If your child is transgender or has recently revealed that they are, here are some ways for you to make them feel supported.
Family support is vital for transgender children and teenagers, so it’s important to ensure you know as a parent how best you can support your child during this time.
Remind them that you love them and accept them.
Children who are non-binary or transgender sometimes worry that if they express how they feel, they won’t be loved anymore. The NHS advises: “It’s important to accept your child and let them know you love and support them, whatever their preferences are.”
Dr. Bernadette Wren, from the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), said to remind your child how unique every individual is: “It is important to see diversity as something which is positive and for adults to reinforce the idea that it is okay to be different,” she said. “Highlight the idea that there are lots of different ways to be male and female.”
Learn more about what being transgender means.
Local transgender support group Transfigurations advise parents to learn moreabout the condition so they can best support their child. “This will open your mind about any concerns you have for your child,” they state. This way, you will be more comfortable having open conversations with your child about it. You can find information out through charities and organisations such as Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence.
It is important to see diversity as something which is positive and for adults to reinforce the idea that it is okay to be different.”Dr. Bernadette Wren, from the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS)
Make sure your child knows they can talk to you.
Being able to talk about how they feel is hugely important in transitioning. Some children or teens will actively try to hide the way they feel as they are aware that it is not widely accepted. “The pressure to conform in society is immense,” the Mermaids charity states. “Teenagers are often afraid that divulging information about their gender variance will result in their parents disowning them.” Make sure you remind them that you are always there if they need to talk, and if they find it hard to talk out loud, they could write it down in a letter for you.
Remember there is help available to support you and your child.
Make use of support available for both your child and yourself. There are support groups for parents to speak to other parents whose children are transgender. “Discovering that you are not alone may be a great comfort to you, and sharing experiences with other families in the same position as you will help your own understanding,” said Mermaids. “It’s important to remember that you, as a parent, need support too.”