011: Being a Trans Parent

September 11th, 2018 · 54 mins 19 secs

About this Episode

Parent Driven Development

Episode 011: Being a Trans Parent

00:30 We're joined by our friend Jess today

We've been soliciting questions from our audience which will help guide our conversation today

02:00 How do you help young children who want to categorize everything in to boys and girls?

How do we talk about boy parts and girl parts and gender identity especially with young children?
It's a complex topic. Different children classify in different ways. Does it talk to how we socialize children? It changes when your children interact with other children in school.
Science has proven that gender identity is mostly internal and it is in flux until children are around 3 and then they demonstrate more behaviors that can be associated with a specific gender.

07:50 How much do body parts relate to gender identity?

Talking about body parts and explaining that you can't tell what a person is by looking at them. You need to ask,

9:00 Children see the world in different ways

There's a need to talk to children in different ways because the way children classify and categorize are different. It's important to reach a child in a way that makes sense for them.

You can still categorize and have these boundaries but talking about what defining characteristics and boundaries are is important.

We're seeing more categories now that are gender non-binary or gender fluid and that's another set of categories to introduce and look for in books.

When other people define those categories, it's also very difficult and overwriting peer pressure and social norms is tough.

We have to understand details and nuance. Needing to overwrite social norms and outside influence is so much of parenting.

It's a beautiful thing when parents can help their children learn compassion and talk through these questions.

14:14 If a child sees someone and wants to know what gender that person is, what is a good way to make sure we're guiding them correctly and having them ask in a way that is not offense and hurtful to the individual?

Parents react in a variety of ways when children ask. Jess talks about some of the reactions she's gotten and what is helpful in the moment.

The polite way to ask as an adult is "hi, my pronouns are and . What are your pronouns?" It's hard to tell by looking at folks so it can be normalized by just asking.

Sarah talks about a camp that does this and the children have picked up on it super quickly. Kids are much more open to these discussions now than we are at our age and they might be more open to these discussions because they are being raised in a different time.

19:50 Listener comment

Conversations about a trans girl in elementary school led to a lot of parental learning.

20:20 Are younger kids talking about this more and recognizing this earlier?

Definitely. Talking about media representations and cultural expectations of trans people in the past and present.

Late transitioners are going to become less and less common.

22:00 What's helpful as parents to make sure our children feel comfortable having these conversations with us?

Podcast: How to be a girl about a parent raising a trans girl

Book: Transgender 101 helps address these issues

As well as some helpful questions and approaches for parents with children talking about gender identification.

25:00 - 28:30 How do you deal with people who can't understand?

trigger warning Gender dysphoria and depression

dysphoria and euphoria. Talking about calling in a support system and recognizing how to be honest with ourselves and our families.

29:00 As parents, how to support trans families?

Best allies are simple things like using the correct pronouns because it's more about being a person and not about being trans.

Jess shares a Mother's Day story which shows fellow parent support and an example of allyship.

32:00 How to help young children develop identity in a world of gender policing?

Graciously accept gifts and then lose them. Trying to phrase things as play or as talking about play as what the child is doing.

Giving children options is good as well.

36:00 What are good resources?

Red: A Crayon's Story
I am Jazz
Kids books are few and far between.

For adults, pflag chapters are also good.
Jenny Boylan as an author is great.
Jess is also happy to chat on twitter!

39:00 Genius / Fail moments

Allison - I took my son to see the fireworks and he was excited but also terrified and asked to leave. I thought it was ok but then once we got home we needed to have a long discussion about how he's safe in the house from fireworks. I may have scarred him for life. #Fail

Chris - My kids wanted to wash the truck which was great but then they got bored of washing and took the hose to the side yard and now it's a muddy mess. #Genius

Jess - My son's daycare has been growing cucumbers and he brought home cucumbers to make pickles! #Genius

Josh - The food wars continue. My daughter helps me pick out the meals that get sent every week so she recognizes that she's agreed to what gets sent. #Genius

Sarah - My daughter drew a picture of being a spider vet when she grows up, but actually it was a spider pirate. She's got a great imagination. #Genius

Also, future genius? Family vacations are hard so instead of a family trip. We're doing 1-on-1 trips depending on where each child wants to go.

53:40 Contact Us!

Tell us if you have a question you want us to discuss on air!

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Josh Puetz
Sarah Olson
Allison McMillan
Chris Sexton