What will you do if your child comes and says, "I don't want to be a boy any more. I'm a girl!" While it may be difficult for you to even comprehend the situation and choose the appropriate response, you surely do not need to do one thing - change the subject.
Try instead to comfort and support them for their physical and mental wellbeing in long run. According to researchers from Netherland, parents should be prepared as the childhood transgender world is fraught with conflicting opinions, approaches and treatments.
‘Children, who feel they're in the wrong body from an early age, have access to the internet and can accumulate a lot of information by the time they speak to you.’
This means you have to subordinate your own feelings in a way that few parents ever have to and concentrate entirely on the physical and mental wellbeing of your child. There has been an increase in gender dysphoria - from 30 cases a year in 1998 to 96 in 2009, 897 in 2014 and 1,419 this year, according to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
Children, who feel they're in the wrong body from an early age, have access to the internet and can accumulate a lot of information by the time they speak to you. So you must gen up. "Having said that, looking back at your child's growing up you'll probably find some early signs - a boy insisting on wearing dresses from the age of two or three or a little girl demanding boys' clothes," said Dr. Polly Carmichael from GIDS.
"When it comes to testing, you may find your child is hormonally the gender they don't want to be," he added. Dr. Helen Webberley, a General Practioner in Wales, has made a special study of gender dysphoria and seems to be ahead of the curve in treating children. The NHS does not approve of hormone-blocking drugs before the age of 16 - too late, according to specialists and parents.