What to do if your child tells you they are transgender at an early age

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Did you know that according to a study done by the National Center For Transgender Equality, out of 6,400 transgender people interviewed in the United States, 45% revealed that at one point they had thoughts of suicide? There are a lot of challenges that transgender children have to face, from the fear and confusion that comes with realizing their bodies belong to a gender that isn't in line with who they are to the fear that they will face disapproval from or be rejected by their loved ones and society. 

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If your child has given you clear signs of nonconformity with their gender, support them! Your understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love will make a huge difference in their lives. As parents, we have to put ourselves in our children's shoes. The love that mothers and fathers have for their children should take away any judgment, because so much of children's self-esteem depends on the respect and acceptance that parents show for who they really are.

You must accept that you are the parent of a transgender child.

You must accept that you are the parent of a transgender child.

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Stop thinking that it's just a phase in their lives they will "get over." Don't try to convince yourself that it will fade away. The more you are in denial of the reality of things, the more your child will suffer. If it's hard for you to accept it, look for help so you can process it, because your child needs your support.

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Don't force your child to change.

Don't force your child to change.

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Remind yourself that it's not a choice, it's their nature. Even if your pressure isn't directly aimed at them, it could be that you fall into the temptation of making comments or insinuating that they reconsider saying that they are transgender.

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Be their shield. Help them learn how to deal with rejection.

 Be their shield. Help them learn how to deal with rejection.

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The rejection and judgment from society are inevitable, but when children feel accepted by their parents and are given the freedom of being themselves in their own homes, they will be able to handle the barriers of public rejection a bit better.

Defend your child and fight for their rights.

Defend your child and fight for their rights.

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Children should feel like they can trust their parents enough to be able to tell their parents if they are victims of harassment or discrimination. If this happens, file complaints with the authorities, and speak to the parents of the kids who are harassing your child.

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Allow children to play however they feel like playing.

Allow children to play however they feel like playing.

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If they choose a game or activity that is viewed to be for the opposite gender, let them be. Give children the opportunity to explore their world and their imagination in a free way, and allow them to feel comfortable within themselves without worrying if the games or toys they choose are for boys or girls.

Avoid the risk of depression due to constant rejection by seeking professional help.

Avoid the risk of depression due to constant rejection by seeking professional help.

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Symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, refusal to go to school, crying a lot, and sleeping a lot. Depressed children can feel incapable, and their grades can go down in school. These could all be signs that they feel stigmatized and judged in their environment. 

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Get well-informed about the topic.

Get well-informed about the topic.

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Do your research, and speak to experts. Find out what measures are being taken at your child's school to educate students about equality and respect for sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Topics: childcare  children  parenting advice  parenting  parenting tips