You were raised on gender reveal parties. Blue represented a boy and pink indicated a girl.
Barbies, dolls, ribbons, and bows were for girls. Meanwhile, trucks, Legos, superheroes, and monsters were for boys.
But the world isn’t just filled with pink or blue or black or white anymore. There are a lot of grey areas too.
The world has come a long way, but there’s still more we can do to break down the social stigma that was built throughout the years. More individuals are fighting for what they believe in.
This is how you can support kids who may be questioning their gender identity.
Create and Safe and Open Space for Them
As a parent, you should want what’s best for them no matter what. This means allowing them to express themselves and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.
Allow your child to play with all types of age-appropriate toys. Let them pick out their own toys that interest them. Make sure your child knows that both boys and girls can play with dolls and cars. You can take this a step further by letting them pick out their own clothes. No color should be off-limits.
Don’t Try to Change Them
Having a child question their gender identity may be something you were hoping you wouldn’t have to ever deal with. It’s normal to feel caught off guard or even a little sad that your baby is questioning who they are. That being said, they’re still your child and you still want what’s best for them. You need to make sure you’re validating your own emotions but also making sure you’re respecting them in the process. Long story short: don’t try to change them. Consider how you would feel if someone tried to change how you are. Maintain a positive relationship with your child just by showing up and being there for them. If changing their gender allows them to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled, what parent wouldn’t want that?
Do Your Own Research
Take the time to research on your own. Educate yourself on the LGBTQIA+ community. Read books, studies, and statistics. You can also seek additional content from support groups or organizations that work with LGBTQIA+ youth. Take the time to learn more about the community and what you can do to help support your child moving forward.
Encourage Them to Make Friends Within the LGBTQIA+ Community
Encourage your child to explore different groups and make friends who may be feeling the same way. You can sign them up for support groups, and camps, or set up playdates with other LGBTQIA+ children in your neighborhood, school, or community.
These groups are also a great way for you to chat with other parents about what they may be doing to help support their children who may also be questioning their gender identity.
Seek Additional Support
It’s okay to not have all of the answers. Seeking additional support is completely acceptable. Reaching out for help actually proves how much you truly care and want what’s best for your child. Encourage them to attend therapy. Growing up and navigating and finding yourself can be a difficult task, especially if you’re going against the norm. Your child may be experiencing bullying or feeling like they don’t belong or fit in with their friends or classmates.
A therapist can be a great way to help your child navigate this time in their life. A therapist will be able to work with them to help them determine how they’re really thinking and feeling. You can also seek support for yourself from a therapist to make sure you’re showing up for them in the most effective way.