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Johanne

New here, parent of 18-year old trans male

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Johanne   
Johanne

Hello, my name is Johanne, I am the mother of a wonderful trans boy (18 yrs old) who came out to us (mom and dad and brother) 7 months ago.  Before he came out, he struggled for many years, and we with him, with severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation... I can't express enough how sad he used to be, and how many times I heard him tell me he wished he had never been born.  He was not able to function - could not go to school regularly, could not perform regular activities of daily living, etc.  We (and he) had no idea what was underlying the severe issues he was experiencing, and none of the professionals we consulted were able to help figure it out.  When he was 13, he started to question his sexual orientation... then as he progressed through his teen years he started questioning his gender identity.  I was so amazingly lucky that he talked to me all the way through this journey.  Eventually he realized that he was male, not female.  He was courageous enough to come out to our family last December.  His father and brother are very loving and supportive, as I am.  But this was still a very difficult step for our son.  He chose a new name.  Now, 7 months later, he has gone through the official coming out process with our extended families and close friend circles.  I am in awe of his strength and courage.

I continue to wonder how I can best support him and be there for him.  He is doing better than before he came out and started living as a male, but only marginally.  He is still very anxious, especially socially, and he is very isolated.  He does not have friends, other than a few people online that he texts with every day.  He is home all the time, he still has problems sleeping so he goes to sleep late and gets up late every day.  I spend a lot of quality time with him, and so does his dad... but he feels lonely (he tells me he is) and would like to have friends and have the opportunity to go out sometimes.  I have tried to get him to join groups of LGBTQ youth (we live in a wonderful city that offers lots of supports and opportunities to connect), but he says he is not ready... yet he is often sad about how lonely he is and that he doesn't have friends.

I am just looking for help and support as we are going through this journey.  Recently, our son started testosterone injections.  There have been no noticeable physical changes yet, but it is a matter of time.  My husband and I are very supportive and at the same time I know this will be an emotionally charged journey for us.

I wish every one on this forum the best, and hope to find support as we continue to support our son through this journey.

Thank you in advance.  

Johanne

 

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MaryEllen   
MaryEllen

Hello Johanne,

Welcome to TransPulse. :)  Is your son being counseled by a gender therapist? If not, I would recommend that he do so.  A gender therapist could help with advice and lead your son in the right direction. I understand him being lonely. Why don't you encourage your son to join us here at TransPulse.  He'd find a ton of friends here who could help with advice and moral support. He would soon find that he's not alone. :)

MaryEllen

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Guest ZombieDracula   
Guest ZombieDracula

I agree that him joining Trans Pulse would be a good idea. As an AFAB (assigned female at birth) non binary person, this site (both the forums and the chat) has helped me with figuring out who I am over the past 8 or so years. I hope your son can get out of his shell and meet people when he's ready.

~ ZD

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bobbisue   
bobbisue

Welcome Johanne You have already done the most important thing and that is accepting and supporting your son Thank you our youth needs more parents like you I wish you the best in your difficult and rewarding journey 

 

   bobbisue:)

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Carolyn Marie   
Carolyn Marie

Welcome to TransPulse, Johanne.  I am so glad you joined here, and as my colleagues have said, it demonstrates your love and support for your son.

Encouraging him to seek out local LGBT or trans support groups is a good move, but you can only push him so hard.  He has to be ready for that.  But I think that, if he can just dip his toe in the water, he will quickly come around to understanding how import is that personal connection with other trans folk.

Please post all your questions and look through the forums to read about the experiences of other parents and other youth.  You''ll learn a lot, I promise.

HUGS

Carolyn Marie

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Charlize   
Charlize

Welcome to Trans/Pulse.  It is wonderful that you are able to provide him with support through a difficult journey.  He is not unique in feeling socially awkward.  It has taken me years to simply let go and move through the world as myself.  I thought that transition would solve my problems but though i an finally mostly accepting and happy with my gender other issues have never gone away.  Fortunately i have support, both here and in other programs.  He may well need more support than you can provide and hopefully he will realize that and reach out to others.  We are certainly here as are professionals as well as groups who understand.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Jani423   
Jani423

Johanne, welcome to TransPulse and thank you for being a supportive parent.  That is so critical for trans youth.  I must agree with my friends that a counselor would be beneficial, but also seeking out transgender support group(s) would be very good.  I have two that I attend and they have provided me with additional support and insight that I had not found elsewhere.  Its hard when they're young to see that there is a viable future but keep trying.  The way to move beyond this social anxiety is to get involved with a group, even if by just attending and listening.  Soon he'll see others like him can function in the world and he'll hopefully be able to move forward.  

Please keep us informed and join in other conversations as you want.  All opinions are welcome!

Jani

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Johanne   
Johanne

Thank you to everyone who replied to my message.  It is a great feeling to know that there are so many wonderful caring people out there and that you are not alone.  My son is turning 18 tomorrow.  He is very sad right now and has said for the last few days that he wishes it wasn't his birthday.  When his older brother turned 18 two years ago, we invited a few of his friends for a little get together at our house.  Our younger son does not have any friends (other than online) and feels very lonely.  I asked him what he would like to do for his birthday, and he said it will be a sad day for him and he doesn't want to go anywhere.  

I have tried to encourage him to join groups, but each time I do he says he is not ready, and if I keep pushing he gets upset at me.  So lately I have simply not said anything, and just listened when he needs to talk, and tell him I love him very much and that I know things will get better for him with time. 

I will send him the link to this group, who knows maybe he will check it out.  I just know that if I push he will not respond well. (it is a well ingrained pattern between us, and I get it...)

If anyone has any idea how to nudge him and encourage him to just dip his little toe in the water, please let me know.

Thanks a lot again.  I will keep checking in...

Johanne

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MarcieMarie12   
MarcieMarie12

Hi Johanne, it is great that you and your family are supporting your son. I will second the advice of a gender therapist. There are things he may need to work through. Transitioning is not an easy thing, hardest thing I have ever done in my life. While my therapist didn't give me answers he certainly helped me figure things out and come to terms with it.

Hugs,

Marcie

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Johanne   
Johanne

Thank you all.  We tried a gender therapist.  She was very nice the first couple of time when we met with her as a family, my son, my husband and I.  Then she met with my son on his own and he left feeling crushed and discouraged.  I asked him what happened, and he said the therapist said things like "you should be able to go to school, to have and make friends, to go out in public, to go to parties...", and when my son answered that he has never connected with people his own age because he feels more mature than they are, she answered "well, I know a lot of 17 yr-olds and they are much more mature than you are".

He agreed to go back one more time, but only to have a discussion about why he felt how he felt at their first individual session, and to tell her that he doesn't want gender therapy anyway.  They won't keep treating if the person says they don't want the therapy because they have a long wait list of people who welcome the therapy.

He has since been saying he doesn't want to see a gender therapist right now.  Maybe he will change his mind at some point.

Johanne

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Ravin   
Ravin

Johanne, it sounds like that particular therapist was a bad fit for your son. How frustrating!

I agree with others that you are doing what you can. It sounds like at this point gender isn't his main issue right now--having that sorted doesn't necessarily automatically solve other problems.

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Johanne   
Johanne
7 minutes ago, Ravin said:

Johanne, it sounds like that particular therapist was a bad fit for your son. How frustrating!

I agree with others that you are doing what you can. It sounds like at this point gender isn't his main issue right now--having that sorted doesn't necessarily automatically solve other problems.

Thanks Ravin, that's true, and he's willingly seeing a general therapist who has worked with transgender individuals before, and I think they have a good connection.  I am doing the best I can, I just always wonder if there is anything else, anything more I could or should be doing. I'll keep checking in here for advice and support. 

Johanne

ps HUGE hugs to all on a difficult news day ?

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