When gender realization occurs

How do parents recognize gender-nonconformities in their child. Clinical psychologist Diane Ehrensaft, PhD reminds parents to be patient and understanding, as well as adding many more helpful tips.
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When gender realization occurs

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A lot of parents wonder, when they have a cross-dressing child, at what age should I take this as a sign that I can now know if they are gender-bending, transgender, gay? My answer to that question is, at any age it can be an indicator, but as parents and professionals, we may not know yet. Some kids, for example, don't show any signs of cross-dressing, gender-bending, a variant of gender conformity, gender non-conforming; and all of a sudden during adolescence they announce, "Guess what? I'm transgender." They begin cross-dressing then. So they begin in their adolescence. Some children as young as two begin cross-dressing, and that may, indeed, be an early sign if it goes along with, "I am a" fill in the blank of the opposite sex. It depends on if they are insistent, persistent, and consistent over time. We will know that, yes, that is an indicator as early as age two, that this is a cross-dressing child. Our role as parents, teachers, professionals is to listen, wait, be patient, until we all know. I have to say at any age in childhood, it may be an indicator.

How do parents recognize gender-nonconformities in their child. Clinical psychologist Diane Ehrensaft, PhD reminds parents to be patient and understanding, as well as adding many more helpful tips.

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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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