Support for parents of a trans teen

How Do I Support Parents That I Fundamentally Disagree With?

The Healthy Family Connections Podcast

Episode 226 · Duration: 00:20:07

In this episode Neil, along with his co-host Robin, responds to a therapist working with a teenager who, previously male, is now identifying as female, and parents who don’t accept this change and consider it sinful. Parents were reported to Child Protective Services and referred to this therapist for counseling. The therapist wants to learn how to help the parents be more open and supportive of their youth.

Simone from Kansas City, MO writes: 

Dear Neil,

I’m a therapist working with a family that I could use your input on.  A 16 year old teenager, now my client, complained to their school counselor that their parents won’t accept that they are identifying as female. They complained that their parents make comments against them and make racist comments about their friends as well. The school counselor reported it to Child Protective Services as emotional abuse, and social services referred this youth and their parents to my counseling agency. The teenager wants to move out and the parents won’t support that. In addition, this youth is nearly failing in school. They complain that they have a hard time concentrating because of all the stress in the home. 

I pretty much understand things from the teenager’s point of view and have a hard time knowing how to confront the parents about their attitude towards their daughter and their friends.  The parents are very involved with their church and believe their teen’s behavior is sinful. How do I support parental hierarchy when parents are treating their teen so abusively? If I confront them directly, I’m sure they’ll give up on counseling. Any advice would be welcome.

Regardless of the issue at hand, the therapist needs to look at the family dynamic as a whole and help them get on a healthy path forward. Neil offers strategies that support both parents and the teenager. 

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Posted in Families, Social Issues, Teenagers.