For transgender youth, gender-affirming therapy can be a lifesaving intervention. It is a form of therapy that seeks to help those questioning their gender identity explore their feelings and conclude that their gender identity is right for them. This type of therapy can help transgender youth feel more comfortable in their own skin and can reduce the risk of suicide and other mental health problems.
However, when divorced parents don’t agree on whether or not their child should receive gender-affirming therapy, it can create a difficult situation. For example, if one parent is supportive of their child’s gender identity and the other parent has concerns or is outright opposed to their child being transgender, it can be tough to come to a resolution that everyone can agree on. However, there are a few things that divorced parents can do to try to come to an agreement about their child’s gender-affirming therapy, even if they don’t see eye to eye on the issue. This includes:
- Talking to a therapist or counselor who works with transgender youth and their families: Before signing your child up for therapy, it might be helpful for both parents to come together and talk to a therapist or counselor who works with transgender youth and their families. Share your observations about your child with the therapist and ask any questions about gender-affirming therapy. This can help both of you better understand what the therapy entails and whether or not it is right for your child. Because this is a topic presented to parents who may not have any prior knowledge about transgender issues, it is important to be as informed as possible before making any decisions.
- Putting your child’s needs first: It is important to remember that your child’s needs should be your primary concern. If they have raised their hand to flag something wrong, then it is your responsibility as a parent to listen and try to understand what they are going through. It can be difficult to put aside your personal beliefs about gender and sexuality, but it is important to do what is best for your child. Therapy can be a solid first step in helping them to understand their gender identity and figure out what they want for their future.
- Getting support from other parents of transgender children: It can be helpful to reach out to other parents of transgender children for support and advice. Many online forums and support groups are available, or you can even ask your child’s therapist for recommendations. Talking to other parents who have been through this experience can help you feel less alone and give you some helpful insights into how to best support your child.
- Trying to reach a compromise: If you and your ex-spouse struggle to agree to your child’s gender-affirming therapy, it might be helpful to try to reach a compromise. For example, you could agree to start with one therapy session to see how your child responds and go from there. Alternatively, you might decide to allow your child to start therapy with the understanding that they can stop at any time if they feel like it is not helpful. It is important to remember that, ultimately, this decision should be up to your child and not forced upon them by either parent. Any parent feeling on the fence about gender-affirming therapy should stay in constant communication with the therapist conducting the sessions to ensure that their child is making progress and is comfortable with the process.
Q: Are There Any Dangers Associated With Gender-Affirming Therapy?
A: While there is no definitive answer to this question, some experts believe that gender-affirming therapy can benefit transgender children and adolescents by giving them a sense of support and validation. Critics of gender-affirming therapy argue that it can confuse young people and lead them down a path of transition that they may later regret. However, there is no way to know whether gender-affirming therapy is right for your specific child without talking to a professional and getting their input.
Q: What if My Child Does Not Want to Go to Therapy?
A: If your child is resistant to therapy, it might be helpful to talk to them about why you think it could be beneficial. It is also important to respect their wishes if they do not want to go to therapy. Ultimately, the decision should be up to your child and not forced upon them by either parent.
Q: How Do I Know if My Child Is Transgender?
A: There is no one answer to this question, as each child’s experience is unique. However, there are some common signs that may indicate that your child is transgender, such as expressing a strong desire to be the opposite gender, feeling uncomfortable in their own skin, or exhibiting behavior that is not typically associated with their assigned gender. Because children might not have the language yet to express their transgender identity, it is important to pay close attention to their behavior and listen to what they say. If you are concerned that your child might not get the support they need to express their gender identity, you might consider seeking a professional therapist or counselor who can help.
Q: How Do I Support My Transgender Child?
A: There is no one right answer to this question, as every transgender child is different and will need different levels of support. However, some general things you can do to support your transgender child include listening to them, respecting their wishes, and helping them to find resources and information about gender identity. Like any challenge your child faces, it is important to be there for them and offer your love and support.
Overall, it is important to remember that gender-affirming therapy is a highly personal decision that the child and their parents should make after careful consideration. If you have reached a point where you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, it might be helpful to seek out the assistance of a Columbia, MO, family law attorney to sort through the legal issues and help you resolve them.