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Guide to Being a Transgender Parent
Parenting is a difficult job at the best of times. Throw in anything on top of that which is going to put you outside the norm in some way and a new set of challenges will present themselves. Challenges don't always mean disaster, however. If embraced and faced head on, with a little luck they may help you grow closer with your child.
Coming Out to Your Child
While it can be tempting to avoid the issue entirely by simply not talking to your children about your situation, this has very poor odds of turning out well. Children are far more astute at noticing when something is being hidden from them than adults give them credit for. Worse, even if your child doesn't realize something is being hidden from him or her, your child's friends might and then say something. It's especially upsetting to a child to deal with discovering secrets as well as the embarrassment of being the last to know.
Whether you're a post-op transsexual or a weekend transvestite, it's good for your relationship to be open with your child to prevent confusion and resentment. It may not seem as if it should be any of your child's business, but children have a way of feeling intense ownership over their parents. Boundaries that might feel clear with adult friends don't necessarily exist to your child.
How to Come Out
Being open and honest while answering any questions your child has is the healthiest approach. Keep in mind that the understanding an adult has is going to be very different from that of a child. Tailor how you explain things to a child's understanding, while also gently expanding on the simplistic ideas of sex and gender that they've probably absorbed from society. Some children might find transgender concepts confusing, while others may accept them automatically. Emotional outbursts or withdrawal are also possible. Prepare yourself for any of these reactions and try to keep your child's unique personality and sensitivities in mind while talking with him or her.
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