One notable example of the transgender trend is Alex Maria Peter, a transgender model who triumphed at Heidi Klum’s ‘Germany’s Next Supermodel’ show. Children and young adults are unaffected by this trend, some jump on the bandwagon and question their gender, others are deeply unsafe. But do these identity conflicts inevitably affect every family, or are there ways and means by which parents can protect and protect their children from medical interventions that have irreversible health consequences? As in the search for the various causes, which have been researched little. There is no clear picture of gender dysphoria in terms of prevention either, but there are some guidelines outlined below.
First of all, it is important for parents to know the terminology and risks of pubertal blockers and invasive steps as well as legal regulations at an early stage. A number of easy-to-understand guides are now available to help you get started on this complex topic. Genspect (www.genspect.org), an international association of parents and professionals, works for parents of teens and young adults who are wondering about their gender. Genspect publishes a quick guide for families. The German version of the English text can be downloaded from www.transteens-sorge-right.net. The ROGD Kids Parents self-help group also provides more information.
Genspect focuses first on the importance of language. Queer theory aims to change language (“queer”) in order to undermine “power dynamics”. According to the guide, young people can focus on this language; Parents should not interfere. This means in everyday life, for example, that as parents we talk about both sexes, men and women.
Youth psychiatrist Alexander Kurti in Munich places the phenomenon of gender identity disorders in the context of puberty. In an interview from April this year, available on YouTube, Kurti points out the enormous challenge of puberty for young adults. Without underestimating or underestimating the whole thing, the onset of puberty is a crisis state often accompanied by major struggles in self-esteem. “Very existential questions are asked: who am I, who should I be, and what should I become?” Young people often ask themselves if they are “male enough as a boy” and “female enough as a girl,” Kurti describes a common problem among teens. For some, deep insecurity causes their body to reject.
Gender conflicts as a result of role stereotypes
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist Monica Albert has both girls and boys full of physical hatred in her practice. In her contribution to the “sex change” debate edited by Alice Schwarzer and Chantal Lewis, she wrote: “I sit in front of these girls who tell me they are ‘actually’ a boy. They are told often enough, even in kindergarten, even in elementary school : “Girls don’t do things like that!” Boys feel the same way: they tell me how uncomfortable they feel in groups of boys, where men are always so. He must be strong, where everything is macho, the language is too harsh and men are not allowed to show No feelings.”
Albert sees in these young people the great demand of society, which should drop the expected role of men and women. It is “a call to allow people to develop according to their mood, talent and interests, rather than being squeezed into cramped drawers of either pink or blue that leave little room to breathe.”
Gender identity disorders as a matter of puberty
Based on the premise that gender identity disorders are at least a problem during puberty, parents can use the basic recommendations for this stage of development as a guide. Puberty doesn’t just lead to physical changes. Hormones sometimes feel mood swings, insecurity, doubt, and a desire for freedom. You can start from both poles.
Boys and girls do well during this time if they can see their developing bodies in action, and learn about and experience their growing strength. Being in the great outdoors or building something with your own hands is an easy-to-implement way to experience self-efficacy. Parents should also take the time to answer many of the questions that young people of both sexes ask regarding puberty. Conversations between father and son and mother and daughter are an important preparation for a new stage of life. For example, mothers and daughters can look at the range of different hygiene products on the website www.aufgeklärt.info together before the start of their first period.
Find your own identity
Socially, young people face the challenge of finding their own identity that is different from that of their parents and siblings. They want to be recognized by their peers and strive for independence and independence. Those who find fulfilling hobbies such as sports or music, or who are responsible in youth groups according to their age, have a good chance of building their own identity without major crises. It is up to the parents to take care of their children’s talents, nurture them and encourage their children to try different activities – even those that are not in the “mainstream”.
Parents should realize that no teen wants to be an outsider. However, you can help teens choose good friends by building a circle of friends from families with children of the same age, then later keeping an open and welcoming home for the children’s friends and showing genuine interest in those friends. If a friendship develops and the parents are concerned about it, it is important to stay in touch and ask what exactly the child likes in the friend. It is also important for holiday camps or group shows that parents educate themselves and ask if the organizers’ values match theirs.
Vulnerable youth are particularly affected
In the end, it is about giving young people enough freedom. Asking their opinions and plans, giving advance notice of family activities, and giving them a choice about participation helps the teen experience self-reliance. As parents gradually allow more freedom, they want to be able to rely on the growing child. Freedom and trust go hand in hand, and we have to talk about that too.
Despite the media hype about gender change, not all young people accept it as much. “Genspect” notes that the desire to transition between the sexes is often accompanied by a number of diseases and other problems, so young people at risk are most at risk. Since these associations can affect a child’s behavior, parents should be especially educated about certain neurological disorders such as ASD (autism spectrum disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and mental health issues such as psychosis, depression, and anxiety disorders. Such as psychopathology, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.
Contagion via social media
Another important building block for parents is media education, because vulnerable young people can be “infected” with transgender tendencies through social media. Neurologist and psychiatrist Mueller Wahl, who specializes in Tourette’s syndrome, demonstrated this in 2021 for a specific new convulsive phenomenon. Vulnerable young men exhibited the same Zimmermann symptoms they liked by watching certain YouTube videos, dating and emotionally bonding with YouTuber Jan Zimmermann.
Mueller-Fall described the phenomenon of the new functional tic disorder as “a disease caused by mass social media”. The similarities with gender identity disorders are obvious to those skilled in the field. Therefore, media consumption in the family should follow firm rules. In this context, “Genspect” talks about “digital hygiene”.
How their child’s life actually goes is not ultimately in the parents’ hands. But attentive and sensitive support supports young people in their search for their identity and helps them weather the storms of adulthood. The basis is of decisive importance: a good atmosphere in the family.
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