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Q:

How can I support my preteen if they are struggling with gender or sexuality issues?

Hello everyone,

I am a parent of a preteen and I would like to ask for some advice on how to support my child if they are struggling with gender or sexuality issues.

Recently, my child has been expressing some confusion and uncertainty about their gender identity and has also been asking questions about different sexual orientations. As a parent, I want to make sure that I am creating a safe and supportive space for my child to explore and figure out their identity.

I am seeking advice from anyone who may have gone through a similar experience with their child or may have knowledge on how to support a child who is struggling with these issues. What are some practical steps I can take to support my child as they navigate this challenging time? How can I stay informed and educated on these issues to better understand and support my child's experiences? Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help.

All Replies

aisha51

Hello there,

I am a parent of a teenager who has also gone through a journey of exploring their gender identity and sexuality. I just wanted to echo what the other users are saying and stress the importance of creating a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment for your preteen.

One thing that worked for me was being patient and understanding with my child. I let them explore and experiment with different gender expressions and encouraged them to do what felt right for them. At the same time, I emphasized the importance of being respectful and empathetic towards others who may have different experiences or identities.

There may also be times when your child needs extra support or assistance, such as when dealing with bullying or discrimination based on their identity. Make sure to be there for them and advocate for them when needed.

Lastly, it's important to stay informed and aware of the resources available in your community. Attend workshops or support groups, seek out education and information, and foster connections with other parents and families who are going through similar situations.

This can be a challenging and emotional journey, but remember that you are not alone and that there is support available for you and your child.

kessler.oma

Hi there,

I completely understand where you're coming from as I went through a similar experience with my child. I found that being available for my child to talk whenever they needed me was really important. Having open dialogue about their experiences and feelings was crucial in understanding their situation better and what they needed from me as a parent.

I found that listening to my child without judgement helped to create a safe and supportive space, which is really important because many preteens struggling with gender or sexuality feel misunderstood or rejected by family and society at large. Additionally, what worked for my child might not work for yours, but I found it helpful to read books and watch documentaries and share them with my child so they could see themselves represented in those stories

Lastly, it's important to be proactive in making sure that your child knows they have resources outside of you. You could research and help them find support groups or counseling services for LGBTQ+ youth so that they have a supportive and nurturing community to turn to. Additionally, any issues related to gender or sexuality identity should be dealt with tactfully and with sensitivity.

I hope this helps, and wish you and your child all the best as you navigate this challenging time.

roberto.flatley

Hi there,

As someone who has gone through a similar experience with my own child, I can understand the confusion and uncertainty that comes with supporting a preteen struggling with gender or sexuality issues. The most important thing is to create a safe and supportive environment for your child where they feel comfortable talking about their feelings and experiences.

One practical step is to educate yourself on these issues by reading books or watching documentaries about gender and sexuality. It can be helpful to talk to other parents who have gone through similar experiences or even seek out support groups or counseling for both you and your child.

It's also important to listen actively to your child, validate their feelings, and offer unconditional support. Let your child lead the conversation and take cues from them on how best to support them.

Overall, remember that it's okay to not have all the answers and to make mistakes along the way. What's most important is that you love and support your child unconditionally and that you are there for them every step of the way.

I hope this helps and wishing you and your child all the best on this journey.

moises22

Hello all,

I am a parent of a preteen who struggled with gender identity issues in the past, and I just wanted to say that it's incredibly important to validate your child's emotions and feelings. It can be difficult as a parent to see your child go through a hard time, but letting them know that their feelings are valid can be incredibly empowering for them.

Something that I found helpful was creating a safe space for my child where they could be themselves without fear of judgment. I allowed them to express their feelings in any way that felt comfortable to them – whether it was through talking, writing, drawing, or any other means.

I also sought out support groups and counseling services in my community, as having a network of individuals going through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful for both parents and children alike. Additionally, reaching out to healthcare professionals or LGBTQ+ organizations can help you stay informed on how best to support your child.

Lastly, it's important to always prioritize your child's well-being, both in terms of their physical health and mental health. Make sure they are getting the care, support, and love that they need, and remind them that no matter what, you will always be there for them.

I hope this helps and wishing you and your child all the best as you navigate through this challenging time.

rosalia46

Hello everyone,

I am a parent of a child who came out as transgender a few years ago, so I want to share some of my experiences in the hope that it will help others.

Firstly, it's important to remember that your preteen needs to know they are loved and supported, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality. They may feel alone, so it's vital to be that shoulder they can lean on, especially when it gets tough.

As a parent, it's essential to educate yourself on the experiences of transgender and non-binary people, as well as the challenges they may face. Learning about gender dysphoria and the effects of hormone therapies can be enlightening, and you can then use this knowledge to help your child.

Another thing that helped my child was to have us use proper pronouns and their chosen name. It may be difficult at first, but with time, it becomes more natural.

Lastly, always validate your child's feelings. If your child is expressing their gender identity to you, it's likely that they felt vulnerable and scared to do so. Assure them that you believe in them and that they have your full support.

In short, the process of understanding and accepting your preteen's gender identity or sexuality may not always be easy, but creating an inclusive, non-judgmental environment is a great first step.

Best of luck to everyone who is supporting their preteen during this time.

yjerde

Hello everyone,

As someone who has struggled with gender identity and sexuality issues in the past, I just want to reiterate the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for your preteen to explore and figure out their identity.

Something that really helped me was having someone to talk to who was supportive and non-judgmental. This could be a family member, friend, or even a counselor or teacher. Having someone to listen and validate my experiences was crucial in helping me come to grips with my identity.

I also found that research and education were empowering. It can be helpful to read books or watch documentaries about gender and sexuality that resonate with your preteen's experiences. This can give them a better understanding of themselves and remind them that they are not alone.

It's also important to advocate for your child whenever necessary, whether it's at school, at home, or in the community. Discrimination and bullying can be very real and harmful to your child's wellbeing, so don't be afraid to take action and seek support from relevant organizations or individuals.

As a final note, it's critical to remember that everyone's journey is different, and it's essential to give your preteen the time and space they need to come to terms with their identity on their own terms.

I hope that my experience can be of help to you, and I wish you and your preteen all the best.

olesch

Hello all,

As someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, I just wanted to add my voice to this conversation in the hopes of offering a different perspective. I think it's essential to emphasize the importance of letting your preteen lead the conversation about their gender identity and sexuality.

Even if it's hard for you as a parent to understand or connect with your child's experiences, it's essential to listen and try to learn as much as you can. Don't try to rush or force your child to adopt a particular label or identity - let them explore and figure out what feels right for them.

It's also important to validate and support your child's experiences, even if they're not what you expected or envisioned for them. Trust that your child knows themselves best, and let them be the expert of their own identity.

Finally, it's important to be an ally to your child and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. Educate yourself on LGBTQ+ issues and advocate for your child's rights and well-being. Be an active listener and ally to other members of the LGBTQ+ community, and encourage your preteen to do the same.

I hope that my perspective can be helpful, and I wish you and your preteen all the best on this journey.

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