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Help with BIL , awkward question.

(13 Posts)
flossie64 Mon 13-Oct-08 10:25:01

Sorry in advance for my bumbling ignorance.
My BIL is starting a new life as a woman, I have no problem with this . People have to do what is right for them.
He is coming to visit us soon as a woman, not a problem in its self , but we have never seen him as such nor has my young DD . how can I explain to her when we don't even know what to expect ourselves.
My MIL will be here and she is finding it all very difficult and rings me for advice, I am at a loss as I have do not know anyone who has done this or knows someone.

Saturn74 Mon 13-Oct-08 10:34:36

How old is your DD?
Maybe you could speak to BIL and ask how he wants to broach the subject with her - whether to prepare her in advance for the fact that her uncle will look different, or whether to wait until he arrives and let her ask any questions directly.
I'd let him take the lead, and keep things as matter of fact as possible.

flossie64 Mon 13-Oct-08 10:42:05

My dd is 5.
We have spoken to him on the phone and he says he just wants to come as a woman. he rarley visits andthinks she will just accept it.
I know its what he wants ,but there is a niggle inside me thinking its a bit unreasonable just to turn up here as a different person. IYSWIM
He gave us a web address to get info ,but their FAq's are not any use and it would be over the head of a child. Also helpline is always busy so I cannot get through to speak to anyone.
I was very worried about posting on this subject as I thought it would be taken wrongly.

Dropdeadfred Mon 13-Oct-08 10:44:21

Hmmm...could go either way...children can be very simplistic and accepting.
However they can also process a lot of thoughts internally and could be worried that you or her dad could suddenly dicde to 'change'.

if you're not sure then make sure she is out when he comes round..

Haylstones Mon 13-Oct-08 10:47:09

The only thing I can think of to say is that gilrs of that age (I have on) ask LOTS of questions and are accepting of change. She might well be able to ask enough questions to satisfy her own curiosity leaving you/BIL to clear up any confusion. Is he happy to talk to her about it? Personally I wouldn't make a big deal of it other than saying BIL would look a bit different next time she sees him and he has a new name but I could be waaaay off the mark!

flossie64 Mon 13-Oct-08 10:47:13

Ddf- that may be a little diffcult he's coming to stay for a weekend.
The sad ting is I really think we need to give him loads of support , but haven't a clue where to begin.

pofaced Mon 13-Oct-08 10:49:24

I've no experience of this but think you do need to tell her something as she might be a little taken aback to find Uncle david turned into Auntie Diana... I think at 5 they have very definite view of male/ female.

I remember Child Of Our Time (Robert Winston series) explaining this at the same time as my 5 year old DD had told me not to buy her dad a pink shirt "because all his friends would laugh at him"! Her dad cooks, cleans, doesn't play football (ie not stereo typically "male")and wears lots of pink but she still had a definite view at that age

PonderingThoughts Mon 13-Oct-08 10:52:00

I think the fact that you are seeking help/advise about this shows how supportive and understanding you are being. Your BIL is lucky to have you.

You can tell from your posts that you are not wanting your concern to be taken wrongly.

My honest opinion is that I would want to prep DD beforehand. It's good that you've asked BIL's opinion but his respnse sugests to me that he maybe doesn't nderstand the working's of a 5YO's mind as well as you (her mother!) does.

Never been in this situation, so I'm not sure I'm a whole lot of help, but my take on it would be to have a word with DD, keep it light and simple and 'matter-of-fact' and she will see that if it is acceptable to you then it's ok & nothing to worry about.

I'd also explain that BIL needs you all to be supportive and kind and give lots of love etc.

Good luck x

flossie64 Mon 13-Oct-08 10:53:33

She is very into how everyone has their place in the world and knkows how we are all placed within the family ,so this will definately cause a mountain of questions which I will struggle to answer.
God I sound so uncaring. sad

slayerette Mon 13-Oct-08 10:59:35

You don't sound uncaring at all; you sound very thoughtful and supportive. Your BIL is lucky to have you.

Children can be very matter of fact about things. I always think of Phoebe's song in Friends - 'Sometimes men love women, sometimes men love men...' Sometimes children are really that straightforward!

Can you chat to her about how sometimes people feel that they are in the wrong body and that although on the outside BIL looks/ed like a boy, inside he feels like a girl and likes pink, etc (use things that your DD connects with being a girl). Ask her if she would like to look/dress like a boy and if she says 'No', explain that BIL feels the same way. She will have questions but you might be surprised by how ready she is to deal with the essential concept.

Dropdeadfred Mon 13-Oct-08 11:00:01

uncaring to who? your main responsibility is to your dd...

you do need to say something to her..i would tell her the truth..BIL was not happy being a man so the doctors are going to help him change into a lady

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Mon 13-Oct-08 11:00:56

Reading this I thought of my 5 year old dd and some situations although not the same we have been is as a family. My dd sounds very like yours in her views of how everyone is placed in the world etc. I honestly think she will surprise you.
I agree maybe being as simple as Uncle x will look a bit different when he comes should probably suffice if she asks how just say he will look like a woman. I also think leaving telling her that until the last possible moment may be a good idea as it gives her less time to think up questions in her head that you are unable to answer and let thos questions be amswered when and if they come up.

I do believe you will be surprised at how simple the explanations you will need to give are I think she will be far more accepting than you think because often in these type of situations we worry and put lots of adult thoughts and scenarios onto it where as in reality the children see it in a far simpler light.

flossie64 Mon 13-Oct-08 11:09:17

Thank you all for your replies.It is something that adults struggle with more than children in many ways .
I thought everyone may think I was being over dramatic.

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