater, I realize that they need much more support in navigating this challenging situation. I hope that, through my book, I can alleviate their trouble a little bit by showing that there’s someone out there who went through the same challenges and felt the same way as they did.”

Media contact:

Name: Heather Hester

Email: [email protected]

Original Source of the original story >> LGBTQ+ Parenting Expert Heather Hester’s Book, Parenting With Pride, Empowers Families Through Warmhearted Honesty