Transgender teens

The interaction with your child after they tell you they are transgender is important. If you feel like you need extra support and help in the area, Diane Ehrensaft, PhD offers advice on resources to seek out.
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Transgender teens

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You are a parent, your child just came to you and said, "I'm transgender." What do you do to help your child? The first thing you do, just like you would do for a young child, and you let your child know, that's okay. You need to find out what your child needs. Some people think that every transgender youth should go to therapy. I don't. They should only go to therapy if they need therapy to help sort out all of the challenges of being transgender or the fear about hiding that from people all the time or the fears about going forward as a transgender person. A lot of transgender youth are just fine, as long as people say, "That's fine." Sometimes, transgender youth seek out support groups and want to be with other transgender teens. Other youths don't like groups at all, so we shouldn't assume that all transgender kids want to be in a group. Not everybody likes groups. The most important thing they need to know is they can ask for whatever services they need to help them strengthen themselves as a transgender person and go through the process of really affirming their identities.

The interaction with your child after they tell you they are transgender is important. If you feel like you need extra support and help in the area, Diane Ehrensaft, PhD offers advice on resources to seek out.

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Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD is a developmental and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. She is a parenting expert and also specializes in gender studies and psychotherapy and consultation with gender nonconforming children and their families. She is the author of Gender Born, Gender Made:  Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children; Mommies Daddies, Donors, Surrogates, Building a Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman), Spoiling Childhood, and Parenting Together. Dr. Ehrensaft has made many media appearances, most recently the Anderson Cooper Day show, and has presented and published both nationally and internationally on the subjects of parenting, child development, assisted reproductive technology, and children’s gender development and gender nonconformity.

Dr. Ehrensaft is the Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a University of California San Francisco-community partnership offering interdisciplinary services to gender conforming children and youth and their families, as well as the psychologist at the UCSF Gender Clinic.

She serves on the faculty of The University of California and is a founding member of A Home Within, a national non-profit organization serving the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care.

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