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Help! My Child Wants to be the Opposite Sex

When you experience the heart-breaking struggle of your child wanting to be the opposite sex, hold fast to truth and grace.

Transgenderism, in particular a child who wants to be the opposite sex, is on the rise. Most people know of at least one person who claims to be transgender.

Gender dysphoria or gender identity confusion is one of the most gut wrenching parental challenges to face. I know the pain of gender dysphoria, my eldest child wrestles with and sometimes fully embraces transgenderism.

Do you agonize, wondering, what have I done wrong? How did this happen? How can I love my child and honor the Lord? Why won’t God fix this?

I do. I have.

A lot of parental guilt, suffering, shame, and confusion is wrapped around a child who experiences gender confusion.

We want to know why.

We wonder who is to blame.

Why is My Child Struggling with Transgenderism?

Psychological, emotional, physical, relational, societal, and spiritual components can all play a role in gender identity confusion.

Because there are so many facets to the why, it is unlikely we will be able to fully pinpoint one reason. So rather than getting stuck in why this happening, perhaps we need to ask a different question.

How? How can I help my child with gender identity confusion?

1. Suffering and Compassion

Suffering comes to us in various forms. Sometimes suffering comes via innocent means such as health issues, job loss, or death. And other times suffering results from our sinful choices or someone else’s sinful choices.

Like you, I want to help my child.

And (I hate to admit this) but there are times I feel angry over the suffering, hurt, or embarrassment my child’s struggle has caused me:

  • If only she would grow out her hair
  • If only she would wear a bra
  • If only she would wear hoop earrings
  • If only she would wear women’s clothes
  • If only she would ditch the baseball cap

But the “If only’s” are only external.

It helps to remember, she is suffering too. While others do embrace transgenderism as a part of cultural diversity. She doesn’t want this.

Gender identity disorder has come into her life because of a variety of painful personal experiences. The events run so deep and wide that she thinks she has always struggled with being a girl. She believes presenting herself in a masculine fashion is the solution to her pain.

Compassion is the response to suffering.

It moves us to push through the shame and focuses our energy on what our child needs—unconditional love.

2. Grace and Truth

Unconditional love is grace and truth. Our kids need us to respond with both.

This is the most difficult tightrope to walk. No matter how they present themselves, they need to know we will never reject them. Even if we don’t agree with certain decisions, our love remains.

Truth Expressed: God created man and woman. He created each person on purpose with a purpose. He did not make a mistake. Even if you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, it is your skin.

Grace Given: God loves everyone. In fact, each of us is worth dying for.

Close up of a young, pensive Asian woman listening to someone talking to her on her phone

Talk to a Counselor

If you need further guidance and encouragement, we have a staff of licensed, professional counselors who offer a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They can also refer you to counselors in your area for ongoing assistance.
Reach a counselor toll-free at 1-855-771-HELP (4357).

3. Communication

The way we talk to and with our loved ones matters. Our tone and words are powerful. They can bless or they can curse.

  • Dialogue rather than debate. Conversation is a two-way street. Both parties need respect each other. And if necessary, agree to disagree. We do not have to compromise our convictions.
  • Listen rather than lecture. Ask them to tell you their story. Listen to their heart. Ask for permission to express your perspective or to advise your young adult.
  • Affirm rather than argue. Speak life by affirming your daughter’s femininity or your son’s masculinity. Ask dad to open the door for your daughter before she gets in the car. Have your son take part in fixing things around the house.
  • Connect through kindness. Kindness draws us to the Lord and to each other. Even in difficult times, be kind. There is a person who is hurting right in front of you.
  • Scrap the stereotypes. Why can’t a man be gentle? Why can’t a woman be powerful? Our kids can be who God created them to be and live in the body God gave them.

4. Boundaries

Compassion and good communication techniques will help maintain relationships. A line in the sand also needs to be drawn when behavior butts up against beliefs. It is up to each parent to decide what that line is.

Because God picked you to be the parent for your child, you are the most qualified person to determine the line.

Many young people with gender dysphoria are being coached by those with a transgender agenda. They are being told people (particularly their parents) must use their new pronouns and new name (not their “deadname” a term used by the transgender community that refers to their birth name) or all communication will be cut off.

Some parents are being asked to pay for hormone treatments and surgeries. Many parents comply with these wishes because they fear losing their child.

I will share our line in the sand.

We will not use another name, different pronouns, and we will not financially contribute to any surgeries or hormone therapy. Our daughter currently lives at home, so another boundary we have established is no male cologne.

My daughter has also created boundaries for me.

When we go out to eat, I do not discuss how she can adjust her style. She wants to keep our outings fun.

5. Prayer

Prayer is where the “Why?” comes into play.

For your child:

“Lord, reveal to (my child) the reason for this identity struggle. Move (name) to become whole and healed. So (name) can be the person You created them to be. Amen.”

For you:

“Father, give me eyes to see my loved one the way You do. Use me to draw them draw closer to You. Amen”

Suggestions

Prior to writing this article I talked with my daughter, Courtney, about its contents. I asked her what things would be helpful for parents who have kids who struggle with the bodies God gave them.

“My advice would be to love them, support them, but not go against your beliefs and convictions with God, to not scare them away, to allow them to express themselves in a healthy way, keep on reminding them they are a child of God. Never give up on your child/children. You may not agree, but I urge you to respect them. Just be patient with them, don’t be mad or frustrated, let them come to you, don’t nitpick on their lives that would only create a wedge between you.

 As far as them wanting surgery or hormones or both, do not under any circumstances freak out, get pi**ed, get in a rage, or anything like that. Sit down with them and let them talk. For me, years ago, I said that I wasn’t going under the knife. Has that changed for me? Maybe. But that is something now as an adult I know I need to take it to God, He and I will have that chat.”
—Courtney

Moms and dads, I am so sorry you are on this journey.

Please know you are not alone.

Why won’t God fix this? I do not know. Is it because this is a necessary part of our kid’s spiritual journey? Could it be that this will also be a part of our spiritual development? Is this a time to gain love and compassion and learn how to express both grace and truth?

Have Hope

Ultimately, transgenderism is a spiritual battle. Rather than wring our hands in anguish, we must fold them in prayer. It is time to fight on our knees for our kids and for this generation.

God is with us. Have hope.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

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