Making friends and playmates is more than just a childhood rite of passage. There is no capable manual to dictate the gender a child should interact with. The child may feel more chilled out when interacting with peers of similar gender or even opposite. Suffice it to say humans are social species. However, the question that deserves attention is; how do we support our transgender loved ones?
We live in a society where schools, churches, and other social spaces presume outdated notions such as all children fit into gender norms based on anatomy. Such presumptions have prompted some loved ones to feel alienated while others are socio-emotionally affected. For those asking what is transgender, keep reading.
What is transgender, how does a transgender child look like?
Children may describe themselves as transgender when their sex at birth does not match how they feel or think about their gender. Again this should not be misconstrued as gayism or lesbianism—a transgender child can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, queer, or anything. But one thing notable is the child may experience gender dysphoria (a discomfort attributable to their physical bodies not aligning with their internal sense of gender. Most transgender children know quite well they are of the opposite gender. Males especially are more keen on their gender differences and can’t fake out themselves anymore. Meanwhile transgender people have existed since the dawn of the century within a wide range of cultures, it’s not a bizarre occurrence if a boy child feels trapped in opposite gender's body.
How can parents and teachers care for transgender males?
While more research is still underway, certain parental practices, including ABA approaches, can help cut down the risk of a child's depression or suicide attempts. Best ABA practices include;
While neurological research on transgender people is still underway, certain practices such as modeling can teach the male child how to normalize their transgender expression and acknowledge their uniqueness. Conversely, certain impairment may arise due to their gender suppression. Modeling enables the boy child to learn how to respond to certain behaviors—such as fears or frustrations. The child is encouraged to watch a short film that portrays a 5-year-old boy overcoming and withdrawing from his fear of female gender identity. It's no secret that children who are exposed to modelling and positive reinforcers are more likely to have improved mental health than those neglected. Moreover, the modeling approach has been proven effective, with numerous studies showing that watching violence in movies increases children's aggressive behavior.
Parents can help their loved ones with self-management interventions such as gender transition, appropriate clothes matching their internal feeling, changing names, or even changing haircuts. Additional tips involve teaching the child how to handle situations where erroneous interpretations have occurred, particularly if a friend does not comprehend differences in their gender and sexual identity.
Again, as a parent you want to take more time to educate and keep yourself posted. Relate to the boy child as you would with any typical human, and at some point allow the child to be the expert. Ask the child what they would like to have. If they want appropriate friends, try to create an opportunity for them to meet other children like themselves.
Giving the child some enthusiasm and encouragement to not apologize for their identity is the key to growth. We want to encourage the male child to come out and engage with people without making apologies for their gender orientation. The child should feel empowered and will be able to engage more authentically. Moreover, it's desirable to help the child identify their strengths, talents, or skills. That way, the whole conversation of gender becomes a minor problem. It's absolutely frowned upon to let the entire talk based on gender dominate in any situation. Try to have fun with the child during the Christmas holidays, dinner, etc. Be a positive, motivating light in your loved ones lives.
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