Real Talk     Home     K-12    

Growing up Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender



Help your child develop their gender identity

trans youth, transgender, teens, tweens, parents of teens, real talk, childrens medical group

At birth, we are all assigned a gender according to what appears on the outside, rather than what’s on the inside.

What is most often confused is the difference between sex and gender: a person’s sex refers to their anatomy, whereas gender has more nebulous implications related to social roles and how one perceives themselves.

As a child grows up, he or she may feel that their gender identity does not coincide with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Parents may notice their child has an affinity toward clothing and toys associated to the opposite sex. Sometimes, children grow out of this, while for others, these feelings grow stronger and start to influence their personalities.



What is the difference?
A child who is gender non-conforming does not feel the gender identities of “male” or “female” align with who they are. As children grow up and can make decisions for themselves, they may decide which gender they more align with, which may differ from their own assigned sex – which would mean they are transgender.

READ MORE: Improve your teen's performance in school

Whether a child decides to be gender non-conforming, transgender, or decides to keep their assigned gender, they should be encouraged and feel loved for exactly who they are. Various peer-reviewed studies show parenting and socialization do not have as influential an effect on a child’s gender identity as some may think. 

Developing a Gender Identity
Children who are consistent and persistent about identifying as the opposite gender once they become aware of the social differences between boys and girls will most likely become transgender as adults.

It is not unusual for children to start exhibiting transgender tendencies as they go through puberty. Teens who express that they no longer identify with the gender they were assigned should be supported through therapy or counseling to help navigate through this confusing time in their life.

Sometimes, with the help of a doctor, kids may decide to take hormones to block puberty during early adolescence, and later in adolescence take medications to transition to their preferred gender identity.

Transitions
Transitions can occur in two ways: with the help of hormones that mimic those of the opposite sex, and surgery. If a child took puberty-blocking hormones early on, surgeries like breast removal are not necessary.

Surgery is only done in adulthood, and a transgender person may choose not to undergo gender reassignment surgery at all.

READ MORE: Keep your family healthy

A Parent’s Role
Your role as a parent of a Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender child should always be supportive. Understand that their gender orientation cannot be changed through your intervention once they have made the decision to be their true self. Validating their identity by calling them by a chosen name and providing them with clothing that reflects their gender identity are two ways to show your support. Make sure to provide them with the tools they need in cases of bullying, and if they begin to struggle with mental health issues.

A transition can be a tumultuous time for the whole family, so make sure you are taking care of yourself as well. Be sure to speak with your child’s pediatrician about available services that can provide guidance on issues related to the LGBTQ+ community.

Provided by CHILDREN'S MEDICAL GROUP



More Real Talk


  • How to prevent cyberbullying with technology

    Who is at risk and what you can do

    Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent among children and teens, as young people now spend more time on phones, computers and digital devices. About 6 in 10 teens have been bullied or harassed online, according to Pew Research Center. read more »
  • Teenage Period Cramps

    How much pain alerts to medical conditions?

    More often than not prevailing period stigma holds adolescents back from expressing concerns about severe menstrual pains. Experts say that debilitating cramps are not normal and might be caused by underlying medical problems like endometriosis. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • How to help high-achieving students manage stress

    Tips and insight for parents

    School administrators at Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) in Maryland were surprised to learn that high-achieving students wanted to get rid of class rank—a measure of student success that weighs higher-level classes differently when calculating grade point average. The class ranking system created an unnecessary burden, students said, and discouraged them from taking the classes they really wanted. read more »
  • Tips to keep your teen active in lockdown

    Physical activity is more crucial than ever

    Wintertime isolation during Covid makes physical activity even more of a challenge, but it’s important for everyone, especially teens, to get the blood flowing, here are some helpful tips. read more »
  • Best uses of downtime for teens

    Does your teen feel better after downtime or worse?

    All downtime is not created equal. Some is more restorative, some not so much. Learn how you can help your teen rest well. read more »
  • Teen attitude blues

    Why is my teen depressed and what can I do about it?

    The teen years can be distinctly difficult for a variety of reasons, particularly if your teen has a bad attitude. Here are some ways you can better understand and help your teen. read more »
  • How mindfulness can help your stressed teen

    Everyone take a deep breath. You all will feel better

    Teens report more stress than adults, a fact that will surprise no one. This article includes some helpful ways to cope. read more »
  • How do I know what boundaries to set for my teen

    Definitely not easy to pick your battles

    Teens are hardwired to test limits. This article includes some helpful tips on how best to meet the challenges or to let things go. read more »