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The bombshell..

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by Oahu, May 11, 2015.

  1. Oahu

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    My 14 year old daughter dropped a Bombshell on us a few weeks ago that she is a gay transgender male. This news completely caught my husband and I by surprise. We are supporting her as best we can, even through the rash of questions and what not that we have. Our problem is that she is lying to everyone possible about things. When she Told us her situation she asked for a counselor to speak to. We tracked down a certified LGBT counselor for her that isn't covered by insurance. We are paying $100 for each session. She turned around and told her friends (I read it on her phone) that she was pissed at her father and I for forcing her to go. I was baffled. She also asked me to take her dress shopping for a school dance. I told her we would go after school. That same afternoon she also told her friends she was mad at me because I was making her wear a dress to the dance. We are really trying to be supportive as possible but she is making it really hard to trust what she's saying. So confused!!!
     
  2. phoenix89

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    Your Child is going through a huge process right now. If there is anger about the therapy sessions until they are ready to go. Do you have any one to help you process this? It is a transition for both you and your child. We are here to help both of you.
     
  3. Oahu

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    That's what is so confusing. She is a completely different person to her friends than she is with us. She has straight A's. Is in choir, orchestra, volunteers at school, etc. After LooKing at her phone she was telling her friends how she was so depressed. She almost seems bipolar to be honest. She's always excited (towards us anyways) to go to counseling so reading that we are the ones making her go floored us. And when I confronted her about the dress thing she shrugged her shoulders at me.
     
  4. Sounds like he's struggling quite a bit. Without knowing much about the situation, it might be the case that the "lying" is down to him feeling that his feelings are being invalidated by his parents, then trying to square a circle and avoid confrontation by telling you what he assumes you want to hear. He's not able to make all of this stuff go away - however convenient that might be - he's having to deal with it in the only way he knows how.

    Whether that's the case, or not, is actually not that important - what matters most to you (I imagine) is not whether your child is a boy or a girl, but whether they are happy.

    To figure out a way forward, it might be an idea to disregard the "lying" stuff - and focus on what can be done to make things easier for him.

    Using his desired pronouns might be something that is important to him, for example.

    All in all, I'd cut yourself some slack. You've been plunged into a situation you didn't anticipate and while this stuff has probably been going through his head (on some level) for years, it's all very new to you. You might not have all the answers, and that's ok. Just make clear to him that you're prepared to learn, and change things if necessary - and that above all you love him.
     
    #4 uniqueusername3, May 11, 2015
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  5. Also, one other point - your child might not be unusual in saying different things to his friends vs his parents. The internet/mobile phones etc provide a way for parents to peek into their childrens social lives in a way that previous generations of parents never had.

    Do you really think, age 14, you were completely honest about everything that went on in your life with your parents? It would be nice to think so, but I assume, if you're anything like me, then you probably stretched the truth sometimes (within limits), did stuff that your parents never found out about (that you later regretted) etc etc. But we turned out ok in the end, didn't we? :slight_smile:

    I don't know - I guess what I'm saying boils down to my realisation that us human beings can, unfortunately, be a little inconsistent - we can think different things at different times and sometimes say stuff about people that we don't feel able to say directly to their faces. This is especially the case with emotionally complex things like sexuality/gender identity/family/romantic relationships.

    In the past we could rely on privacy & confidentiality to hide this stuff - trust people not to tell others etc - but with the internet, parental controls, text message logs etc, this stuff gets recorded.

    It might be best for you not to look at his private communications, if you don't want to be offended :slight_smile:

    ---------- Post added 11th May 2015 at 07:23 PM ----------

    Just finally - you can be pretty proud of your son for *not* lying too.

    He's done something pretty incredible by opening up to you about his gender - something that he could have kept hidden away, silently suffering for a whole lifetime.

    Confronting this stuff at puberty is undoubtedly healthy for him in the long run.
     
    #5 uniqueusername3, May 11, 2015
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  6. Oahu

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    The phone is no longer an issue :slight_smile: it was taken away due to her (I still call her "her" because she hasn't asked us otherwise, and I'm not sure I'm ready to take that step yet) having highly inappropriate conversations on it. Also that she was staying up until 5-6 am on school nights watching Netflix. I Lived at 14 without a phone, so can she. :slight_smile:
     
  7. sappho06

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    I'm sorry, but why do you go through your child's phone?
    I'm just a kid myself, but I believe that we are allowed to our own privacy and that the conversations we have with our friends are private.
    They are obviously struggling with the whole coming out process. Are their friends aware of the situation? Maybe they are blaming it on you because they aren't ready to be open about everything with their peers.
    A child's relationship with a parent is very different from the friendships with people of the same age. I'm insisting on this point because I think it's important that you listen to what they are willing to tell you. I feel a bit uncomfortable about writing this to someone who could be my own parent, and I apologise if it was a bit rude.

    I hope it all goes for the best
     
  8. That might sound reasonable to you - but it will probably seem unreasonable to him.

    A better comparison might be if you remember having something taken away from you as a kid - something that everyone else had, but you all of a sudden didn't have.

    For me, that was the family tv (age 10). My dad decided we were all watching too much tv, so took the family tv outside and smashed it. No TV for me for the next year. His justification was nothing more than his anger that his kids weren't turning out the way he wanted them to. I watched no more tv that my friends (probably a fair bit less, actually) - but in my dads world, the tv was to blame for me (and my brother) not being the type of children he wanted. He didn't have a tv for his upbringing, we could do without one too. All of my friends watched tv, playground conversation would be about the popular soaps and I was left utterly ostracised and friendless.

    What was logical, reasonable and sensible in my dad's world seemed utterly unfair in my world. It led to a lot of resentment and me bitching behind his back. I know it sounds stupid, now that I'm an adult, but I'm still not sure I forgive him for that.

    Perhaps you can think of a situation in your childhood where your parents did something *really* unfair? They may have had the best of intentions, but they still got it wrong.

    I can't tell you how to be a parent - I'm sure it's a damn hard job at the best of times, but I do know that the world is moving faster and faster - and parents experiences of their own childhood are becoming less and less useful as a guide to bringing up the next generation.
     
    #8 uniqueusername3, May 11, 2015
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  9. Oahu

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    Her phone was taken away because she was using it to sext a 19 year old boy. The phone was taken away before it went further than that. All other situations aside, I won't apologize for that.

    As far as the snooping of her phone, she had already been caught once using it for the same thing. She was warned that the next time it happened she would lose the phone for good. When it comes to that, no, she doesn't have the right to privacy. I had never questioned her about anything she told her friends or conversations she had with them prior to finding out about the cybering but at 14, those conversations were inappropriate.
     
  10. I'm not going to argue with you on what is reasonable and what isn't - that relationship does sound inappropriate to me and if I was a parent, I'd also want to nip it in the bud.

    But I'd also want to know why my child was looking for reassurance and validation from a much older guy.
     
  11. Ab4t5

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    Sounds like your child may not be ready to accept their identity, or is confused.
     
  12. bi2me

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    1. If you suspect your child is involved in something you don't like, the phone is yours to do with what ever you want. You are the parent. There are lots of scary apps and people out there from which you need to protect your child.
    2. Is it possible your child is uncomfortable expressing the male gender with friends (or mean kids at school) and blaming you is an easy out? My parents used to tell me to blame them when it came to social stuff like drinking that I didn't want to do.
     
  13. kindy14

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    As a parent, I applaud your taking away the phone from your child. I regularly check our sons phone and computer for inappropriate things. We put him on a phone plan that doesn't allow pictures to be sent, or received so that's not been an issue. For him it's more gaming and videos that we are worried about. He's been in trouble several times at school for playing games and watching videos. And he can stay up all night if we leave the laptop in his room.

    Yes children, it's an invasion of privacy, but it's a parents job to protect you until you are of age. We've done our best to teach our son the dangers on the internet, I hope he remembers them and doesn't get caught up in something torrid or dangerous online. We've told him as a child he doesn't have any right to privacy in our house. If we think he's doing something wrong, or something is upsetting him, that's usually when I'll go through his browser history, who he's calling and texting, even search his room.

    As a parent I do these things out of a deep sense of love and protection. If he isn't going to be open about what is going on in his head or life to upset him, I'll go to whatever lengths I need to, to ensure his safety.

    As far as the lying to his friends, it could be he's trying to not be stigmatized at school for going to therapy. He possibly doesn't want to admit to his friends that he needs therapy. I know when I was in jr high I went to therapy for several months. It was always a doctors appointment to my friends at school, no mention of details. Heck, up until a few months ago, I never told my boss at work that I was in therapy myself. And I have no idea what my son tells his friends about our family therapy we've gone to since we adopted him 3 1/2 years ago. There is a stigma attached to seeking psychological help.

    This is something you should bring up in therapy, I assume you and your husband have some joint sessions with your child and the therapist.
     
  14. Aldrick

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    Hello Oahu, welcome to EC.

    I just want to start by saying you did the right thing with the phone, and to let you know that you are doing a good job. Since these things have already been touched on by others, though, I'll not touch on it more deeply here.

    I have a duel concern that I can't answer without information. Your child is obviously lying to people. The question is whether your child is lying to their friends, or lying to both their friends and you as well.

    I am absolutely loathed to say that your child may be lying to you, because that would require me to assess what is true in their mind. I can't do that, and neither can anyone else. Only your child knows the truth here.

    If your child were here, I'd be having a stern conversation with them. The first conversation that I would be having would be over the unacceptability of appropriating the tragedy experienced by others in the community to enhance the drama of their own life. That is just absolutely unacceptable behavior under any circumstances, not only does it play with other peoples emotions, it is an insult to the people who genuinely suffer hardship, retribution, and rejection from their families. Your child is intensely lucky to have an accepting and loving mother like yourself that is doing their best to look out for their best interests, so it is an insult to the love and concern you provide as well.

    Since we know your child is lying to their friends, the only conclusion that can be drawn here is that they are doing this to enhance their own story. They are doing this for attention from their friends. This is unacceptable, and you absolutely have to draw a firm line. Not only is your child playing with their emotions, should your child's lies be discovered they undermine the integrity of other trans peoples legitimate stories.

    This brings me to the part that I dread the most. We do not know whether or not your child is telling the truth about their gender identity. The fact that they have shown a willingness to lie for the sake of attention from their friends, does not mean that they are also not lying to you for similar reasons. I am not in a position to declare whether or not your child is telling the truth. I want to make that clear. Your child, in this case, could be completely honest with you.

    I have two pieces of advice in this situation. First, is to talk to your child's therapist. You want the therapist to know what is going on, and you want the therapists advice on how to proceed. No one here can do that, and the therapist is in the best position to help you. Second, is to approach your child about puberty blockers. Since your child is biologically female and seeking to transition to male, talk about getting rid of their feminine things--such as their dresses--and buying them a new more masculine wardrobe. No dress for that dance, obviously, since it is so problematic for them. Similarly, if your child has long feminine hair, discuss taking her to a barber to get a more masculine hairstyle.

    In this way you are showing your support for your child's gender identity. If they are being honest, and they want to transition, these are great and supportive moves on your part. If they are not, then they may start to realize that they have bitten off more than they can chew, and that their claim comes with serious implications. Do not accuse your child of lying, instead show them a high degree of support.

    Discuss these things with the therapist.

    It's also at this point where I am obligated to point out, that gender does not have to be binary. So, even if your child shows some resistance to transition, that does not mean that they are not transgender.

    This is why lying is bad. I hate to be the one to even throw this out there, and I feel disgusting for even doing it. There are so many cases where LGBT people are doubted by others, are accused of going through "just a phase," and have their own stories and truth invalidated by family and friends who believe that they know better. So, for me it is painful to even contemplate this, but I am forced to do so based on all the lies that have already been told.

    If your child is caught out to be a liar, I hope you hold them suitably accountable. There are so many people who legitimately suffer, that it is just awful to imagine that someone is appropriating those stories to add drama and excitement to their own lives. It is disrespectful, hurtful, and is damaging to our community. This is why the lies your child is telling their friends cannot be tolerated.

    You are an amazing mother. Thank you for being so understanding and supportive of your child, whatever the truth might be. We need more parents like you in the world.