The calmness and comprehensiveness of this book sets it apartBookwatch, Latest Issue Thursday, April 13th, 2017
Your preschooler has always had an active imagination.
Flights of fancy and dress-up fill his days. She’s rough-and-tumble, a scrapper in her mind. Make-believe has always been a big part in your child’s life but now you’re hearing something you know in your heart is not pretend – and in the new book Raising the Transgender Child by Dr. Michele Angello and Alisa Bowman, you’ll find guidance for it.
In retrospect, you might’ve seen it coming: your child told you once that he was really a girl. Or she cried when you wouldn’t let her get a buzz-cut. You’ve suddenly realized, or your child has told you, that zie is gender-diverse. Either way, Angello and Bowman point out that few parents are immediately 100 percent prepared for raising a child like yours.
And so, you’re not alone. Others have raised transgender children before you, and have “blazed trails” already. Whatever you’re feeling is normal, as is worry. This confusion about gender dysphoria will “burn off.”
Now, there’s a term you might have heard while you’re doing research in print or online. There are many words you’ll want to know when raising a transgender child, in fact, starting with the difference between “sex” and “gender.” And by the way, as for shaky “studies” and online myths: put them aside.
There are many theories on “what leads to gender diversity,” and a lot of unknowns. Again, put any arguments away and ignore negativity; all kids are different, and so are their gender experiences. Is it worth obsessing over?
Probably not; you love your child regardless, so prepare yourself for a toe-dip into “social transition.” Talk with teachers and neighbors. Take steps to make relatives aware of new pronouns and appearance. Educate yourself on bathrooms, extracurricular sports and other legalities. Know when to ask for help, both financial and emotional. Remember that grief is common, and that your child may experience issues, too.
Finally, dare to dream again. Your child will grow up one day and, as the authors say, will eventually fall in love with “Someone wonderful and amazing …”
As the parent of a transgender child, you may think that all this is common-sense stuff you’ve heard before, and that may be so, but there’s a certain calmness inside Raising the Transgender Child that can’t be beat.
The other thing that sets this book apart is its comprehensiveness: authors Angello and Bowman seem to have thought of everything a parent or caregiver could need to know about present issues and what’s to come. It’s all easy to comprehend, too, and it covers children from small toddler to older teen. Particularly vexed parents will be happy to see that the authors even tackle the negative issues and emotions that may need to be heeded along this journey.
Whether you need it now, or you sense that you might later, Raising the Transgender Child is a good book to have in your parenting bag of tricks. For questioning children and families with questions, it’s more helpful, perhaps, than you can imagine.
Raising the Transgender Child
by Dr. Michele Angello and Alisa Bowman
© 2016 Seal Press
$17.00 / $24.50 Canada
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