If you’re a parent of a transgender teen, then it’s important to try to understand what your child is feeling and experiencing.
When a teenager says he or she is transgender, the parent tends to fear that the child is confused and choosing a life that can be complicated and filled with danger.
However, parents don’t get to decide these types of things for their kids. It’s also not something parents can cause or change. The teenagers know what they’re feeling and what’s true to them.
What parents can do is accept their children for who they are and love them unconditionally.
Here’s a guide for parents for supporting transgender teens.
Get knowledge for the basics
Just like anything your kid picks up or shows an interest in, it’s a good practice to get a better understanding and knowledge for the basics, because this helps to support the children and see where they’re coming from.
Not only will this help you to see what your children are experiencing, but it will make it easier to talk to them and also allow you to learn basic definitions (gender dysphoria, gender identity, etc.), ways you can support your children, transgender risks, the complexities of living transgender, etc.
If you want to have a healthy understanding of what your child is going through, then you have to have a healthy knowledge of the basics. This benefits you and your child tremendously.
The social transition can involve the children changing their name, hairstyle, clothing, and using the correct pronouns. These are reversible changes and might be all a child needs to thrive and be happy. As a parent, you have to support these changes, because ignoring them can make your child feel rejected and isolated, and other resulting problems could arise.
Let your teens be who they are so they feel supported and validated. If necessary, you can find your child a supportive community with other gender-nonconforming kids. In fact, transgender treatment programs can provide your child with a place that’s personalized and can help in a smooth transition to adulthood. Your child should feel safe and happy, and a treatment program could help.
While you want to work with people and organizations to ensure they’re also using the correct pronouns and treating your child appropriately for his or her gender identity, you also want to make sure your kid is safe.
For example, you can talk with your child’s school to get a better read on the culture and what the school does to support transgender teens.
The onset of puberty can bring on intense distress and depression because the body is changing in the opposite way from what the child is associating with. As a result, parents can consider puberty-blocking medications, which prevent the children from developing the secondary sex characteristics of their birth gender.
Stopping the onset of puberty is reversible, and it also gives teens more time to mature and ensure that the path they’re on is right for them.
Cross-gender hormones are typically the next step in the transitioning process. It’s important to research doctors and choose a medical provider who’s well-versed in caring for transgender teens.
Some people decide to pursue surgery after this, and you want to continue to support your child, which could simply involve looking for insurance coverage at this time and age.
While you want to protect your teens, it’s essential to continue to support them throughout this process. Learn as much as you can so you can be there for your children and have a better idea of what they’re going through.