Is Your Child Transgender? – How to Cope with It
When a child comes out as transgender, there’s a good chance it’s been something they’ve been thinking about and dealing with for a long time. Many children wait years before they’re comfortable enough to talk to their families about it.
The current climate of the world is still so uncertain for transgender individuals. So as a parent, it’s important to be an advocate for your child as well as a constant support system.
Of course, hearing your child come out as transgender can be an overwhelming experience for a parent, too. Knowing how to be there for them can positively influence their life and your relationship.
So, what can you do to accept your child’s identity and support them on their journey?
Accept Your Child for Who They Are
Perhaps the most important thing you can do when your child comes out as transgender is to accept them and what they say.
Again, they’ve likely spent weeks, months, or even years building up the courage to tell you this. Disregarding it or telling them its just a “phase” can instantly make them feel less valuable or even invalidated. It can also drive a wedge between your relationship.
It’s not always easy, but try putting yourself in your child’s shoes. If someone were to disregard your gender or suggest your identity was somehow “wrong,” how would you feel?
Take that into consideration with your child. Rejecting their identity can make them feel like you’re rejecting them, as a whole.
One thing that confuses many people is the difference between gender and sex. Sex is biological, while gender is a social construct. Gender is what develops stereotypes surrounding men and women, including how they should act, what they should wear, etc.
Learning more about the differences between gender and sex can make it easier for you to understand why your child identifies themselves as a different gender, despite being the same sex they’ve always been.
It’s never a good idea to stereotype transgender people, especially your own child. After all, not all men and women carry the same traits. So it’s unfair to think every transgender person would be the same.
Follow your child’s lead when it comes to how they want to live their life as a transgender individual. Maybe they’ll want to start wearing different clothing. Maybe they’ll speak differently or want different pronouns used to address them. Or, you might not notice any changes at all.
Whatever the case, let your child be the one who decides how being transgender will affect them, and how they want to live their life. There is no “right” way to be transgender. It’s different for everyone. Try to adjust with your child as they continue to learn more about themselves.
Get the Support You Need
No matter how supportive you might be of your child as they come out, it can still be difficult for parents to fully adjust to the transgender lifestyle.
Undoubtedly, you’ll have worries about how your child will be accepted in society, gender stigmas they’ll face, and even problems with other family members.
Seeking out support for yourself is never a bad idea. Talking to a counselor or therapist about your child’s decision can make it easier for you to cope with such a huge change. As a result, you can be an even stronger support system for your child.
If you’re the parent of a child who has recently come out as transgender and you’re struggling with it, feel free to contact us. Together, we can talk about different ways to support your child, and how your lives will change now that they are expressing their true identity.