As the news of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition spreads from newspapers to schoolyards, children are going to be asking a lot of questions about what it means to be transgender. Questions like this can be overwhelming for parents, many of whom may not be as knowledgeable on the topic as they’d like. Here are a few tips for talking to your child about what it means to be transgender.
1. Allow your child to ask questions
It is important that kids feel safe talking to their parents about topics that concern or confuse them. Depending on your child’s age, it might be a good idea to wait for your child to ask the question. Ask what he/she knows about this topic and try to figure out what information they already have and go from there.
2. Answer their questions
Always answer their questions, even if that means telling your child that you’ll have to get back to him/her with an answer. If you need more information on transgender issues check out gladd.org.
3. Answer their questions honestly
Kids are already getting a lot of messages from the media and their peers so it’s important to make sure you are talking to them to ensure that they get accurate information.
4. Gear your answers to your child’s age and development level
If your child is on the younger side, be prepared to repeat explanations and information because sometimes it is hard for children to accept or understand what you’re telling them.
5. Coordinate with your spouse
It’s always good to check in with your partner and make sure you are on the same page and telling your child the same thing.
6. Teach tolerance
Use this as an opportunity to talk to your child about kindness and acceptance and the value of treating people the way you want to be treated. It may help to explain to your child that people find happiness in different ways and that it is important that we are accepting of that.
For more parenting advice please visit childmind.org.