If your child has recently expressed to you that he or she feels "born into the wrong body" and would like to transition to the opposite gender, you may be wondering where to turn for help in guiding this process. You are likely also concerned about your child becoming a bullying victim, and could use some assistance in finding resources that can help your child cope with any mistreatment he or she may experience while undergoing this transition.
Fortunately, there are now a number of experienced clinical psychologists who can help your child (and your family) adjust to these changes and go on to lead a healthy, happy life:
What types of guidance should you be seeking for your child?
Many parents who are faced with the thought of a transgendered child write these thoughts off as "just a phase." However, some trans children have been able to identify their true gender as early as 5 years old. Because there is still a vast amount of cultural misunderstanding when it comes to trans youth, your child will need some help coming to terms with what a change in gender identity will mean, both now and in the future.
A clinical psychologist who is experienced in treating gender identity issues in children will be able to help your child sort through his or her thoughts regarding the transition, as well as identify goals for the future and practice coping mechanisms for any rude encounters or bullying.
You'll also need to decide whether to use hormonal treatment to delay the onset of puberty of your child's biological gender. Depending upon the age at which your child asserts his or her gender identity, delaying puberty (and ultimately taking hormones to trigger puberty of the self-identified gender) may be the best option to avoid a hormone-fueled identity crisis. Your child's psychologist will be able to review the psychological benefits to (and consequences of) this choice to help your child come to the right decision.
Will your family also need treatment?
This situation can bring with it a number of conflicting emotions for you as a parent. You may be proud of your child for asserting his or her identity even in the face of societal discrimination and misunderstanding. You may also be worried about your child's future, or mourning the loss of certain plans you held (as helping your daughter shop for a wedding dress now becomes helping your son pick out a tux).
Family counseling can help you, your spouse, and your child's siblings come to terms with this decision and develop your own coping mechanisms (as well as help you understand your child's journey and be responsive to his or her feelings throughout). for more help, try contacting a company such as Sojourn Wellness Group Therapy with any questions you have.