Thank you for your heartfelt responses and appreciation of the blog, ‘ From Blue to Pink…’ This is in light of the fact that parents too need support and understanding. I look back and realize that I was as much a hostage to this as she was. I hope this helps some parents to avoid that.
1.You will never get back the hours this will occupy in your thoughts, do not lose yourself to it.
2. Avoid the arguments, they have rehearsed it in their head and come at you armed. A genuine question that throws them off or ‘leave that with me, it deserves a thoughtful response’ is better than giving them a soapbox.
3. Your job is to prepare them to be happy in the world as adults. If you are meeting their needs, great! What they want is not the same as what they need.
4. Happy well adjusted adults rarely had best friends for parents.
5. Presumably you work hard and sacrifice a lot for your child (seems to be those of us this happens to). Set a good example for when they are parents and claim your right to respect and happiness.
6. However much they sound authoritative they have learnt a script online. Hold on to your common sense and do not be bullied into what you do not believe to be true.
7. This is very tough for you, this is trauma. Avoid the sharks and swim for the dolphins, a small core of support is needed to keep you functioning and well.
8. Life hurts but sometimes we learn our best lessons there. Avoiding all hurts for your child means they miss opportunities to learn. Be empathic but honest. Trans is not a magic wand.
9. Build their self esteem in positive ways. Celebrate all that is wonderful about what they do. Concrete praise – they will not receive ‘good’ anything well right now. Better to say, ‘I like the way you tidied….’
10. Trans is not the whole of your child. Work hard, and it is hard, to see everything else around it.,
It is easy in today’s world to think your child hating you is the worst thing that could happen. It is easy when they are taking all their issues out on you to feel that way. To look at other seemingly perfect families and ‘together’ kids and think you failed. You didn’t but this event can make you stop enjoying your child or make you parent like a hostage, the Trans effect takes you prisoner and gives your teenager great power in the family dynamic.
I feared losing my daughter the most, but in the end told her I could only parent her to my best abilities and values. I told her I had researched, thought, talked and decided I could no more support her in this than in dropping out of school or tattooing a lucky number on her chin. Then I dropped it all. If she wore a nice colour I said so. If she announced dramatically, ‘oh another day in school in a skirt pretending I am not who I am’, I ignored it.
Boy/Girl lost its relevance in my head, it had to, for my sanity. I focused on the type of person she was growing up to be and how well equipped for life. I realized I was shrinking as a person and my life was being dominated. I accepted she could do nothing permanent without my support until she left my care. Even going to the GP required a lift.
Finally, as with all things, I told myself, this too will pass.