Parenting a Trans/Non-binary kiddo? Do You Have the Tools to Take Care of Yourself Too?
Having a trans or non-binary kid could shake up your world, even for the most accepting parent because we live in a society that does not understand gender diversity. When a kid tells a parent they are exploring their gender or know their gender is different than their assigned sex, mst parents deal with whole host of feelings including fear, loss, and confusion. These emotions must be acknowledged and processed to some degree; they´re not going to disappear automatically.
This is why we consider Phase 3 of the parent gender journey so important for everyone’s overall wellbeing. Phase 3 is the Gender Healing phase, and sadly many parents initially ignore this one because they are so intently focused on their kid, especially if their child is in crisis. Yet, we can’t highlight this enough…
It’s imperative that you take some healing time for yourself and put your own mask on first! If you can’t find time for this important self care, it will be very hard to show up fully for your kid and your family while navigating this gender journey
So, let’s talk about some practical strategies.
Coming to a place of acceptance is an important first step.
Acceptance challenges the first impulse which is often to deny the situation. Acceptance doesn’t mean you need to co-sign anything that comes along. On a basic level it is accepting that gender diversity is an issue your kid and family are dealing with, and ultimately coming to accept what is truly authentic for your kid. The data on wellbeing for gender diverse kids and families shows very clearly that acceptance is protection, not only for your kiddo but for you too.
Studies also show that most transgender people spend years dealing with feelings of incongruence while living with their assigned gender before ever letting someone else know about it. Most likely this is also true for your kid; although they may not have spent years grappling with this, it is highly unlikely that they suddenly woke up one day with the idea to change everything. Most kids have been privately trying to make sense of their experiences for some time before they ever came out to their parents. When they do come out, they are often giving their best shot at being authentic. There’s nothing wrong with your kid if they are exploring gender or affirming a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth. It’s important to remember, the situation is what it is and the best mindset is to be affirming and learn more about gender, gender diversity, and authentic embodiment.
Socially accepted narratives could contribute to your confusion.
When you first found out about your kid’s exploration, you likely turned to the internet for immediate information. With some luck, you were able to find good scientific studies and accurate information, but most of what you will find, especially now, are ill-intentioned narratives meant to scare the crap out of you and are blatantly false. So make sure that you get your information from responsible sources.
Watch out for negative self talk and negative interpretations of the situation.
Your kid is another beautiful manifestation of the diversity of nature, similar to the experience of having a different hair color. True, it doesn’t help to deny the challenges a trans or non-binary person faces. Still, it’s more healing to interpret the situation as an excellent opportunity to show how much you love your kid, and as an opportunity to learn and grow, than to convince yourself that this is a horrible situation or a curse. Keep your thoughts in check; are you going down a negative path? Stop, rewind, and refocus as needed.
Take time to take care of yourself.
Exercising and following a healthy diet will help exponentially in caring for your emotional and physical health; an essential component for a positive life. Nature has a way of helping us reset our nervous systems, so even a brief 20-minute walk in the park can do the trick.
It’s not a coincidence that ancient and very wise cultures have taught about the benefits of disciplines that involve a mind-body connection like yoga or qi-gong and others that disconnect from the mind chatter to enter a relaxed state of pure consciousness with tools like breathwork and meditation. The benefits are enormous and can help you differentiate what matters from the difficult life conditions.
Please remember that you´re not alone and that the power of a community of parents and specialists who understand and support you is crucial.
Being in a safe environment where you can express your feelings and get clarity is a calming force that will help you work through struggle points and move toward seeing things in a positive light. It’s such a relief to not have to figure it all out by yourself. Whatever the phase of the gender journey you’re in and the decisions you are facing, there are other parents who have been down this road and truly understand what you’re experiencing. Finding a group of parents also on this journey is invaluable, they often provide sage advice and loads of emotional support.
Don’t go it alone! We are better together!
If you´re interested in learning more about the TransFamily Alliance or joining our community of parents and benefiting from our many resources,
click here: https://www.transfamilyalliance.com/support-community/