Try not to make your son or daughter angry, i.e. don't go searching for clues in their bedroom, as this aggravates the situation. Respect their privacy. They will 'come out' when they are ready. You can help them to 'come out' by asking. At the same time try not to make them feel you are putting them on the spot. Try not to make him/her feel awkward. Don't be upset that they haven't told you themselves.

Your son or daughter may be in denial. To prove they are not gay they may be homophobic or when asked, go over the top to prove that they are not, but don't get this mixed up with denial, as they may be telling the truth.

Asking your son or daughter if they are gay may help them, because they may not know how to tell you. They should realise that it probably won't be much of a shock for you if they know that you already have your suspicions.

Everybody's experiences differ as people come from all sorts of backgrounds in different shapes and sizes, and the way sexuality is dealt with varies. So writing this article to suit all readers is difficult.

The most important thing to remember is that your son or daughter has not changed. Some parents see it as having an alien in the house.

Now your child has come out it does not automatically mean that he will adopt a limp wrist or she will become butch. Something you must not do is over-react and to think it's all your fault. That is completely untrue. It is not the way you brought your child up that has made them gay.

The worst thing you can do is pretend nothing has happened, brush it under the carpet and hope it will all go away. Don't say "It's just a phase". Your child may know otherwise and might be irritated by you saying this, especially when they've known for some time.

Hanging on to the hope that your child will change his or her mind will not work. They can't 'change' their mind.

Remember: sexuality is not a choice.

You have to realise that it's not your child with the problem, it's you.