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Home » tvChix Articles » Guide to Parenting a Transgender Child

Guide to Parenting a Transgender Child

While many transgendered adults report being aware of their gender identity from their earliest memories, not many were able to begin transition early in life. This has been changing in recent years, however, as more children express a gender identity that is at odds with the gender they were assigned at birth. Whether this is the result of an increase in children being born who are transgender, greater awareness of transgender issues on a societal level, or something else entirely is currently unknown. What is known is that you are not alone in parenting a child who is transgender. There is support and information out there for you and your family.

What Is Gender Dysphoria?

This is probably a term that you'll hear if you take your child to a psychologist. While most people identify with the gender that society says matches their body, this isn't always the case. A child who is transgender might actually feel considerable anguish over having to live as a gender they don't identify with. Some children are even driven to attempt suicide.

It's very important for parents to understand that gender identity is not the same thing as interests, personality, or hobbies. A female child with gender dysphoria is not the same thing as a tomboy, as most girls who play with traditionally masculine toys are happy to identify as girls. Switching toys or playmates will only increase the child's discomfort and make it difficult for your child to trust you. He or she may attempt to hide his or her identity from you if he or she doesn't feel accepted, which will make things worse and could in fact put your child in psychological danger.

How Can You Help?

The most important thing for you to do is to be there for your child. Listen to what your child has to say and be supportive. Be prepared to take your child out of school or switch schools if there are issues with bullying and harassment, as a transgender child is at a heightened risk of both of these. Be supportive and be loving, above all else.

It would be wise to seek medical advice. While many children suffering from gender dysphoria do not have any physical issues, there are some conditions which are associated with gender dysphoria. These might include some intersex conditions that were mild enough to have been missed at birth, or the onset of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which sometimes begins at puberty and results in heightened testosterone levels in females. There are some health issues that can be caused by these conditions and they may also have an impact on what treatment is recommended for your child.

Seeking professional help from a psychologist or licensed therapist who is experienced at dealing with children is very important as well. Finding a psychologist who is experienced dealing with transgender adults is not in the best interests of your child, however, as a child with gender dysphoria has a very different experience. They are not simply small adults and must be treated accordingly.

What Does the Future Hold?

This is going to depend on your child. Not all children who suffer from gender dysphoria grow up to be transgender adults. They may find their identity evolving and changing as they grow older. Some may continue to identify as transgender in some capacity, but find that they have no desire for surgical or hormonal treatments. However, there are also many children who are so violently distressed by their bodies not matching their brain gender that to do anything other than seek help in transitioning would be a death sentence for them. Not everyone who is transgender has the same experience. Simply because your child has expressed a gender identity at odds with societal expectations does not mean your child will need to follow any specific path.

Do not enter into this with expectations. It's very important that whatever happens only happens because it's both what your child wants and what is in your child's best interests. It may be helpful for you and your partner to seek therapy while your child receives it as well, to assist you in your role as parent and support.

Be watchful for your child's comfort and safety. Be supportive and educate yourself on risks and outcomes of any treatment options you consider. Move forward in love and your child will be well prepared for whatever road he or she needs to take.

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24/06/2024 14:13:14