Parents have a tough job. Between supporting their children and setting boundaries so that they will become happy and high-functioning humans, there are the bumps and bruises of childhood and the heartbreaks of the teen years that require a parent’s best wisdom to negotiate. When it comes to a child who is expressing his or her gender identity contrary to the genitals assigned during gestation, parents are often forced to do a serious sorting process which may involve consultation with clergy, doctors or therapists as well as exhaustive Google searches on “gender identity.”
How people identify their gender and choose to express that is basic to viewing who we are and how we fit into the world. Gender identity carries with it a set of culturally-enforced expectations, many of which can also throw a family into denial, anger, a sense of betrayal, and confusion when family support is absolutely critical for the well-being of the child. Without support from the family, children are prone to suffer from physical and mental health issues, engage in risky behaviors, or entertain thoughts of suicide. Without support, children may suffer from repeated bullying inside and outside the home, homelessness, and death by their own hands or those of another. The question is how can one support a child who is violating the values of the family system?
If your child has come out to you as transgender – feeling he or she was placed in the body of the opposite sex, and you are having difficulty dealing with your emotions and sense of loss, I can be contacted via my website – nextpagecoaching.com – for a complimentary coaching session. My hope is to create bridges between parents and their children who are diverging from family values.
Building bridges for support,