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(1hls lnformaLlon applles Lo all Lypes of relaLlonshlps wlLh chlldren, noL [usL parenL/chlld
relaLlonshlps.)

ÞarenLs have a very powerful role Lo play ln a gender-expanslve youLh's llfe. 8esearch has
shown LhaL supporLlve parenLlng can slgnlflcanLly affecL our chlldren's poslLlve ouLlook on Lhelr
llves, Lhelr menLal healLh and Lhelr self-esLeem. Cn Lhe oLher hand, re[ecLlng parenLlng
pracLlces are dlrecLly correlaLed Lo gender-expanslve and Lransgender youLh belng more
depressed and sulcldal. 8esearch sLudles show LhaL Lhe mosL cruclal Lhlng we as parenLs can do
ls Lo allow our chlldren Lo be exacLly who Lhey are. (1ransÞulse Þro[ecL, lamlly AccepLance
Þro[ecL).

Lvery famlly ls unlque, wlLh dlfferenL famlly dynamlcs, as well as culLural, soclal, and rellglous
lnfluences. Some famllles have Lo conslder Lhelr chlld's physlcal safeLy ln Lhelr communlLles
more Lhan oLhers, buL all famllles have Lo welgh Lhe effecLs of Lhelr parenLlng approach on Lhelr
chlld's long Lerm psychologlcal well-belng.

WhaL are supporLlve parenLlng pracLlces?

SupporLlve parenLlng pracLlces sLrengLhen a chlld's self-esLeem and sense of self-worLh. Whlle
some of Lhe parenLlng pracLlces dlscussed ln Lhls secLlon may be challenglng for some parenLs
Lo lmplemenL, lL ls lmporLanL Lo Lake whaLever sLeps you can Lo demonsLraLe Lo your chlld LhaL
you are wlLh Lhem on Lhls [ourney.

CreaLe a supporLlve famlly envlronmenL: 1he ablllLy Lo make Lhe home a sancLuary of securlLy
and supporL for your chlld ls Lhe slngle mosL lmporLanL facLor ln promoLlng llfelong healLh and
well-belng for your chlld. Such an envlronmenL creaLes a buffer for your chlld from Lhe
hardshlps Lhey may face ouLslde of Lhe home. CreaLlng such a space may noL come easlly for
you, parLlcularly lf you are sLruggllng wlLh accepLlng your chlld's gender ldenLlLy or expresslon.
lf so, seek help from an empaLheLlc, knowledgeable LheraplsL.

8equlre respecL wlLhln Lhe famlly: WlLh lmmedlaLe and exLended famlly, lL ls lmperaLlve LhaL
you requlre and accepL only klndness and respecL for your chlld. Whlle you may noL be able Lo
change people's oplnlons, you can cerLalnly dlcLaLe how you expecL oLhers Lo behave and speak
around you and your chlld. lL can be scary Lo make Lhls demand of famlly members yeL many
parenLs reporL LhaL once Lhey've Laken a sLand on Lhelr chlld's behalf, Lhey feel a greaL sense of
rellef and empowermenL.

Lxpress love and supporL for your chlld's gender expresslon: WhaL does Lhls look llke? lL means
allowlng Lhem Lo choose, wlLhouL pressure or unspoken messages, Lhe cloLhes Lhey wlsh Lo
wear, how and wlLh whom Lhey play, Lhelr favorlLe Loys, Lhe accessorles Lhey favor, Lhe manner
ln whlch Lhey wear Lhelr halr, and Lhe decoraLlons and lmages wlLh whlch Lhey surround
Lhemselves. lL means helplng Lhem prepare for any negaLlve reacLlons Lhey may encounLer
ouLslde Lhe home by pracLlclng Lhelr responses wlLh Lhem and maklng sure, when approprlaLe,

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LhaL Lhere ls a safe adulL for Lhem Lo Lurn Lo ln case Lhey need asslsLance. lL means dlscusslng
any negaLlve or confllcLlng feellngs you are sLruggllng wlLh over Lhelr gender ldenLlLy or
expresslon wlLh oLher adulLs, noL wlLh your chlld.

Allow zero Lolerance for dlsrespecL, negaLlve commenLs or pressure: A concreLe way Lo
demonsLraLe ongolng supporL and accepLance for your chlld ls Lo LoleraLe absoluLely no
negaLlve commenLs abouL your chlld, from anyone, wheLher your chlld ls wlLh you or noL. 1hls
means followlng up wlLh Lhe people who make such commenLs ln a flrm way LhaL makes clear
your commlLmenL Lo your chlld's well-belng. lL may also mean needlng Lo follow up wlLh oLher
parenLs or Lhe school abouL Lhe commenLs made by oLher parenLs or chlldren.

MalnLaln open and honesL communlcaLlon wlLh your chlld: SLay open abouL Lhls [ourney, boLh
your chlld's, and your own. 8y demonsLraLlng Lo Lhem LhaL you are a parLner ln Lhls process,
and showlng a genulne sense of lnqulslLlveness abouL how Lhey see Lhemselves, whaL Lhey
Lhlnk, whaL Lhey are experlenclng, you show LhaL you are Lhere for Lhem. 1hls open level of
communlcaLlon wlll also help you know your chlld's level of sLress or dlsLress, and wheLher Lhey
may need addlLlonal ouLslde supporL or lnLervenLlon.

WhaL are re[ecLlng parenLlng pracLlces?

8e[ecLlng behavlors undermlne a chlld's self-esLeem and feellngs of self-worLh. lL should noL be
surprlslng LhaL many of Lhe chlldren who end up ln Lhe fosLer care sysLem, run away, or become
homeless are gender-expanslve and Lransgender, re[ecLed aL home, Lhey flnd Lhemselves wlLh
few opLlons for supporL. 8efuslng Lo accepL one's chlld as Lhey are and behavlng ln an unklnd,
punlLlve, or dlsrespecLful manner communlcaLes Lo your chlld a lack of value or worLh. As you
read Lhe llsL below, Lry Lo also have compasslon Loward yourself. MosL, lf noL all, parenLs have
employed Lhese pracLlces aL one Llme or anoLher. WhaL ls lmporLanL ls Lo commlL Lo
communlcaLe your love and supporL for your chlld from Lhls polnL forward. We can only sLarL
from where we are.

Þhyslcal or verbal abuse: Cne of Lhe mosL damaglng Lhlngs you can do ls verbally or physlcally
abuse your chlld. lL won'L geL Lhem Lo change, and lL places Lhem aL a far greaLer rlsk of sulclde.
Lven lf you have Lhe feellngs lnLernally, work Lo keep Lhem Lhere, raLher Lhan ouLwardly
demonsLraLlng your sLruggle Lo your chlld.

Lxcluslon from famlly acLlvlLles: 1he urge Lo avold belng embarrassed by your gender-expanslve
chlld may noL seem blaLanL Lo you, buL lL sends a message of shame and lmplles core change ls
requlred ln order Lo be a member of Lhe famlly. lnslsLlng your chlld ºdress properly" or ºacL
normally" makes your chlld feel LhaL Lhe comforL of oLhers Lrumps Lhelr own sense of well-
belng and securlLy.

8locklng access Lo supporLlve frlends or acLlvlLles: ÞrevenLlng your chlld from seelng gender-
expanslve frlends and allles or parLlclpaLlng ln LC81C acLlvlLles wlll only generaLe a sense of

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lsolaLlon and slgnlflcanLly lncrease rlsk facLors. 8locklng your chlld's access noL only cuLs Lhem
off from a crlLlcal supporL sysLem, lL also sLlgmaLlzes oLher people llke your chlld.

8lamlng Lhe chlld for Lhe dlscrlmlnaLlon Lhey face: Saylng LhaL a chlld deserves Lhe
mlsLreaLmenL Lhey encounLer slmply for belng who Lhey are ls lncredlbly dangerous, an lmpllclL
message LhaL Lhey are Lo blame for Lhe cruelLy of oLhers.

uenlgraLlon and rldlcule: When you speak or LreaL your chlld wlLh dlsrespecL, or allow oLhers Lo,
lL shows Lhem LhaL Lhey cannoL counL on you for Lhe love and proLecLlon Lhey desperaLely
need.

8ellglous-based condemnaLlon: 1elllng a chlld LhaL Cod wlll punlsh Lhem greaLly lncreases
healLh and menLal healLh rlsks, and can remove a vlLal source of solace.

ulsLress, denlal, and shame: When a chlld sees LhaL Lhey are causlng you greaL dlsLress and
shame, Lhey lnLernallze Lhls pressure. lL ls damaglng Lo openly communlcaLe your denlal of Lhelr
gender ldenLlLy or expresslon.

Sllence and Secrecy: lnslsLlng your chlld remaln sllenL abouL Lhelr gender ldenLlLy or expresslon
Lells Lhem LhaL Lhere ls someLhlng lnherenLly wrong Lhem, and LhaL Lhey wlll never flnd
accepLance.

Þressure Lo enforce gender conformlLy: Lven when moLlvaLed by a deslre Lo proLecL your chlld,
asklng Lhem Lo mask who Lhey are lndlcaLes Lhere ls someLhlng fundamenLally wrong wlLh Lhe
chlld.