Shelby Cook, LISW-S
How to Support Kids Questioning Their Gender Identity
Is your child questioning their gender identity, and you’re freaking out? This blog post will help you offer your kids the support they need.
Seeing your kid wanting to do things that don’t align with their gender may worry a parent a lot. If your son expresses interest in playing with dolls and dressing up as a girl or if your daughter enjoys activities that boys would usually engage in more, you may start to freak out. And that’s exactly what you shouldn’t be doing at a time like this!
Children may question their gender out of a sense of curiosity, or it may be a sign that they’re suffering from gender dysphoria. Whatever the reason may be, it may have left your child utterly confused and low on self-esteem, and if you don’t offer them support, they may lose the spark of their personality.
It’s easier said than done. It’s not easy for a parent to accept the fact that their child may be trans, but you’ve got to be strong and highly supportive of your child. If you don’t tell your child you’re there for them, their trust may weaken, they may lose their self-confidence, and they may struggle with identity crises without feeling like they have a place to turn.
This blog post will help you support your kid who is questioning their gender identity so that your child grows up to be strong and confident, taking up whichever gender they decide to settle on!
Don’t Judge Your Child
You’re the last person your child would want to be judged by. They’ve got the whole world to do that. If your child is questioning their gender identity, don’t judge them, no matter how hard it is for you. Don’t make them feel their situation is a problem. Instead, be open and non-judgmental so they can talk to you comfortably about how they feel (Naftulin, 2021).
Trust Your Child
Just as you trust your child regarding their food choices, trust them when they express their concern over gender identity. Gender expression isn’t something you can control or impose. Gender identity and gender expression don’t always align and if it’s the case with your kid, walk through the process with your child. Don’t impose a gender on them because that will make things difficult. All your child needs at this stage is your trust and understanding.
Ask Questions and Show Sensitivity
It’s absolutely normal to want to ask your child questions to help you get clarity on what your child is going through. There’s no harm in questioning them but make sure you don’t question them in a judgmental manner. Ask questions with sensitivity so that your child knows you’re concerned and interested to know what they’re really feeling.
Ask your child how you can help them. If they only want you to listen to them, do that. If they want you to accompany them to group therapy, do that. If they want you to have their back, do that! When a child knows their parents are standing with them, they won’t let the uncertainty about their gender identity affect them!
If your child is questioning their identity, give them and yourself time and space to understand if it’s just curiosity or a possible sign of your child being trans. Once you’ve got clarity, you’ll be better able to tackle the situation better.
Naftulin, Julia. 2021, https://www.insider.com/what-to-do-if-your-child-is-questioning-their-gender-2021-1