NO MATTER how progressive you consider yourself as a parent, your child coming out as transgender can be confusing and shocking. Parenting is never easy, but this can be an especially challenging situation. How do you support your child on their gender identity journey? How can you ensure their safety? What does this mean for your family?
In this post, we’re sharing valuable tips for parents with trans kids. Take a look.
Show your love
Showing love and support to your child is crucial. Just because they identify as a different gender doesn’t make them any less deserving of your affection and care. They are still your child.
There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with your child
At times parents wonder if they did something that urged their child to transition. There is nothing anyone can do to make your child choose a trans or non-binary identity. It is who they are. It’s imperative to understand that there is nothing wrong with your child that needs to be ‘fixed’.
Validate their identity
Most trans persons pick a new name to take ownership of their identity. It is a powerful thing that can make them feel comfortable and validated. You and your family should validate your child’s identity by addressing them by their new name and preferred pronouns. Don’t worry if you slip up and call them by their dead name. It will happen, so just apologise and move on.
Support social and medical transition
Let’s get one thing straight- there is no right way to transition. A trans person may choose to dress and groom differently to match their gender identity. Or they may just choose a new name and pronouns. You can support them by helping them legally change their name at the UK Deed Poll Office.
When the time comes, your child may request hormone therapy and other medical procedures to affirm their identity. You can also consider puberty blockers that can buy them some time to solidify their identity.
Again, not transitioning socially or medically doesn’t make their identity any less valid.
Seek professional help
Transitioning can be difficult, which has also been shown to cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. You should consider seeking professional guidance to help your child navigate through this tumultuous time. A gender therapist will address the challenges your child is facing, which you may not be qualified to do.
Get in touch with school administration
It’s one thing to make the necessary changes at home to make your child feel seen and supported. But dealing with the outside world is another battle. Start by talking to the school administration and ask them to look out for any signs of bullying towards your child. Moreover, you should also request them to use your child’s preferred name and pronouns.
Though we have come a long way in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, the reality is that the trans community is majorly discriminated against in our society. This may come as a surprise to you, but there will likely be transphobes in your close circles. You should try to inform them about your child’s identity.
However, manage your expectations. If they continue to be unsupportive, you may have to cut ties with them.
Join a support group
The transition can be hard on you, and that doesn’t make you a bad parent. You’re grieving the loss of a future that you always envisioned for your child. Joining a support group and connecting with other parents going through the same things as you can be helpful. Support groups can also help you find resources to tackle other challenges.
While it can be a confusing and difficult time, it’s also a time to celebrate your child’s identity. It’s easy to worry and focus on the negatives, but you must lead with an optimistic attitude.
This is a submitted article.