Transitioning is not a singular experience. When one person transitions, everyone around them transitions. When you’re not expecting it, it could blindside you – especially if it’s your own child. But trust us, you don’t have to be scared. It’s a transformative experience watching someone’s true self emerge, and instead of being terrified of messing it up – celebrate! Here are three tips for how to handle your child’s transition.
1) Be honest about pronouns
Until it’s in your face, you might not think about pronouns being different than the ones your child was assigned with. Don’t let this slip you up! Have an honest heart-to-heart talk with your child. Let them know that you want to support them, and let them take the lead. Sometimes people in transition will not have all the answers, and it could be tough for them to talk about. Let them be honest with you, and support them even in their indecision.
2) Take some time to learn
The more you know about what’s going on, the more prepared you’ll be for when it comes up. Learn about the transitioning experience, and talk about it with your child. Some learning topics are binders/gaffs, gender reassignment surgery, trans pop culture, and trans history. The extra effort will impress your child, and normalize their experience in your own home.
3) Find your own community
Your child will want to find people just like them to share their experience, why shouldn’t you? There are many options out there for parents to find community while their children transition. You’ll be able to discuss tough topics, and get real tips and advise from people who have done this. You might even have someone you could call when things get really rough, and you NEED someone to talk to.
There are a host of literary resources for parents of transitioning children from manuals on trans law to autobiographies. Here’s a good list from transyouthequality.org.