When Parents Disagree about Affirming Trans Kids and Other LGBTQ+ Children

Dr. Robbie Sharp and Dr. Robert McLaughlin give a presentation on issues that may arise when parents are learning about and trying to manage their responses to children with varying gender identities and sexual orientations (Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Queer) particularly with a focus on circumstances where the parents may disagree on how to manage those issues.

Dr. Robbie Sharp and Dr. Robert McLaughlin give an overview of what will be presented and a description of what constitutes “parents” for a child.
Dr. Robbie Sharp and Dr. Bob McLaughlin discuss the importance of working with parents who are the models for social-emotional functioning in the family and world. They give a brief overview of effective parents.
Dr. Robert McLaughlin and Dr. Robbie Sharp discuss levels of conflict, ways to identify them and how they affect the child.
Dr. Robbie Sharp discusses the need for asking multiple questions in order to understand what the family is dealing with: if there is conflict, where it comes from, how intense it is, and what is the best plan of action.
The character of conflict is about how intense the family reaction is and how it impacts the wellbeing of the child and family structure. Is the focus about the health and well-being of the children, the parent’s needs or desires, or concern for how the family will be judged?
If the family is not flexible enough to meet each other’s needs, can the parent’s goals and expectations for their children and family be refocused on their child’s long term happiness, functionality and wellbeing?
Dr. Robert McLaughlin discusses engaging parents to recall their aspirations and expectations for successful outcomes for their child in order to help them see gender and sexuality in the larger scheme of things.
Dr. Robert McLaughlin discusses working to help parents/caregivers be more accepting of identities that differ from parental expectations. Int 2
When the child first discloses something about themselves, parents assign a reason or logic for why this has occurred. How can parents with different perspectives manage the child’s gender identity or expression?
The significance of gender expression may change with progressive milestones, it is useful for the family to be able to anticipate those issues even in early childhood.
Based on their feelings and beliefs, parents may give unequal treatment to their children. Siblings will have their own personal concerns about the family situation and may use parents reactions to their advantage.
Extended families have shaped the parent’s attitudes and expectations and their reactions may be accepting, rejecting or divisive. They can also be healing and sources of support, encouragement and information.
It is important to help families connect with community systems, faith communities, school resources and legal resources. To create a plan for support for the present and future.
Dr. Robbie Sharp and Dr. Bob McLaughlin discuss the importance of acceptance and the short- and long-term implications for a child who doesn’t experience sufficient support and affirmation from caregivers.
Ways that an affirming parent may set limits on the toxic influences of extended family members.
Defining the fears that a parent has and finding a support group are excellent methods to reduce anxiety. Parents realize they are not alone and hear from people like them who have been down the road of acceptance and celebration of who their child is.