As a mom, you always want the best for your kids, no matter what.
You can’t always protect them from the ugliness in the world but you can give them unwavering support and show them that you’ll always love them.
If you have a child who is transgender, then you may be struggling with some complicated feelings.
The good news is that simply wanting to support and advocate for your child will be hugely beneficial in helping them to navigate the challenges that come along with any transition.
It’s totally normal to feel uncertain and scared about the road ahead. You might not know exactly how to support your child and transgender youth as a whole.
Fortunately, there are lots of resources available. Here’s a guide for getting started:
Become an Inclusion Advocate
Showing your support means speaking up and advocating for transgender youth in all contexts.
Sadly, children and teens who are transgender often face exclusion from certain activities or bullying if they choose to participate.
Inclusion is important for allowing students to live a normal, healthy, and happy life.
Transgender youth often struggle in sports, clubs, and youth groups due to a lack of understanding and tolerance among their mentors and peers, if they are allowed to participate at all.
You can become an inclusion advocate by fighting for not only the right to participate but also the right to be fully included.
Often, that means pushing for education and inclusion training for coaches, teachers, and other youth leaders.
Be Open and Willing to Listen
You aren’t going to become an expert on transgender youth issues immediately. That’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. But you do have to be open and willing to listen on an ongoing basis.
Don’t try to show your support by telling transgender youth what they are feeling – actively listen to them and learn from their experiences.
Don’t shut them down and tell them they’re wrong; think about what they’re saying carefully before you respond and validate their feelings.
It’s tempting to learn everything you can from experts and to impose those views onto the transgender youth in your life.
But even though your heart might be in the right place, you need to realize that expert opinions should only form the foundation of your understanding and opinion.
Always be willing to learn and change your mind if need be. True support involves listening and centering the discussions around transgender youth, not yourself and your own feelings.
Have Strategies for Managing Anxiety Attacks
Although coming out as transgender can be a huge relief, it can also be a huge source of stress. It isn’t easy dealing with a world that is often hostile to trans individuals and the process can cause a lot of anxiety and mental health stress.
This is especially true for transgender youth, who are still in the process of shaping their identity and learning how to navigate the world.
As a mom, you should anticipate that your transgender child might experience anxiety attacks. It’s a good idea to proactively learn about the signs of anxiety in teens and strategies for dealing with it.
You might want to think about practicing meditation, yoga, and deep breathing together to give your child the tools they need to cope with anxiety when it arises.
You might also want to provide access to a mental health professional if you see your child struggling with anxiety.
Take the Time to Learn and Educate Yourself
In supporting transgender youth, it’s important not to make assumptions, whether about your child or transgender individuals in general.
You can only become a helpful and supportive advocate by constantly learning, seeking out resources, and equipping yourself with information.
You need to be prepared to confidently step up and speak out in defense of transgender youth when needed.
As a mom, you are driven by love and strong maternal instincts. You owe it to yourself and your child to learn as much as you can about issues surrounding transgender youth.
Transitioning is hard. Even in our modern world, transgender youth face an uphill battle toward acceptance.
As a mom, you can make it easier by walking uphill beside them and letting them know that you’re there for them, no matter what.