Working with Parents

Originally posted at Youth Trans Critical Professionals

In my experience working with parents, the sudden announcement of a young teen that he or she is trans can bring confusion and isolation. Most parents that I have seen in this situation feel a strong urge to support their child, even while questioning whether such an announcement represents their child’s authentic expression, a transient exploration along that child’s developmental path, or the child’s effort to both fit in and stand out. Since unquestioningly affirming a teen’s sudden declaration of being trans can nudge him or her in the direction of serious, permanent medical intervention, caution should be the word of the day. Unfortunately, most parents are not supported in their desire to approach such a momentous shift slowly and carefully. Parents are chastised for being “transphobic,” and told to get on board or risk losing their child to suicide.

Given what is at stake, I feel that we as professionals need to educate ourselves about the very real effects of social contagion.

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