1. Help them discover who they are by listening– Children are extremely honest and will not hesitate to explain what is going on inside those little heads of theirs. Often the hints are there; you just need to be ready for them. When a child says they feel as though they were meant to be the opposite gender, they mean it. Children even from a young age can start to explore their gender identities.
2. Be Their Support System, Not Their Oppressors- It isn’t easy to understand what being transgender is like and sometimes it’s easiest for people to disapprove of things they don’t understand. If your child is opening up to you about their gender identity, as parents it is your job to be there for them through and through. Love them and be proud of who they are! Take this time to do some research so you can know how to support them.
3. Help them find the resources they need- Depending on the age of the child they may not be able to figure out what it is that they need on their own. This is where your help will be important for them to get there. Finding a gender therapist and doctors offices that offer transgender care is a great start.
4. Make sure everyone is being respectful- As children they may not be able to fight their own battles. If people aren’t being respectful towards your child, it may be time to step in. No matter who it is family, friends, or even teachers, transgender people deserve respect. Correcting the offender is usually enough, but there may be times you need to make adjustments based on their needs. Being disrespected is hard on any transgender person. Even using the wrong pronouns can cause someone to sink into the dysphoria.
5. Don’t try to change who they are- Sometimes cisgender parents think that by forcing their child to act like the sex they were born as, it will it will magically “cure” them, when in fact it just makes things worse. You can’t just condition them to be something they aren’t. There have been cases where parents send their kids to conversion therapy to fix them and it often drives them to suicide for basically being made to believe they are an abomination. Don’t let this happen to your child, please!
6. Be prepared for anything- Being trans often comes with a lot of baggage. There will more than likely be good days and bad days. Though some transgender people experience little to no dysphoria, many can experience crippling amounts of it. Knowing what to do during the bad days can be very important. Observe your child and take notes of what triggers them to have bad days or experiences. It’s best that you follow their lead. Let them tell you what they need. Don’t smother them if they don’t want to be bothered, just make sure they know you are there and care for them. Find activities they enjoy that are good distractions during the bad days.
7. Talk to the school about restroom use- For trans people restrooms often become a nightmare. Depending on the extent of their gender expression using either restroom can be problematic. Save yourself some possible traumatic experiences and talk to the school about your child and go from there. Some parents have transferred their kids to different schools because of their school’s policy on transgender people and restroom use. Homeschooling is always an option if it comes to that.
8. Changing names- Going through the process of changing your name can be quite difficult depending on where you live. Once you know for certain your child is trans and they want to change their name you will want to start looking into this. Changing other documents such as drivers licenses, social security cards, and birth certificates will be a part of this process.
9. Start saving money for transition costs- Transitioning is not cheap. Almost all aspects of transitioning will cost money. Once again, depending on where you live and your insurance policies the cost of transitioning can be a small fortune. For some the cost can be up to and over $30,000. Starting to save money early on can really benefit you.
10. Stopping Puberty- If you have a transgender child who hasn’t yet hit puberty you can do them and yourself a gigantic favor by stopping puberty and starting hormone treatments of the gender they identify as. Doing this will save a lot of money because you won’t have to have hair removal done, or breast reduction surgery. You can allow them go through puberty as the gender they identify as, which is something that very many trans people who transitioned after puberty wish they could have done.
Following these ten points can make living a lot easier for your transgender child.