If you aren’t familiar with what gender dysphoria is, let’s look at that first. Gender dysphoria is a feeling deep inside someone that tells them they are not the gender that they were assigned at birth. This feeling can be quite distressing and the root of a lot of anxiety. When we talk about children with gender dysphoria, some of them are gender non-conforming (or gender diverse) while others may identify as being transgender.
Signs of Being Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender
There can be many signs that a child is struggling with gender dysphoria, and they can often be seen in children as young as two or three years old. Children of this age may be beginning to show preferences for certain toys, clothes, or hobbies. A child who is transgender or gender diverse may experiment with gender roles more than a child who feels comfortable in the gender they were assigned.
Many of these children will never experience gender dysphoria, but a select few will. This is often the case if the child finds living in their birth gender distressing. Children who feel this way need the help of their families, and perhaps professionals, to determine ways to protect their wellbeing in a physical and mental sense.
Gender dysphoria in children can be especially problematic when the child grows older and becomes an adolescent. Transgender children may find dealing with puberty overwhelming and stressful as their gender identity is different from the secondary sex characteristics that may be making an appearance.
Gender dysphoria must be treated, and that treatment should focus on the wellbeing of the child and the affirmation of their gender. For young children, this treatment might simply be providing support at home and school and affirming the way the child feels by accepting their gender identity.
Those who are middle-school aged may require additional help. In some cases, a child can be prescribed puberty blockers, which prevent puberty from beginning. This can take away a lot of the stress from a transgender child. As a teenager, it is possible to provide gender-affirming hormones that will help the child have a body that is more consistent with their identity.
Gender dysphoria in children is more common in the modern age, but there are options for treatment. Affirming your child as the person they are is the most important thing you can do. To learn more about gender dysphoria in younger individuals, you can visit The International Center for Transgender Care at www.TheTransCenter.com.