Siblings of a transgender child

How can you help and support the sibling(s) of a transgender child? Diane Ehrensaft, PhD has spent much of her successful career helping parents and family members learn how to deal with these challenges.
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Siblings of a transgender child

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What about a sibling of a transgender or gender non-conforming child? Johnny has a brother, Charlie. Charlie wears dressed to school. Johnny's friends come up and say, "What is with your brother in a dress? What kind of freaks live in your house?" Johnny needs help both with his own feelings and how to deal with the world that comes to him because of his sibling's gender non-conforming behaviors. We often forget about the siblings. Often all of the attention is on supporting the transgender or gender non-conforming or -- unfortunately, in some families -- policing that child. The siblings are pushed to the side. I can't underline enough how important it is to spend time with siblings to find out how they feel. To give room to whatever feelings they may have, but also give them a message that support, like anything else, starts in the home. You must be kind and considerate of the sibling. We will help you with any questions that make you feel uncomfortable. It is important that the siblings of the transgender or gender non-conforming feel as supported as the transgender or gender non-conforming child.

How can you help and support the sibling(s) of a transgender child? Diane Ehrensaft, PhD has spent much of her successful career helping parents and family members learn how to deal with these challenges.

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Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD is a developmental and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. She is a parenting expert and also specializes in gender studies and psychotherapy and consultation with gender nonconforming children and their families. She is the author of Gender Born, Gender Made:  Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children; Mommies Daddies, Donors, Surrogates, Building a Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman), Spoiling Childhood, and Parenting Together. Dr. Ehrensaft has made many media appearances, most recently the Anderson Cooper Day show, and has presented and published both nationally and internationally on the subjects of parenting, child development, assisted reproductive technology, and children’s gender development and gender nonconformity.

Dr. Ehrensaft is the Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a University of California San Francisco-community partnership offering interdisciplinary services to gender conforming children and youth and their families, as well as the psychologist at the UCSF Gender Clinic.

She serves on the faculty of The University of California and is a founding member of A Home Within, a national non-profit organization serving the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care.

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