A Letter to Parents of Transgender TeensMar 14, 2023
Are you the parent of a trans or gender non-conforming kiddo? Are you unsure how to help them begin their transition? Are you unsure about how you feel? You want to support your child but aren’t sure where to begin and maybe having trouble allowing yourself to feel your own emotions about the change.
I’ve worked with many parents and kids on their journey to become their true selves. It’s hard to know where to begin, and which providers are going to help. Maybe you’re not sure how to navigate the insurance maze, find support, or struggling to know how to talk to extended family about this change. No matter where you are in this process I’m here to help.
I offer parent coaching as a short-term intervention to provide you with the tools you need to support your child and yourself on this path. I offer here and now tools and resources to get you connected and help you help your kiddo. I’m a WPATH trained and work to keep up with the literature.
Here are some basics to know as you work to support your kiddo on their journey:
Learn about Gender Identity and Affirming Identity: Becoming educated and aware of language associated with the affirming gender identity of transgender individuals is important. Having an open dialogue about gender identity and affirming identity is key in creating a safe space for the your child or teen to explore their feelings and identity.
There’s no assessment that can be used to determine whether or not your child is transgender. Your child or teen's way of telling you about their identity depends on their age, developmental level, and what words they know about gender. It’s important to listen to what your child is telling you as they know themselves best. Many children with a transgender identity say, “I am a boy,” or “I am a girl,” instead of only expressing their gender through clothing choices, toy preference, etc.
Use your child's preferred name and pronouns. Allow space to explore gender safely. Children and teens often need to express themselves in different ways-this is part of learning who they are and establishing their identity.
Talk with a therapist about any grief you may be experiencing around your child's transition. You are allowed to have your feelings. Being a worried is normal! Our kids are their own people and our job is to support that. Let us support you while you support them!