Christian is a certified life coach, writer, photographer and traveler. He works predominately with transgender individuals and parents of transgender children helping them to process and move forward on their journey in all stages of transition. He volunteers as a mentor at Out Youth in Austin, TX and in his free time enjoys road trips, music, astrology and blogging.
“I don’t want my child to be transgender because I don’t want them to have a difficult life.” This is one of the most frequent things I hear parents say once they realize their child is transgender.
Parents grieve “the good life” for their child or teen, assuming that trans people all live hard, sad lives of abuse and discrimination, devoid of any normalcy or happiness. While no doubt this is unfortunately true for many, there are plenty of thriving trans people living successful lives, with fulfilling jobs, healthy relationships, and building families of their own.
While we all need to advocate against transphobia, discrimination, and violence, we also need to let go of the assumption that being transgender is synonymous with an inevitable “bad life”. Nobody is destined to have a bad life.
Nonetheless, it is in the general consciousness that being transgender equals a doomed life and in fact, many children will live up to this belief that they absorb from society and unknowing parents. The truth is that nobody knows how their transgender child would have grown up had they not been transgender. Grieve that idealistic life you envisioned for them then release it with a kiss into the atmosphere where it can recycle into something even better.
Flip the switch and change the language.
What if your child or teen could live a meaningful, fulfilling life as a transgender human being? What if you, as the parent could be their foundation, their rock, their unwavering support that strengthens them enough to rise above challenge or circumstance? Notice how these beliefs impact that language and words you use as your talk to and about your kid.
Honor the power of your kid’s personal choice.
Happiness resides in the mind. Empower your child with the belief that they will live a happy life if they choose. Teach them that they are not a victim of circumstance. Acknowledge that their differences are superpowers. The rest of the world just hasn’t caught up to them yet!
Show them that they have the power to teach others how they want to be treated.
Trans kids can be the change they want to see in the world. Support them on this journey!
Remember that change can bring empowerment and strength.
Living as transgender can bring empowerment and strength in monumental proportion.
Think back on something you are most proud of – was it easy? Probably not. Many of our most powerful moments and greatest accomplishments were born out of towering obstacles or deepest sorrows or big changes. Naturally, parents want to spare their children from discomfort of any kind. What if that were actually possible? How would they learn to be strong? How could they be constantly pushed to expand their own potential?
Hold on to the truth that transgender people live normal lives just like people who are not transgender.
I know many transgender people who have come out, transitioned, overcome obstacles, and went on to become successful leaders, speakers, advocates for minority communities, while enjoying marriages and happy relationships. Transgender kids can grow up to be doctors, husbands, wives, partners, and ministers all while moving through life in their most authentic form. Listen to and learn from the stories of trans people!
Consciously and intentionally envision the life you want for your transgender child, not the life you are scared of. Imagine your transgender child happy.
As a newborn baby, you swaddled them. Never stop taking them into your arms– literally if they allow and metaphorically if they prefer more space. Your child or teen wants you to see them as genuinely as they see themselves. Celebrating their authenticity is the most precious gift!
These are some simple ways to support a gender non-conforming or trans child, teen or adult:
- Breathe and do not try to figure everything out at once. (Find tips on how to support someone when they come out here.)
- Let them experiment with their gender and gender expression. (If these terms are new, check out the Gender Unicorn for some definitions.)
- Use their correct names and pronouns.
- Praise them for expressing their authenticity.
- Act, speak, and live in way that shows them they belong.
- Have faith and focus that they can be transgender and live happy lives.
If this blog post has resonated with you, here is a similar post that may provide further clarity.
I am a life coach and help parents of transgender children and teens navigate their personal journey and gain understanding so they can best support their child. I help break transition down into manageable pieces so parents can go from feeling overwhelmed to empowered. I provide resources and support and give parents a safe space to prioritize self-care and process their own obstacles, guilt-free. How parents “show up” for their child is imperative to a transgender child’s well-being. Parents are in a unique position to teach their child how to turn differences into superpowers!
If you would like more information, check out my life coaching website or join my Facebook group for resources and notifications for upcoming group coaching and support groups. Or, stay connected by following Out and Proud Life Coaching LLC on Facebook!
*Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash