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This board exists primarily for parents of LGBT children to swap support and advice. Others are welcome to post but please be supportive.

My 11 yo wants to be a boy
39

mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 11:15

My 11 year old daughter has been a bit distant recently.

I put it down to friendship problems as she had had a sort of falling out with a girl in her class. They just weren't getting along anymore.

Then one day she sent me a message saying she was transgender felt horrid in her body and was miserable.

I straight away was full supportive said I'd love her no matter what all I want is her/him to feel comfortable.

We have started trying to use he/him pronouns.
Their is a new name on the cards trying to remember to use it.
Haircut booked in a few weeks.

Basically trying to facilitate this as much a possible.

But I feel like I don't really know what to do for the best?
He hates his body, doesn't like to shower due to breasts etc.

I just don't really know where to go from here, I want to support him and make him feel good but I have no idea what to do?

Has anyone else got experience with this that could help me make sure I'm doing what is right by my child?

Much much appreciated.

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Hellocatshome · 30/08/2021 11:29

What people think is right will be wildly different. For me I would have taken time to explore why she felt like that, how long she had felt like that, some sessions with a counsellor before changing names, having hair cuts etc.

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Carboncheque · 30/08/2021 11:40

Hitting puberty is a lot of changes to cope with at once. Periods, body shape, the rush of hormones, the move to ‘big’ school and changing friendships. Some girls are already practically teenaged in their interests and habits and others are very much still children. Lots of girls hate their bodies and particularly their breasts at that age.

I’d just take things very slowly and give them a lot of love. They’re obviously very unhappy at the moment.

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donquixotedelamancha · 30/08/2021 11:58

Has anyone else got experience with this

Yes, both family and professionally- but like any rando on the internet I'm not a psychiatrist in this area and (if it gets that far) you need professional medical treatment.

We have started trying to use he/him pronouns.

Genuine question: why?

You don't even have a diagnosis of GD, let alone a specialist recommending social transition as treatment. Telling them they can just be a boy seems a damaging choice to make (not meant as criticism- I appreciate it's very difficult and there are people online advocating this). I don't see why you would have a go a psychiatric interventions with a child off your own bat.

I would start with the same basic parenting you do in any other situation where your child feels self concious:

  • Reassure them that it's normal, perhaps talk about how you felt in puberty.
  • Let them cut their hair, change their name or whatever. Emphasise that that doesn't change who they are.
  • Make sure they self care, don't let them opt out of washing.
  • Do things which build body confidence and resilience. Go for walks or swimming. Get a comfy bra, or don't use one if it isn't needed.
  • Make sure they've got a good factual understanding of basic sex education (don't forget contraception).
  • Challenge any stereotypes they have about how girls and boys behave.

    Where is this stuff coming from? I assume you monitor their internet activity at that age- is that part of it? Don't be afraid to cut access to anything unhealthy.

    Give it time, normality, reassurance and shit loads of love before you start medicalising their worries.
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donquixotedelamancha · 30/08/2021 11:59

Let them cut their hair, change their name or whatever. Emphasise that that doesn't change who they are.

Just to be clear, I mean experiment with names- not some sort of legal or permanent change at this age.

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titchy · 30/08/2021 12:04

The vast majority of 11 year old girls hate their breasts, hate periods, hate being female. Puberty's shit for girls, doesn't mean your dd is a boy. They need reassurance that their feelings are normal but don't indicate GD.

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:11

My child says that can't stand being referred to as daughter she or girl.

I have said we are just trying on being a boy.
My child has wanted a short hair cut for a long time.

I'm not trying to medicalise anything I genuinely want to love a support but I have no idea what to do.

My child is very mature for 11 understands sex education very well.

My child is telling me they are miserable in their body and wants to be a boy. I have always raised my children to be gender neutral.

My child's feeling on this are very strong

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Hellocatshome · 30/08/2021 12:31

My child's feeling on this are very strong

For how long? Your OP mentions she only seemed distant and only told you recently.

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DameAlyson · 30/08/2021 12:38

My child has wanted a short hair cut for a long time

So why hasn't s/he had one? Other than lockdown - and hairdressers have been open for months now - what is the reason why you didn't arrange it when s/he first asked?

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Millionnewnames · 30/08/2021 12:39

I felt exactly the same from 8/9 and dressed as a boy. It was easy for me as I had a brother in the year above so rich pickings for hand-me downs and no one cared as I was just considered a Tom boy. After a couple years of bare knuckle fights, driving dirt bikes round the fields and smoking roll ups down air raid bunkers I developed a sex drive and started fancying the boys I was knocking about with. Soon found myself morphing back into a girl then!
If your daughter is gay or if this is more than a ‘I don’t fancying being a woman ‘ episode. They have all the time in the world to make their minds up. It’s unhealthy to focus so entirely on gender and who they are at such a young age . They should be getting stuck into whatever hobbies and adventures appeal . I suggest a wardrobe top up of androgynous clothing and try to let it be a non issue for a while. Too early IMO for anything to stick .

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:40

She's been more distant recently as her feelings have obviously gotten stronger.

The dislike of her body was around before the boobs. I thought she just lacked confidence.

She states she feels not right in her body.
She wears baggy clothes to hide her boobs.
Has wanted a "boy cut" for a long time.

Her feelings on this are her feelings which I am trying to respect.

I'm scared if I don't support this she may end up with mental Heath problems as at times she does seem to get extremely down

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:42

We haven't done the haircut previously as I thought she might not like it as it's a bit drastic.
Her hair was cut to almost a Bob last month to ease the process but now she wants full boy cut

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LittleBearPad · 30/08/2021 12:42

Can she explain why ‘being a boy’ is better?

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worriedatthemoment · 30/08/2021 12:42

If you have raised as gender neutral then why is it a boy cut ? Girls can and do have short hair also , just as some boys have long

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:44

I know she has all the time in the world but if she feels upset by being called female won't I make it worse by keeping on doing it.
I've spoke in length about body changes and feelings but it doesn't seem to be enough she strongly believes she isn't in the right body.

I'm not looking to make permenant changes to her gender just now.
But I though if I allowed her to try on being a boy and supported that maybe she would realise this isn't for me or maybe she would flourish.

Tbh once she had "came out" she really looked like a huge weight had been lifted from her.

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worriedatthemoment · 30/08/2021 12:44

But surely this is a must to go get professional help and advice , they are trained. Anyone on here could give advice but it nay not be right or suitable in your childs circumstances

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:44

She says boy cut.
I always state their is no such thing as boys things/girls things

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mumfirst21 · 30/08/2021 12:45

But what kind of professional?
Who do I go to?

And how do I go about it without seeming like I'm saying it's a problem

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FreeBritnee · 30/08/2021 12:47

The issue you have now is you’ve accepted the beginnings of this road and of course the next step will be binding, then medication and so on. I completely understand the want to #bekind and accepting but sadly there’s a whole industry behind this now. It’s not just a tattoo and a piercing, it’s hormones and surgery and potentially a lifetime of regret.

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Greygreenblue · 30/08/2021 12:49

I think this Is above the internet’s pay grade. You need to seek professional guidance on how to handle this. But it sounds like you are supporting them to explore who they are/no matter who they are and that has to be a good start.

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Whatsnewpussyhat · 30/08/2021 13:02

I'm scared if I don't support this she may end up with mental Heath problems as at times she does seem to get extremely down

With all due respect, she already has mental health problems, which are manifesting themselves in this body hatred.

Your child can never be a boy.
The most kind and healthy thing would be for them to learn to accept that fact. How they dress or present is irrelevant. It might just be a way to make themselves feel 'safe' whilst they mature.

I'd also be monitoring their internet use very closely.

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donquixotedelamancha · 30/08/2021 13:08

But what kind of professional? Who do I go to? And how do I go about it without seeming like I'm saying it's a problem

It's only a problem if your child is distressed. Like many childhood difficulties, sometimes it's not helpful to seek medical advice and sometimes you need to ask for help. You are not goign to be judged for asking for help.

In the first instance you would speak to your GP and then probably be referred to CAHMS. In a situation where GD seems likely and a child is in significant distress they'd refer to GIDS.

I though if I allowed her to try on being a boy and supported that maybe she would realise this isn't for me or maybe she would flourish.

I think that's a perfectly reasonable approach and it's clear you are doing the best you can. See how this approach goes for a while. There is no rush- as PPs have said feelings of body anxiety and even Gender Dysphoria are not uncommon at that age and can resolve.

You can encourage behaviours which make her feel better, and avoid upsetting her by banging on, without agreeing with her that she's a boy or using male pronouns e.g. loads of girls have shaved or short hair.

I would really look at where this idea is coming from and whether all her social input is healthy.

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GCITC · 30/08/2021 13:18

If all these issues stem from a hating of the body, how does your child think having a short haircut, new name and pronouns is going to fix any of those issues?

What you need to do is ask these sorts of questions. Find out the basis of these issues, what is causing them and how can they be addressed.

Remember that is is quite normal to hate one's body when going through puberty. It is not a pleasant stage in life but one that is necessary.

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NewlyGranny · 30/08/2021 13:41

Beware of the gender professionals who are mostly programmed to affirm without question. There isn't much support to be had there if you want to get your child help to explore their feelings, only if you want her medicalised without delay.

The assurance you've given of your unstinting love and support is the best response ever. If you possibly can, build in lots of wriggle room so a change of heart and mind can happen without loss of face or the DC feeling painted into a corner.

At DC's age, you should have lots of control over access to internet and social media. There is a huge amount of online influence around gender identity and children are so vulnerable. Limiting time online, vetting the sites visited and generally encouraging more engagement in real activities in the real world can only be healthy. Predatory adults are very busy amongst gender questioning children - all children really - and at 11 a child does not have the life experience to protect them. That's the parents' job. There are people out there keen to be your child's "glitter family" and convince them that you are the enemy.

Female puberty has never been more fraught and these days there are the chemical means to dodge it completely. The true price is paid much further down the line. Girls who go the puberty blocker, cross-sex hormone route are potentially destroying their future adult sexual function and fertility. That won't bother an 11yo who won't begin to understand the implications (who thinks about having orgasms or babies at 11?) but adults know.

Lots of listening and watchful waiting is in order, while holding back on drugs as long as possible. If you can all wait, 70% of girls get through their fears and are happy as you g women.

Her hairstyle, clothing etc is whatever she prefers - those are just gender socialisation and only skin deep.

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Branleuse · 30/08/2021 13:48

your child is a child. Nothing wrong with having short hair and wearing more practical clothes, and lots of people like to disguise their breasts and body shape. It sounds like youve gone very full on though. Could you just tell them that its absolutely fine to get short hair and a new wardrobe of more practical androgynous clothes, but to be careful about doing anything with long term affects, as this is something that a lot of kids go through, and these days there is the added pressure of the internet and social pressure for anyone that feels a bit non-conforming with regards to gender stereotypes, to put this down to being born in the wrong body or your gender being wrong.
Its important to let kids be themselves and work through these things, but if youre telling your kid they can be a boy if they want, then youre not really being true with her

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NewlyGranny · 30/08/2021 13:53

The body your child has is the only one available! It can't be "wrong" and it can't actually ever become a boy's body. It can be messed about with and damaged, though. Beware the lure of magical thinking that treats flesh and blood like an avatar. And do be clear with your child about the difference between sex (m or f in humans) and gender which is largely socialisation, varies across cultures and centuries and is often used to pressure people to conform to restrictive stereotypes their personality and interests may not fit.

Your child has a unique personality; do everything in your power to let her grow into it happily. Your gender-free approach was the best start you could possibly have given. The narrow ideas of what girls and boys can/should be or do, or not, that are troubling your child are clearly not coming from you!

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