How to Support Parents of Transgender Kids in the Community

While the stigma surrounding transgender youth is slowly lifting, it still exists. Trans kids and teens need their parents and allies to listen, learn, and be the gender-affirming caregivers they need throughout their transition. If you are or know a parent who has a trans kid, being supportive is crucial. Here is how you can do that.

How to Support Parents of Transgender Kids in the Community
How to Support Parents of Transgender Kids in the Community

Ask Questions

The best way to help a parent with a trans kid is to go to them and ask questions. Instead of making up your mind with bits and pieces of information you “heard somewhere,” go straight to the source. Share your reservations, express your concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. Of course, not all parents will be open to discussing their transgender kid with you, but that’s why you need to ask them and build the conversation from there.

Be the Ally That Trans Kids Need

Parents of transgender kids, much like the kids themselves, need to be seen, heard, and respected. The last thing they need or want is to be questioned or belittled. These parents are already experiencing an immense amount of adversity, often even from their own family, so they need people in their corner as they’re facing criticism from others. It’s not an easy role, but it’s an essential part of helping trans youth and their parents on this transition journey.

How to Support Parents of Transgender Kids in the Community

Don’t Ask Transgender Kids to Explain Themselves

When talking to a trans person, especially a kid, don’t attempt to deliberate your reservations with them. Transgender people don’t have to justify themselves, and asking a trans kid to do it is the opposite of helping. Any reservations or concerns you might have, you need to discuss with the parent. No child should ever feel invalidated or have a loved one question their existence. Remember, you’re their friend and ally, and it’s your role to protect them from unnecessary burdens and discomfort. They already get that from society.

A Grandmother Might Be More Connected to Grandchildren Than Children, Study Finds

People often note that their own mothers like their kids more than they like them, and that seems to have been validated by a team of researchers who were looking into the matter. Apparently, a grandmother would naturally feel more empathy for her grandchildren than her own children.

Any Grandmother Is Naturally Compelled to Like Her Grandchildren

A grandmother with her grandchild The fact that grandparents relish the opportunity to have extra-special relationships with their grandchildren is nothing surprising. According to the new study, a grandmother will naturally feel more connected with her grandchildren than with her own kids. To come to that conclusion, James Rilling, who led the study, recruited 50 women with at least one grandchild aged 3 to 12. The women were given photos of their grandchild, child, and something unrelated, and then the researchers used MRIs to scan their brains.

A Grandmother Would Feel More Emotional Empathy to Their Grandchildren

It turns out that when grandmothers viewed photos of their grandchildren, they activated brain regions that are associated with emotional empathy, showing that a grandmother may be predisposed to share her grandchildren’s emotional states. Meanwhile, photos of the women’s own children activated other areas of the brain that are linked to cognitive empathy, showing that there is more of a mental understanding of their child and less of an emotional one.

A grandmother with her daughter and grandchildRilling, who is a professor of anthropology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences, has previously done a similar study asking fathers to look at photos of their kids. Apparently, grandmothers have more emotional empathy and motivation than fathers, although that is not true for every case.

While the new study has given scientists a good insight into human mentality and physiology, family relationships can differ drastically and depend on many factors, so every family has different grandparent-parent-grandchildren dynamics. Some studies even show how grandparents with outdated health guidance who participate actively in the raising of the child could be unknowingly harming their grandchildren. Still, having a grandparent who is involved in a child’s life is a blessing for most parents.