Helping Your Transgender Teen
The gender norms in America have evolved, as gender is no longer considered a simple binary term. Rather gender is currently viewed as a spectrum with people identifying and expressing varying degrees of both femininity and masculinity. Although transgender youth are young people that do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, they do identify along this spectrum. Allowing a safe space for your teenager to discover their true gender identity is crucial. Encouraging this can help a young person develop a healthy self-esteem and improve self-confidence. Adolescence is an extremely confusing time, filled with many physiological changes. As a parent, it is essential to bear in mind that being transgender is not a phase, nor is it something your child will grow out of. Teens go through incredible transformation throughout adolescence, and the support of a parent can make a huge difference in a young person’s experience.
What You Can Do
Research has indicated that external gender-affirming behavior can greatly improve a teenager’s overall well-being and mental health. Below are several tips to help you support your trans teenager:
- Arm yourself with knowledge and backup: learn as much as you can about transgender people. For example, transgender youth has been found to be at an increased risk of suicide when compared to non-transgender peers, due to being the target of bullying, rejection and/ or other victimization related to identifying as trans. Furthermore, knowing where to turn if you need more assistance can help you, as the parent, feel more confident in your ability to adequately support your child.
- Advocate for your child: when encountered with trans phobia, stand up to it and request others respect your child’s identity.
- School: learn what your child’s school can do to support and affirm your child and request they do it.
- Pronouns and names: always use the name and pronoun that align with your child’s gender identity.
- Unconditional love: make sure your child knows they have your unconditional love.
Gender identity is integral to one’s sense of self and greatly informs the way one engages in the external world. Accepting your teen as they are, without trying to change them can be invaluable to their mental and emotional health.
For Information and Support
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.