How do I explain puberty to my transgender child?

Kim - posted on 04/13/2012 ( 166 moms have responded )

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My daughter has just turned 10 and for the past couple of years she is certain that she is a boy, won't wear any girls things, wld like to have a penis and has said to me that she wishes she could go back to God and be born again as a boy. We struggled a bit at the start of the revelation, but have now come to "accept" it and let her dress the way she wants and have been trying to call her him etc, but some days there is uncertainty on both sides. The main reason I am posting is that at 10 I believe puberty is not far away and there has been slight breast development. We have discussed periods and I have tried to explain that although her brain knows she is a boy, her body is still set up like a girl and eventually it is going to have to be faced. I would really appreciate any suggestions/advice that may help us obtain an understanding that this may happen soon because I don't want there to be any massive shocks when it does happen, she already suffers from anxiety and has trichlotillomania (hair pulling), so I obviously don't want to increase any of these. Thank you

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Louise - posted on 04/13/2012

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Sorry I cant get my hear around this. You call your daughter a him and support the fact that she wants to be a him. At 10! Really! I am all for parental support but dont you think this is going to far. First things first counceling and guidance this is not normal at 10! Most children get these feelings around puberty but you say you have done this for a couple of years! Wow!

Your daughter needs help, there is nothing wrong with the transgender thing but she has to accept she is a woman and there is nothing you can do about that until later in life when she is fully grown. She is going to get periods, breasts and body hair like a woman. This is going to cause her a massive amount of stress if her family have already accepted her as a boy. Ring your doctors and ask to be referred to a medical expert in these matters that can guide you and your daughter through the mine field of puberty. She is very very young and has to know that just because she has chosen to live her childhood as a boy it does not mean that she has to live her adult life as a man. Hormones are strange things and disrupt even the girliest of girls.

If this was my child I would let her dress however she wanted that made her feel comfortable but she would still be refered to as my daughter, because that is who she is.

This is not a get at you, it really is not. I can see the pain and confusion this is going to cause as her friends develop into women and she is still very much the tom boy. It is a hard life she is choosing for herself. Being different as a teenager is a life of bullying and ridicule, whether it is over sexual preference, colour of skin or financial capabilities.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/13/2012

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WOW! You impress the hell out of me! Way to go momma! Love to hear stories of complete support of their children in situations like this. I am not sure that I can offer any advice. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. Just keep explaining it to him. Have you tried counseling for him to help sort through the emotions? It may help during puberty to have an experts help on this circumstance. It is a tricky one, especially since he is already having anxiety. What a confusing time in any childs life. I truly wish you the best of luck! And once again, great job momma!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/13/2012

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Laura, being transgender is not about hating yourself. It is knowing who you are really suppose to be. People who are transgender were literally born into the wrong body. It is not about trying to "fix" them to love their bodies. It is like telling someone who is gay, just not to be. That they don't have to be attracted to the same sex, and to try to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex. I hope that makes sense.

If anything, the hormone therapy that HE would get, would be male hormones to prevent normal female puberty from happening, or at least delaying it.

Krista - posted on 04/14/2012

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People, please keep in mind that this is not the case of a girl being a "tomboy". A tomboy simply enjoys boyish activities and attire. Gender noncomformity simply means that you do not wish to fit in with the stereotypical characteristics of your gender. A "tomboy", however boyish in appearance or activities, will still mentally self-identify as female.

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. So if each and every one of you magically woke up tomorrow morning, and had a man's body instead of a woman's, you would still feel female. Your brain, your spirit, everything conscious would be yelling, "But I'm a woman!"

That is how transgender individuals feel -- that they were born into the wrong body. It is very real, and to deny it, or brush it aside or to try to pray it away...all that does is increase the child's sense of being completely alone in the world, with nobody who understands.

Kim, have you looked into PFLAG? There will be other parents of trans kids there who can help you and support you, and who will actually be educated and informed on this topic.

Chrystal - posted on 04/13/2012

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First of all I would like to say you are doing a great job it's so wonderful to see parents willing to put aside their own perception of who their child is in order to let to the child figure that out for themselves. If you haven't already I'd really suggest trying to find a psychologist and doctor that have experience with transgender individuals especially children. They can help you and your child get through puberty and make choices on how to do that. It is possible for your child to go through female or male puberty each having it's own set of risks physically, socially, and psychologically. Trained professionals are the best to help with making those choices that are best for your child both now and in the future. No matter the choices your child will need support through puberty because it is more challenging for them. http://www.genderspectrum.org/ this site may be of help to you in answering some questions and finding resources on your journey. You are doing a wonderful job as a parent and it'll help keep your child from some of the horrible fates so many transgenders have had because they didn't have that kind of love and support. I wish the best for you all

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Justin - posted on 08/25/2016

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I am transgender. I'm ftm (fem to male) and boy do I wish I told my parents before. What I say is let them do what they want. If there's breast development, buy a chest binder if they want it. Is there dysphoria involved? (Dysphoria- distress with the body not being what they want it to be) if there is, I know how it feels and believe me it's horrible, it's like being trapped in a costume that you can never get out of. What I'm trying to say is, you need to always be there, there's nothing extreme that you can do until they're older.

Amy - posted on 08/25/2014

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I agree with a couple other people when they say it's one thing to accept it but I would definitely NOT encourage it. Sounds like she needs to be seeing a counselor on a regular basis. I went through a tomboy stage when I was young but it was just a stage. www.facebook.com/hannibalhealthcoach

Cara - posted on 11/10/2012

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I also have a transgendered son F2M (female to male) who is 11 and we are dealing with puperty now I wish I would have started earlier. I am also a board certified therapist with an extended Masters Degree in Colordo. I have worked with kids for 18 years in elementary schools. First I would like to say that you are dealing with this amazingly well. There is a grieving process for letting go the girl that you use to have but then you come around with realizing you now have a son! Even though transgendered is part of the LGBT community it is the least understood. There is a 50% suicide rate in the transgendered commune - 50%! You can see why with the negative comments that your question sparked. Would they say the same comments if your daughter knew she was gay? So stay strong, stay on the path that you are on and ignor the negative people they are usually just uneducated in this area. Amazing job mama!!!

Cara - posted on 11/10/2012

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I also have a transgendered son F2M (female to male) who is 11 and we are dealing with puperty now I wish I would have started earlier. I am also a board certified therapist with an extended Masters Degree in Colordo. I have worked with kids for 18 years in elementary schools. First I would like to say that you are dealing with this amazingly well. There is a grieving process for letting go the girl that you use to have but then you come around with realizing you now have a son! Even though transgendered is part of the LGBT community it is the least understood. There is a 50% suicide rate in the transgendered commune - 50%! You can see why with the negative comments that your question sparked. Would they say the same comments if your daughter knew she was gay? So stay strong, stay on the path that you are on and ignor the negative people they are usually just uneducated in this area. Amazing job mama!!!

Niketa - posted on 10/27/2012

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Hi, My name is Niki Bhatia and I am the author of a childrens book, PINK IS JUST A COLOR AND SO IS BLUE. It is about letting go of our old gender stereotypes about colors (pink and blue) and toys kids choose to play with. The main character is a little boy who is not too athleti and his best friend is a feisty little girl who is "tomboyish". Our ultimate goal is to assure that our kids grow upto be confident, productive individuals, without placing so much emphasis on color and toys when they are sooo young.



http://www.amazon.com/Pink-Just-Color-So...



Please pass it on to your friends and family...

Try - posted on 10/09/2012

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Since he's so prone to anxiety I would make sure every aspect of puberty is covered so nothing sneaks up on her. I would also point out that while her body's turning more and more female, there's still a long road ahead and she can become fully a man later - point out passable transmen (internet communities are full of them) and what ages they transitioned, so that she can see 'all is not lost'.



I would also be sure to tell her that if he ever decides he made a mistake and he really is a girl, he can tell you, no problem. Admitting you were wrong is hard for kids, and many preteens change their mind once they reach puberty. Let her know there's no shame in being a masculine girl,



You're doing a great job.



-A Fellow Transman

Laurel - posted on 06/05/2012

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You are a wonderful mother. Supporting and standing by your child is the best thing you could do. It's sad that people are so ignorant to the realities of what being transgender means. It's not about being a tomboy - it's about who you identify yourself to be. Keep doing what you're doing - it's so brave of you to post your story here to begin with. Ignore the negative feedback; people think everything is so simple - "go to church," "it's just a phase," etc. Don't let any of it get you down - your child is so lucky to have you as their mother. God Bless.

[deleted account]

From everything I've read here and other places on gender dysphoria in children, a significant number of children with this issue (far more than half) later decide that they are happy with their biological gender after all. So without being judgemental, I would encourage your daughter to dress and act however she feels comfortable, but I would not call her a boy or encourage her to believe that she is physically something that she's not. Especially since your daughter has other issues with the anxiety and hair-pulling, it sounds like she should see a therapist just for general counseling.

As for puberty, if you and your daughter and her doctors all believe puberty would cause extreme distress for her, then I guess I'd consider delaying it. But be sure you are aware of the risks and side effects associated with that. I've read that using blockers for a prolonged period can have negative effects on the musculoskeletal system. Remaining "gender neutral" as other children grow more obviously male or female will probably cause its own set of new problems and anxieties as well, and I would be sure to take that into consideration. I'm sure this is a very difficult situation for you and your daughter, and I wish you all the best of luck whatever decisions you make.

Hope - posted on 05/22/2012

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The only advice I can give you is keep loving your child, and get her/him into therapy. The anxiety and trichlotillomania are signs of a deeper illness that will, at some point, require treatment. You may find it's the best way to help her/him through puberty also, as a qualified therapist can more accurately deal with the feelings associated with being transgender. Good luck to you

Jodi - posted on 05/14/2012

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You are an amazing Mom! The only way to express the onset of puberty with your child is by being honest. I don't know what City you are in but many metropolitan areas offer support groups for transgender children and parents. Start with the local AIDS education center as they are often a hub for organizations that support children like your son and parents like you!

Helen - posted on 05/08/2012

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Wow! I thinnk you guys are doing an awesome job, and no, I do NOT think you are going too far. If this issue rises at 10, then that is the age to deal with it. Waiting till he/she is older, will only cause further cnfusion and stress for the chld and may be read as rejection. I do think counselling for the family is in order though. The soone the better.

Denise - posted on 05/01/2012

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Sounds like you've been given lots of great advise. I would definitely recommend psych therapy for your daughter. As she approaches puberty, her anxiety is going to get more intense. Possibly also maybe a group therapy program with kids her age. My son goes to group therapy for anxiety and it has helped him. Sometimes kids hearing other kids talk about issues in their lives makes their own not seem as bad. Plus they help each other. The kids don't feel so alone anymore.
There is a very good chance she could decide she wants to change sexes later in life. But things could also change once she hits teen years. Very hard to tell this early.
Keep supporting and loving your child. My prayers are with you both. A very difficult situation for both of you. Tween and teen years are stressful enough for kids, adding your child's feelings into the mix makes it even more stressful.

Tiffany - posted on 04/29/2012

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My opinion is to just be honest about puberty. First explain all the female fun that goes along with puberty. Then, after u let that set for a week or so explain what boys go threw. That way she understands both. I can imagine that this is hard for you and your daughter. The more you try to talk to her about her feelings the more you will understand what's going on inside her head. Puberty sucks for the kid and the parent! GOOD LUCK

MARGARET - posted on 04/26/2012

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When I was 10 I was the bigest tomboy on my bock wonted to be a boy so bad hung out with only boy played football and baseball biked with only boys did need a girls as my friend not kidding ask my mother why God made me a girl and can i change and my mother said well if you were a boy

you could not have baby and that didn't help but that all she said she did not call me him or say

when i get older i can change my body to be a boy and you know i grew out of it I am married with three boys of my own .. and very happy .... just let you know you are great mom and a very understanding mom just wonted to let you know that there are woman out there that felt like

her when i was 10 and it change after puberty i got a real big crush on a boy on the block that

i played all the sports with from when i was five so it might change and my mother told all us

girls at 10 about everthing any made sure we girls new that if we had any problems if we were

in trouble with anything to come home we can always come home.... I wish you the best of

luck and no matter girl or boy she your baby

Mary - posted on 04/20/2012

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Native Americans listen very carefully to what their children say, because they believe that children are closer to God and that God speaks through the children. They do not automatically dismiss what a child says as nonsense or apply their adult judgments and opinions of what they feel makes sense to a child's feelings or words. They also believe that 'all things are perfect' and are as they should be, according to God's plan. So if this is how this little girl feels then it is valid, and there isn't anything necessarily wrong with it aside from what society judges to be right and wrong. It is good that you are accepting of how she feels and allowing her to be herself-- this will help her immeasurably; however, perhaps referring to her as him might not be the best idea. Regardless of how she feels she is still a girl, and if you and she believe in God then I'm sure you believe that she is the way God intended her to be. This may be a way to approach this issue with her-- that she is perfect the way she is in God's eyes and even though she may not know the reason, there must be a reason that she came into this world a female. This may help her to accept herself and her life the way it is, in turn helping her through the difficulty of puberty and enabling her to move forward in her life in the female body she was given.

Angela - posted on 04/20/2012

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I think Susan's response was saying that she accepts this child's gender dysphoria could well be genuine but no stone should be left unturned in checking out any other factors that may be making her feel this way.

The parents and the medical people involved with this situation will no doubt be doing exactly that - wanting to alter one's gender is no walk in the park and for a very young person to state they've been born in the wrong body, every consideration should be made of anything else that may bring about this way of thinking. I'm sure the therapists and doctors don't take any of it lightly.

As for anyone who has said

"no wonder your kids have issues, try prayer"

I bet the parents have been doing that since day one!

Elaine - posted on 04/19/2012

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I didn't get the sense that Susan doesn't believe a child can truly believe they are in the wrong body. I felt that she was saying that every precaution should be taken to make 100% sure that nothing else is being overlooked while dealing with her gender identity. Even if she is truly and innately transgender, that doesn't mean that something else can't be affecting her, too.

[deleted account]

So Susan, you don't believe that a child may truly believe they are in the wrong body? They've seen multiple therapists.

Karen - posted on 04/19/2012

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I'm so glad to see a family supporting their child like this. I have no big words of advice but there is a show called Degrassi and you can find the episode online if they don;t show it in your area. They deal with alot of issues including transgender.
Keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

Susan - posted on 04/19/2012

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I'm sure that you have had a wide variety of thoughts, opinions and even unwanted insights. I do not want to just "add to this pile." You have a very serious situation with your daughter. As a Counselor, I can tell you that every member of your immediate and extended family is or will be affected by this child's struggle. For whatever reason this is real, confusing and painful to her. You may already have her in therapy, but if you don't I can't express to you the importance of finding someone competent as soon as possible. Especially with puberty looming on the horizon. You have shared just how "detailed" she is about seeing herself as male. For a 10 year old to voice "wanting a penis" and feeling as if her birth as a female was a mistake, is a huge sign that her inner struggle has and is o her mind a lot. If you don't get her professional help soon, things will get worse. You say she is already pulling her hair out and is very anxious. These are "warning signs," please head them. In finding a therapist, I beg you to be very careful. Look for one by interviewing them concerning the approach they will take. Your daughter's mental health is too important for "surprises." Please, please, please don't go to someone who will play into the direction she is taking, and reenforce the distractive thinking that is already causing her so much pain. Find someone who will take an "unbiased approach" her feeling like a boy in a girls body. In doing this the therapist can get to the root of this thinking and not just assume she was "born this way." Reenforcing a dangerous concept like this is risky because the reason for her gender confusion could go back to times as common as classmates teasing her about looking or acting like a boy...therefore the less painful path is to indeed look and act like a boy. As children, all of us look outside ourselves for gender identification, love, security, acceptance from family and peers. All of us go through this. Your daughter sounds like she has a very tender heart...and it has been damaged. Children percieve their worlds according to the way they are "wired." Some can take taunting and teasing and just ignore it...some melt under it what peers or siblings or others say are taken and "lived out" from that moment on. Think of situations in your own life where this is true. I sure can in my life. Until you sort out where and when these thoughts started, you can not hope to lead her well. If indeed this is a struggle that can not be changed, she will have to come to grips with the truth that she is too young to make any like changing decisions now. Loving your child in this situation means you will have to be extremely strong for her. Don't make the mistake of giving in to her, like calling her "him or he" or giving her a male nickname. This may seem healthy and keeps her less anxious, yes, but you may be reenforcing a very hurtful untruth. I can see your pain...it is with you all the time. There is hope though, dear lady. Your precious girl is 10...she has a developing brain that can be taught what real truth is...even if it doesn't feel like what she believes. I she was to take a DNA test, it would prove that she is female versus male. What you are looking for also is convincing her that "how she thinks is how she is." Find a competent Therapist/Counselor that you trust, who will keep you in the loop (no 'secrets' that can't be shared with her parents.) You are her parents, she is 10 and you MUST know what is at the root of all this.



I hope this is of some help. If you have any other questions, or just need some encouragement, let me know. You have a beautiful, gifted daughter. Celebrate and appreciate the joy and laughter she brings to your life.



Sharing because I am a Mother and I care,





Susan

[deleted account]

You people are unbelievable, no wonder your kids have issues, try prayer.
--

Right because believers never ever have issues or gender identity issues or anything bad ever at all.

No, that's not even what Christianity teaches. Don't insult that faith by making it something it isn't.

Barbara - posted on 04/19/2012

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I did understand that there was to be no surgical changes until the child was older. I also realize that there was a clinical name for the problem. My point was that not all statements of wanting to be another sex at this age had to be an issue of clinical nature. The statement I made about having a gender change was if the child is called by a boys name, dresses and acts like a boy when the gender biologically is a girl, giving hormones, the child has change their gender, all but surgically and to have her feel like a girl later would cause equal pain and suffering.



I do not know how anyone can know what is best in dealing with puberty under these conditions but those that love her most. Every child is complex and wonderful. I mostly wanted to express my view of how others who face a non clinical situations may have tried. I respect and honor any parent who loves their child and does their very best to give them a happy and fulfilled life.

Mrs. - posted on 04/18/2012

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It sounds like you have a good team of pros to work with. My advice is to get their help on addressing the stalling puberty/dealing with puberty thing. I'd also do my best to seek out parents who are a bit more ahead of you who have children who are dealing with being transgendered. It may help you feel more confident in any decisions you make. As well, it might make your child feel a bit less alone in this.

I've always had anxiety and I am not transgendered....anxiety is an equal opportunity monkey on the back. I think continuing to talk to his therapist about anxiety coping skills, making sure he is getting enough exercise (natural endorphins can help) and developing the best tools to help him deal with different situations in a healthy/non-destructive way.

Puberty sucks in general. It is never pretty and it is always awkward. I think. although your child will have it a bit harder, they will come out the other end happy that you, as parents, supported his desire to be who he is.

Michelle - posted on 04/18/2012

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********Mod Warning*********

Ladies can we please stop with the nasty comments. Not everyone believes the same things and we need to respect that please. Kim has asked how to explain what changes puberty will bring. Please keep on topic.

Michelle,
WtCoM Mod.

Angela - posted on 04/18/2012

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Barbara and Kerry – I’m a Christian and I can recognise that some people are born “different”. When a child is born with a disability or a health condition, we accept this and say that God is impartial – disabilities or health issues can occur in any person or any family – and not only at birth. But the Church (and not only the Christian Church – many other religions too) rejects other evidence of when people are born different. For example, those with homosexuality find that the Church and its “family” - broadly speaking - claim that the person is making a choice – and a sinful one at that!

Now this child has gender dysphoria – it’s NOTHING to do with sexuality, by the way – at this young stage of her life this child isn’t thinking about adult (or even adolescent) relationships – she just knows her mental gender isn’t the same as her genetic gender – she’s been born in the wrong body.

Sadly the person born with gender dysphoria is treated by the Church in the same way as a person who is gay – like someone who is making a choice to be different. As her parents have had her to specialists etc … we must respect that this is NOT a childish whim they’re indulging – it’s a genuine condition that the medical experts have validated. It’s a far cry from a girl being a tomboy or from a sensitive young boy preferring girlish pursuits as he grows up. To compare the two is just as ridiculous as saying a person who is confused and disorientated after a head injury is the same as a person with a permanent learning disability.

I’ve already explained the role of hormone blocker medication in my previous couple of posts and it’s really important to make this clear that they are NOT a permanent measure in addressing gender dysphoria. As someone else on this thread has pointed out, they can also be used to delay precocious puberty. Would you want (for example) your daughter who was only 5 or 6 going through puberty if it could be delayed a few years? Delaying the puberty of a gender-dysphoric child for a few years ensures that if they continue to want complete, surgical gender re-assignment when they are in adult life, the surgery is less complicated because they didn’t go through female puberty. Also, if the patient comes to a decision that they would prefer to be female after all, the onset of female puberty can be restored and nothing is lost. The majority of gender dysphoric people tend to remain in their birth gender anyway – according to some statistics I have read. Who knows what will happen in this child’s future?

Gender dysphoria is very rare and it’s hardly surprising that you have never seen it in your own large family or in the circle of people you know. It’s a very hard and painful path for the person who has such a condition – and for their families. Thank God it hasn’t happened to you, your loved ones or anyone you know! As you and others have proven, people at large are far less accepting of gender dysphoria in a youngster (or adult) than they would be of seeing a child of the same age in a wheelchair or profoundly deaf! Yet none of these conditions would be chosen by the person that had any of them – or by their parents!

We can’t cherry-pick which parts of Life/Nature and its rich experience come to us with God’s will and/or blessing when a person finds within themselves fundamental differences from other people – differences that are painful and difficult are NEVER “chosen”. If there’s a choice in any of this, wouldn’t we all simply “choose” the easiest way? I was born mentally and genetically female in gender – I didn’t choose. I was also born heterosexual – I didn’t choose my sexuality either. I’m very fortunate to be in the mainstream – a few people on this earth are less fortunate. Let’s not judge either them or their families.

Krista - posted on 04/18/2012

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Only those that know their children as parents do can know the best way to help their child.

And I think that is the key message here. Barbara, your child was more tomboyish and wanted to be a boy. Kim's daughter feels that she IS a boy. To my mind, that is a fairly considerable difference. But Kim knows her daughter best. We don't know her at all.

Oh, and Barbara, I just wanted to point out that nobody here has been suggesting a sex change at age 10. That would be incredibly irresponsible. Many of us have simply suggested hormone blockers, which will delay puberty, buying the child more time to delve into her feelings and make a decision on things. These hormone blockers are reversible. So at no point is anybody here suggesting anything irrevocable for this child.

Ebere - posted on 04/18/2012

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@Barbara Duncan I really do like your post..@Kim I don't know anything about transgenders like I stated earlier but Barbara's story is really encouraging and I'd listen to her.. Its not my place 2 say since its not my kid, but I'm really not comfortable with the issue of change of genders..especially at such a young age..I believe there must be a way out of this rather than encourage the change to a boy.

Barbara - posted on 04/18/2012

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Mom's and Dad's are asked to do such hard things! My sweet daughter was the 5th child with three older brothers who where several years older. When she was this age (about 8) she also wanted to be a boy, that went on for many years. The way I dealt with it is different from the way you have chosen to deal with it. Only those that know their children as parents do can know the best way to help their child. When she stated her desire to be a boy I would put my arm around her and hold her tight and reaffirm that she was a girl and would always be a girl. When she chose her clothes I would allow her latitude in the girls section. she would choose mostly crew neck t shirts and gender neutral tennis shoes with her jeans. No frills, sparkles or pink! We have a rule in our family, church requires a dress for girls. I did not allow any extreme hair cuts but she was allowed to not have barrettes, hair bands or other girly accessories. She mostly wore it in a pony tail with a baseball cap. She was allowed to choose which sports she participated in, she was very athletic and earned the presidential fitness award. With so many older brothers and a sister she had many choices of toys of both genders, so were therefore considered gender neutral. We in no way hindered her from being who she was. We did not make her desire to be a boy an issue that required a lot of attention. She was neither in pain nor tormented by it, she just stated it every so often to me. As she got older and nearer puberty we discussed the positives of being a woman, I have a wonderful husband that is very close to her and I shared the idea that it was a great blessing of marrying such a wonder man. She was a child of simple needs and was a happy child so simple suggestions were all that were necessary. When she was starting 7th grade she was required by a school dress code to wear button front shirts and blouses, when we shopped she wanted to wear what her friends were wearing so it was a natural change to more feminine dress without any pushing from me. Her hair also changed at this time from straight to naturally curly. She is now nearing her 18th birthday, she is a petite, blonde, blue eyed lovely girl with dates to the prom.

I know that there will be hated mail about what I have said. You cannot claim as many of you have with others who do not agree with encouraging the sex change as an option at 10 years old, that I am ignorant and ill informed. I am neither, I have a degree in child development and my husband has a phd in family studies. As I said in the beginning every parent needs to meet the needs of their child. A child so young, I feel needs the assurance that they are not somehow not created properly. They look to their parents for assurance that they are beautiful, important and whole with a low anxiety about their identity. Help them celebrate their uniqueness and to be loved.

Nicole - posted on 04/18/2012

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Kerry, wow, your WHOLE family?!? Your whole family encompasses the basis of scientific realm, thought and experience? I didn't say God wasn't always right, I said he has better things to do than lurking about in our bedrooms. I highly doubt that an all-knowing presence really gives two you know what's about what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms. That's why I think that when talking to kids about sex and sexuality that it's sometimes just best to leave God out of the conversation. Sexuality is scary enough without adding hell fire and brimstone to the list of issues that need to be dealt with.



As for something "having happened" to the OP's daughter. She's in counseling. There are many children who have this legitimate medical condition. Who are you to tell her what's valid and what isn't? The child's condition *is* rare. Not unheard of, though. Why don't you read up a bit on the condition, just to educate yourself on what it is about. God forbid anyone in your family has to go through this, it'll be "prayed" away.

Krista - posted on 04/18/2012

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The fact that your family has no "issues" with sexual orientation is utterly meaningless. That is your family. Every family is different.

And your argument cuts to the very issue of nature vs. nurture. You believe that babies are a completely blank slate, with absolutely no innate characteristics of their own. So by that reasoning, if you raise 10 children identically, they should all wind up with the exact same personality, likes and dislikes, interests, etc.

But we all know that this is usually not the case. Yes, a child's experiences will definitely be a major influence on them, but they are not the SOLE influence -- not by a long shot.

And frankly, it's rather uncharitable of you to assume that it is only non-praying parents who have children with "issues". I assure you that I know plenty of people from devout families, who have more issues than National Geographic. And I also know children of non-praying families who are perfectly "mainstream" and well-adjusted.

And lastly, I hate to get into a theological debate here, but I reject your premise that your god is always right. (Well, first of all, I reject the very premise that he exists, but even if he did, if he was always right and made no mistakes, then how do you explain things like Tay-Sachs syndrome and anencephaly? Because if your god makes babies like that on purpose, then he is really quite sadistic, I would say.)

Kerry - posted on 04/18/2012

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She needs to find a new doctor! I find it very hard to believe this story. Something had to have happened to that child. I have an enormous family and we have never had any issues with sexual orientation in this way or any other. Your children are what they experience, that is what forms their thoughts and ideas. And to an earlier post someone stated that God is not always right, that speaks volumes to me about the people that are commenting here, yes, God is always right AND God is always capitalized.



You people are unbelievable, no wonder your kids have issues, try prayer.

Krista - posted on 04/18/2012

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Kerry, you can't say that transgenderism is the result of someone "doing something" to the child.

Current scientific data strongly suggests that there are neurobiological origins for transsexualism: Something appears to happen during the in-utero development of the transsexual child's central nervous system (CNS) so that the child is left with innate, strongly perceived cross-gender body feelings and self-perceptions.

Elaine - posted on 04/18/2012

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Kerry, she HAS been taking her child to counseling. He has been seeing a child psychiatrist who specializes in gender issues for a year.

Stephany - posted on 04/18/2012

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You are doing a wonderful thing for him! In a diversity class I'm taking, a transgender man (he was born female, but went through the same things your daughter is), and he is now very much at peace with the decision to become a man. We cannot put God in a box... only he knows our heart, and the heart of your son. Bless you, and your unconditional love is a beautiful thing to behold!!!

Ebere - posted on 04/18/2012

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@Angela I didn't get to read other comments so I didn't realise that it's actually a validated medical condition.. Now I understand that, I feel bad if I sounded judgemental because it must be a really tough situation..

Angela - posted on 04/18/2012

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@ Ebere Isiwu-George - you think the child needs counselling? She's already getting it! You "don't think a kid less than 10yrs gets to choose what gender they think they are" - she didn't - her sense of gender was already within her - like the rest of us don't choose our gender (or our sexuality) - as I said in my own previous post - her gender dysphoria has been validated by medical specialists.

However, I will concede that your post is far more polite than some of the responses on here.

Ebere - posted on 04/18/2012

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At the risk of sounding negative, and at the same time meaning no offence, I might be wrong cos I don't know so much and haven't had any experience with transgenders but I think the child needs counselling.. I'm all for supporting kids but I don't think a kid less than 10yrs gets to choose what gender they think they are.. We are the parents and make certain decisions for kids until they are old enough to make for themselves..when in primary school and high school, I had friends who were tomboys, their parents let them dress the way they wanted and all, but not to believe they are the opposite sex..I don't know what your society is like, but if it were here in my country, the kid will have lots of challenges coming up especially now that puberty is approaching.. I've never heard of a hormone blocker or what it does, but it seems like it alters nature to me..I just think your kid should be prepared for all the changes coming with puberty, you never know she might in time embrace being female.. I'm sorry if I've offended and I do wish you luck because this is a very difficult situation.. Cheers

Angela - posted on 04/17/2012

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Amanda, Kim - the original poster of this topic, has already said that her daughter has seen specialists in gender dysphoria. It's not just some fad or whim she's going along with to keep her child quiet and compliant - it's a genuine medical condition. The medical experts have already authenticated this child's gender dysphoria!



If this child goes ahead in later life with gender reassignment, the procedure will be so much easier if she hasn't already gone through female puberty. This can be achieved by hormone blocker medication.



Hormone blockers don't change a person's gender they only delay puberty until a point where the patient can make a decision at a more mature age. This is when the person with gender dysphoria can say "OK, I'm now old enough to choose I definitely DON'T want to go through female puberty and living as a male will be far easier for me without this." or alternatively - the person can declare - "I've decided to be female after all - I will now come off the hormone blocker medication and go through female puberty as normal.



The beauty of hormone blocker meds is that it's not a permanent decision for someone. They get the chance to go ahead with living as someone of the opposite gender OR reverting back to their own genetic gender.



Permanent changes do not need to be made at a young age.

Amanda - posted on 04/17/2012

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I would suggest that you talk about girl interests and things about her that make her a girl as often as possible. After all, she is a girl and one day will be a woman. If she wants to do hormone change therapy one day to herself, that will be her choice but I don't think it would be healthy for her development right now. She needs to know that she is a girl and that she can't pretend any more because the life of womanhood is coming. She can play with boy stuff and dress like a boy, but some things are just inevitable and she has to know. I'd just sit down and talk about it. Mine started when I was 11 and her's could start any time since girl's menstruation usually starts earlier these days.

Cassie - posted on 04/17/2012

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Hi Dove,



Congrats on being able to explain puberty to your daughter so that she is ready for it. My mom wasn't too good at that (nothing against her, it's just that her personality is very reserved, and her mom didn't do much to explain things to her either. But you are definitely to be commended for making sure your daughter is ready.



The reason I think my niece needs to wait is that she is still really high strung and nervous, and gets really, really stressed out really easily. I think giving her a bit of extra time will only be beneficial for her. But, of course, that's just my opinion, and my sister and my niece's pediatrician will be making the final decisions.



As for kids 9-12 undergoing puberty, I only think it's too early for one reason: the sexual feelings that puberty allows the body to fully feel. My sister was molested by several boys at school when she was in 6th and 7th grade because of her developing body. Physically, it felt good to her so she went along with it willingly. Emotionally, it was devastating to her - especially when told by a well-meaning but ignorant youth minister that she was "tainted" for it. These emotions have followed her up to this very day. She deals with serious self-esteem issues and has some major problems with promiscuity. [please note, I am *not* saying a woman enjoying sex is wrong, nor am I saying that everyone has to adhere to my standards of morality. What I am saying is that *she* says she has a problem with promiscuity. She says she wishes she had more emotional control over the physical urges] Anyway, that's why I think older puberty might be better. It just gives kids a little more time to grow up and gain life experience without throwing those good feelings into the mix. I hope I'm not the only mom who wouldn't want my 10-12 year old kid doing sex things ;-)

Dove - posted on 04/17/2012

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Cassie, my daughter started having BO at 8.5 and developing breast buds at 9.... I assure you she is more than ready and fully understands the changes taking place. Puberty at 5, 6, 7, etc.... yeah, not good, but 9-12 is a perfectly NORMAL age to begin going through these changes.

Nicole - posted on 04/17/2012

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Cassie: We've had a monstrous sized pack of pads in our bathroom closet that I've shown my daughter how to use for almost a year now. We are prepared! The funny thing is, that as nervous as puberty makes my daughter, (will it hurt?,) she's absolutely convinced that having breasts must be the coolest thing in the world. I grew up as a tomboy and found breasts to be quite possibly the most irritating thing about puberty. Sure, getting your period sucks, but it's only a week out of the month... boobs are there 24/7. I feel for Kim and her daughter, I don't know how her daughter is going to deal, handle and accept her changing body, but some of the suggestions you and others on here have mentioned are open, supportive and very kind. It'd be lovely if everyone could have that attitude in regards to children and sexuality. Not everything is black and white, honestly sexuality in adults is barely understood, yet alone kids, during puberty... their brains are almost a complete mystery. I agree wholeheartedly with Medic Mommy. Personally, I prefer that God stays as far away from sexuality as possible. It just muddles up the mix, especially when we, as adults are trying to interpret and pass on his wisdom. Teaching children kindness, openness and acceptance towards sexuality is a much better decision than telling them what God wants for their bodies. I have to imagine that someone that busy has more important things on their minds, anyways ;-)

Medic - posted on 04/17/2012

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One thing about kids that I think some moms on here fail to notice or maybe admit is that they are free thinkers, kids are not inherently mean, they are taught to be that (usually by their parents) Most kids get teased in some form or fashion. Sexual orientation or gender dysmorphia are not the only reasons kids are targeted. All kids should be taught about bullying, and all kids should be taught to love all kinds of people and treat them with kindness and understanding.

Off all people in this world my best friend and my 5 year old have taught me that. My son is 5, he dances, cheers, tumbles and takes karate. He has blue streaks in his hair, and has his own fashion sence. He is homeschooled and allowed to be a free thinker. Does this all make him an easy target for teasing? Of course it does! We teach him to stand behind what he wants to do and to have confidence and pride in it all.

He knows at 5 years old that not everyone is nice and that the main reason people are mean is because they are scared of what is different. We are not religious but my son is in his own sence, he will tell anyone that wants to throw what "GOD" wants in his face for anything that HIS GOD- loves all people and HIS GOD makes NO MISTAKES. What he means by that is that people were made to be different, and everyone is just right how they are, transgendered, gay, hetero, strange, disfigured, deaf, blind, bald, EVERYONE. All of this comes from a little kid. I am not sure if his god is the christian god but he has formed a bond with him/her.

I guess my point is everyone who wants to use religion in this did you ever think that maybe your right....but your twisting it to fit your adgenda?

Maybe we need to sit back and look at the incredible honesty and innocence that is in our kids and realize that every mean kid learns from someone else who is mean. All the kids that are loving and accepting have someone that encourages them to use the brain they were given and the instincts they were born with.

Those of us who face great controversy and learn from it are far better in the end than those who face that same controversy and run.

Cassie - posted on 04/17/2012

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Hi Nicole,



It was a terrifying time for my sister more than 20 years ago at age 11, whereas nowadays it seems somewhat common for menstruation to begin that early. When my niece started having cramps - CRAMPS! - at age 5 or 5 1/2, we were terrified that she might have stomach cancer or something. Early puberty never even occurred to us. (My sister and I are very close, and live very close to each other, and our 2 kids are like sister and brother).



Anyway, the pediatrician took one look at her and said "take her to the gynecologist and have her tested for precocious puberty." I am SO grateful to that doctor who was up on what was going on and was able to send us to the person who was able to help us. It is very hard when you know something is going on but you can't get anyone else to listen. My heart goes out to Kim P because she said it was difficult to find someone who even listened and that there weren't many specialists where she lives that understand this issue. I hope she continues to learn on her own (God bless Google! lol) and that she never settles for a doctor of ANY kind that gives less than 100% of his/her effort to her daughter.



I wish everyone who had to experience puberty before about age 13 could have access to blockers (if they or their parents wanted)...kids at 10, 10 1/2, 11 years old are just not ready emotionally for the feelings that puberty brings. I'm glad you made it through ok, and you are better for it, because you know first hand what it is like.



God bless,

Cassie

Nicole - posted on 04/17/2012

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Oh, god... I didn't even think of cases like that, Cassie, your poor sister must have been terrified, thank goodness there is an answer out there like hormone blockers for kids, having had my first period at nine, I kind of wish my parents would have been able to do something like that for me!

Cassie - posted on 04/17/2012

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"it sad that people would allow there child to have a hormone blocker"



So... my almost 9 year old niece who began to have symptoms of puberty before age 6 should have been allowed to fully experience puberty then? She should've had to deal with periods and sexual urges at 8 years old? Hmm...perhaps not.



This is a tough topic, and a very controversial one. As others have said, you cannot judge until you have walked in another's shoes. I commend the OP for being supportive of her child even though it is a confusing condition to be experiencing and a difficult issue for parents to understand and face.



I personally think hormone blockers are a good thing. As I mentioned above I have a niece who's been taking them for almost 3 years with no negative side effects that I can see. She has continued to grow and develop normally - she hasn't really gotten much taller, because her pre-pubertal growth spurt hit her at 6. She has in the last 6 months or so finally grown a few inches, but she's still taller than everyone in her 3rd grade class (at the beginning of the year she wasn't but now she is again).



Having seen the trouble and heartache my sister (her mom) got into because of her own precocious puberty (age 11) I wholeheartedly support their decision to block her puberty until at least age 13 or 14, when she will be more able to emotionally handle it.

Krista - posted on 04/17/2012

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Kim, I know it's hard as hell, but try to not take the ignorant comments to heart. A lot of people just don't understand transgenderism. It baffles the heck out of them, and like many things in life, what we don't understand, we tend to fear. Sadly, this won't be the first or last time that you have to face this type of thing. However, you've also received a lot of great support here, and I would urge you to focus on that. There ARE a lot of people out there who understand, and who want you and Summer to be happy. The fact that you're such an awesome, supportive mom will go a long way towards helping Summer become happy, regardless of what the future may bring.

I hope that Summer's doctor and therapist can help you folks figure out a course of action to help her(him) navigate the upcoming years.

Please feel free to PM me anytime you need to talk. Oh, and just as an FYI, you CAN block people from messaging you, if their messages are more hurtful than helpful.

Nicole - posted on 04/17/2012

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The truth of the matter is that no matter how much your daughter wants to be a son, she's still a girl. You'll have to explain to her what exactly is going to happen in her body, breast development, menses, hair growth, (wherever hair grows,) mood swings... and attention from boys.



The fact that she prefers living as a boy isn't indicative of if she is attracted to women, (she might not even know yet,) but understand, the way she dresses can cause some serious issues with the opposite sex that she needs to understand eventually. There are men / boys out there who will single her out and tell her things like: "You just haven't met the right guy yet." If it happens too young in life, & she's assaulted by one of these beasts, it could turn her against men forever. If she's a lesbian, (or a man trapped in a woman's body who prefers women,) that's one thing, terrible to be assaulted by a man, but if she actually prefers men, (a homosexual man trapped in a woman's body,) it could seriously mess with her sexuality later on in life.



Either way, she needs to understand there are pitfalls in puberty that many kids don't have to go through.



Counseling... she needs to start some counseling, not because of her gender identity issues, but in order to process them, to understand them and to come to a decision on how she wants to present herself in life.



Another thing you guys might want to look into is giving her some ideas of role models who have grown up and are adults now, that are like her... Bono's daughter, (now son,) comes to mind right off the top of my head, but I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.



Giving her some hope, that when she's old enough to make a decision legally that she would like to become, or be surgically altered into a boy, may be helpful. I cannot imagine what she's going through, it must be terrifying as her body changes against her will.



She'll have to learn about binding her breasts if she wants to continue looking like a boy, too. Check it out online so you can understand how it's done, I think most girls just use ace bandages. Make sure she's not doing it so tightly that she is impairing her breathing or causing welting.



Good luck. It's hard enough raising a child through puberty, raising a transgender child in this day in age must be really confusing.

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