Three tips for being a more supportive, nurturing, and understanding parent, for your queer and transgender child.
Tip Number One: Reinforce Normal-ness
So one of the most important aspects to meeting the needs of a trans person… is being able to recognize where the majority of a trans person’s pain comes from. Which is from the incredibly challenging dynamic of learning how to totally embrace and accept one’s self… but doing so from within an unsupportive environment.
Meaning, the reason trans people need extra love, support and attention… is because we are attempting to be ourselves, within a system that hasn’t been designed to fully support us.
And the reason this is such an important distinction to make… is because, without it… then the next logical assumption is that the reason trans people need to be supported… is because there is something inherently wrong with us. Or that we are somehow weak, and incapable, and sickly. Unable to grow into happy, peaceful, fully functioning adults - without the benevolence of our allies.
Which of course, isn’t the case at all. Because being trans is totally normal. And we have just as much inherent worth, and intelligence and strength, as anyone else.
But the reason this community is in so much pain… is like I said, because we are trying to grow up, in an environment that is communicating to us… through policies, traditions, media, values, and language that we aren’t normal. And that this way of life… is somehow different than what a healthy, balanced, and self aware person would choose for themselves.
So it’s important to recognize that your opportunity… as a trans supporter… is to continually remind me that I am normal. And that my decision to walk this path… is in alignment with the highest and best good of this world.
And even in those moments when I feel like a freak. Or like I don’t belong. And I am breaking down, and having a panic attack. And I am acting out all the projections that have been placed onto me. And even when my path looks like total train wreck. And I am confused, and afraid, and I have lost my way.
There you are, holding a compassionate, loving space for me. Reminding me that I normal… and I am inherently worthy and deserving of all that this life has to offer.
And if you can do that for me, then you will change me life. And you help to guide me into a more balanced and harmonious way of being. Just by reinforcing to me… that I am the same as everyone else. And that I belong in this world.
And now, instead of needing to prove everyone else wrong. Or rebel against the system. Or hide in my bedroom. I can sink into that space within myself where I feel totally at peace. And comfortable in my own skin.
And that starts with you, teaching me what that feels like. And introducing me to that kind of environment.
And then guiding me through the process of cultivating an inner environment, which is founded on the same supportive qualities that you have been teaching me all about. Which is what our next tip is about...
Tip Number Two: Stick to the Fundamentals
Meaning, teach me the basic survival skills that I am going to need as a human being. And reinforce the core fundamentals of a healthy, balanced and grounded way of life. In other words… support me in being a person first, before you figure out how to support me in being a trans person.
And the reason that the fundamentals are so important for a trans person… is because this path, of exploring gender… requires an extraordinary amount of emotional intelligence, self awareness, and inner resourcefulness.
Which means that your opportunity as a trans supporter… is to teach me the art of being a human.
Teach me how to have compassion for myself and for others. Teach me how to take care of myself. Teach me how to be resilient, and trust my intuition, and connect to others. Teach me how to feel my feelings, and how to think for myself, and how to stand on my own two feet.
Show me how to have non-violent communication. And show me how to work through difficult emotions, and how to get back up when I fall down. Show me how to set boundaries. Show me what healthy love is. And help me to understand the importance of self awareness.
Guide me through the process of exploring my likes and dislikes. Reinforce healthy behavior. Give me space to be myself. Create opportunities for me learn and grow. And continually point me towards my individual capacity to show up for myself.
And if you can do all this… and really be there for me as I learn the fundamentals of my individual humanity…you will be setting me up for not only a successful gender exploration… but life.
And the reason it’s so important to place an emphasis on the fundamentals… before moving on to gender-specific parenting strategies… is because, as long as I have learned how to live a healthy, balanced life… and I have cultivated skills such as self compassion and emotional resilience…then my gender exploration is going to take care of itself. And it’s going to be a natural extension of my healthy lifestyle.
Which is really important to recognize, because of how easy it is to assume that trans kids require some intricate technique, that is only taught by the elders… in the secret queer monasteries hidden at the top of the Himalayas.
When in reality… trans people are just people. Right? We need the same life skills as everyone else. Perhaps more so than everyone else.
And if you can teach me those skills first… then like I said, my gender exploration is going to unfold naturally and organically.
And yes, of course… there are more nuanced aspects to being there for a trans person… and there are gender specific strategies which might be appropriate in your situation. But before you get to that point… first, there needs to be a coming back to the fundamentals.
And a ground up, foundational supportive environment that is resting underneath not only the trans person… but underneath yourself as well.
Which is what our next tip is about…
Tip Number Three: Lead by Example
This means doing the work, showing up, teaching from experience, and doing everything in your power to fully embody the bright future that you so lovingly envision for me.
In other words… if you truly want me to be healthy, balanced and resourceful… then what I need from you, is for you to be that yourself. That way… i’ll be able to learn from someone who is walking the same path that I am. And when I look to you as a parent, or a caretaker or an alley… I will be able to intuitively sense that you mean what you say.
And that what you say… is coming from actual experience. And not from a book, or from the internet, or from someone else. But from you. From your heart, soul, and intuition.
And when I know that what you’re saying, is coming from the depths of who you are… then I, as someone who looks up to you… get direct exposure to the life that I am creating for myself.
And now, when I see you speaking with compassion to others, and when I hear you expressing yourself, and giving yourself room to be a human, and to make mistakes… I begin to understand why that’s so important.
And when I see you forgiving yourself, and being gentle and kind… and when I see you getting out of your comfort zone… and when I see you fall down, and then get back up… I begin to understand what is being asked of me.
And now, instead of you having to teach me… and take on the responsibility of making sure that I learn a bunch of stuff… All you have to do, is be yourself. And live the kind of life that you would want me to live.
That way… i’ll be able to enter this world fully equipped to learn, grow, fail, succeed, and most importantly… be myself.
All because I learned by experiencing you… the leader, the example… and I witnessed firsthand the impact that your way of life had not only on you…but on me, and everyone else in our family.
And later in life, when I am being challenged… and I don’t know what to do… and I tune into my heart, and to my soul… I will feel your wisdom. And I will hear your guidance. And I will be able to intuitively sense the truth that you instilled into me.
Not because you did anything extraordinary. Not because you were a saint, or a perfect person. But simply because you were you. And you did that in the best way you knew how. Which is exactly what I am trying to do.
Now of course, it’s important to recognize that leading by example is something that’s already happening. Whether you want it to or not. Which means that now… it’s just a matter of considering, what kind of example do you want to be?
So my invitation to you… is to step more fully into that leadership position. Which is nothing more than stepping more fully into yourself. And into that person you know yourself to be.
This is the person who is living in harmony with their individual truth. And is actively working to create a brighter, more authentic, and more connected life for themselves, and everyone around them.
And if you can do that… you’ll be supporting not only me, and not only yourself… but all of this world… in more ways than you can possibly imagine.
And if you want learn even more about truly being there for a trans person… then you should watch this video… because in it, I share the most potent, effective and efficient way to channel your supportive energies.