March 3, 2020
Transgender Child? How to Cope and Become a Better Ally
Written by Rachel Eddins
If your child comes out as transgender, the most important thing you can do is love them—unconditionally. That might seem like a bold statement to start with, but if nothing else, showing them your love and acceptance can make a huge difference in their lives. With that said, even if you are genuinely accepting, a child being transgender may bring up some difficult emotions, too.
It’s okay that you may deal with confusion. You may also be skeptical, or feel like you “lost” someone you knew so well, thinking about the son or daughter you’ve raised thus far.
But, with that love pushing you forward, your next job is to make this transition as easy as possible for your child.
We live in a world where trans individuals still aren’t accepted the way they should be. Life might be hard at times for your child. So, what can you do to cope, and what can you do to help?
Accept and Follow
Along with loving your child no matter what, it’s essential to accept who they are. As parents, that’s not always easy to cope with such a significant change. You might think your child being transgender is some sort of phase or that they will return to the person you once knew. In truth, that only happens in a tiny percentage of cases.
Instead of thinking about the “what ifs,” you’ll make the transition easier for your child and yourself if you accept their authentic identity and let them lead the way.
You might think you’ll need to go out and buy different clothing or encourage your child to fit the stereotypes of the gender they identify with. The good news? You don’t need to put that pressure on yourself (or your child).
There’s a good chance they’ll know what they want. So, let them lead the way when it comes to how they want to dress, the “rules” they want to follow for their gender, and how they want to act.
After all, no two men or women are the same. You shouldn’t expect your child to fall into a particular mold.
Don’t Assume Something Is Wrong
Despite your best efforts to assume everything is normal, it’s not uncommon to think your child is unhappy or is struggling if they come out as transgender.
Being trans doesn’t indicate any mental health problem. One of the worst things you can do is to suggest your child go to therapy to change their identity or that there is something wrong with them because they identify as a different gender.
If they come to you and suggest they are having problems, that’s a different story. But, just being transgender doesn’t indicate a need for help.
Take Care of Yourself
Some parents have no problem accepting the fact that their child is transgender. For others, it’s more of a struggle. No matter where you fall, it’s not a bad idea to consider therapy for yourself or join a support group such as PFLAG.
Your child may face a lot of uncertainties as they go forward. They could have to deal with criticism at school or bullying. People may look at them differently, and they might even face discrimination when they step out into the real world. That’s a jagged pill for a parent to swallow when all you want to do is protect your child.
Therapy can help you when it comes to learning how to cope and how to handle your child’s life as a transgender individual. It can teach you ways to manage your discomforts, work through your confusion, and help to be a champion for your child as they go through their lives.
Seek Out an Experienced Therapist
If your child has recently come out as transgender, don’t be afraid to take care of yourself and get the help you need to work through it. The more you grow and learn, the more you are able to understand and communicate with your kids. Eddins Counseling Group in has experienced therapists that specialize in family, teen, and child counseling. and LGBTQ+ concerns. Reach out today by calling 832-323-1396 or booking an appointment online.
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