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Dealing With Transgender Issues in Elementary Schools

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How can we help our kids understand and cope with the recent "gender reassignment" of a teacher at our local elementary school?

The last time they saw him, he was a man; when they returned to school, he presented as a woman. We don’t want our children to be upset or confused — we want to teach them what God has to say about human sexuality. What can we do? And how should we respond to school officials who seem to promote the idea that transgenderism is normal?

 


ANSWER:

Contrary to what school officials may be saying, transgenderism is a troublesome situation in your child’s innocent world. Therefore, you’re right to assume that your kids may be struggling to understand what it all means — and may be susceptible to cultural misguidance.

Change is difficult for all of us, but it’s especially hard for children at the elementary level. Kids at this age don’t have a vocabulary of their own to express how they feel when the world around them seems to be in flux. What’s more, due to the lack of words to express what’s going on, children will readily adopt the concepts and language for “gender issues” given to them by schools or other influential sources.

That’s why it’s helpful to sit down with your children and gently encourage them to talk.

Ask your kids how they feel.

Help them identify their emotions and process their thoughts. Create a safe space where they can slow down and voice their feelings without fear of correction or punishment.

The process is going to take time – lots of it. But it gives you an opportunity to teach God’s design, as well as to demonstrate compassion for those who may struggle in this area.

Once you’ve gotten in touch with your child’s emotions and affirmed their openness in sharing, you can move on to a simple, straightforward, positive discussion of the divine plan for human sexuality and marriage.

Talk about God’s good plan for human sexuality and marriage.

Talk about the first three chapters of Genesis and God’s creation of man and woman. Tell your kids what marriage is supposed to look like, how it works, and (if it seems appropriate) how babies are born. (Need a starting point? Check out the resources at the end of this article.)

Above all, clarify that He meant men to be men and women to be women. It might be helpful to say something like, There are other people who don’t see these things the same way we do — people like the teacher at your school. Those people are dealing with something that was never part of God’s plan, and we need to have compassion for them and pray for them. But we feel that it’s important for you to understand what we believe.

If you need help preparing for this discussion, we have two articles that may be especially helpful: Male and Female He Created Them and Talking to Your Children About Transgender Issues.

What about talking with school officials?

Handle this piece of the puzzle with great care. First, process your own emotions and make sure they’re under control. Then take time to research and understand the school’s protocol. Be ready to counteract any inaccurate information distributed to students by the administration.

Three free downloadable booklets you might find useful:

Bottom line: Be as diplomatic and non-confrontational as possible when talking with school staff. If the conversation includes any hostility, let it come from their side of the table. Show respect, and appeal to reason and logic. You can do all of this while staying true to your convictions.

In everything you do and say, model a Christ-like attitude. Conduct yourselves as ambassadors for Christ. We may not be able to avoid coming across as an “aroma of death leading to death” in the nostrils of some people (2 Corinthians 2:16). But that shouldn’t happen because we’re intentionally offending others with our responses and behavior.

If you’d like to discuss these recommendations in depth, call us for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our licensed or pastoral counselors would welcome the chance to talk with you.

 

Resources

Understanding the Myths of Gender Identity and Transgenderism

The Talk: Healthy Sex Education

Teach Your Children About Marriage Part 1

Teach Your Children About Marriage Part 2

Equipping Parents to Respond to Gender-Confusing Messages in Schools

Empowering Parents: A How-to Guide for Protecting Your Child’s Innocence and Your Family’s Values in Public Schools

Parent Resource Guide: Responding to the Transgender Issue

Transgender Resources

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