When I was asked to help a child understand the gender transition their loved one was about to go through, I created a one-page overview of the process in simple terms. I also created a little “worksheet” that would encourage the child to think about how this change was going to affect them, and their loved one, specifically. The worksheet facilitates conversations between the child and adults; fill-in-the-blanks are a great way to find out what is on a child’s mind. While I was at it, I created a one-page summary for gender nonconforming children, complete with a brief fill-in-the-blank portion at the bottom.
These summaries/worksheets have come in very handy when working with transgender youth and the young loved ones of my transgender adult clients. I thought others may benefit from using them as well, so they are attached below. Please feel free to use, copy, and distribute as needed to assist children on their journey to understanding. (Who knows, sometimes concepts stated in simple terms can help adults, too. ;)).
For those of you not in the field of mental health or well-trained in interviewing children, here are a few tips for completing this worksheet:
- Don’t make a big deal of the sheet. Just say you’re going to do a little something and do it. Act like it’s no big deal and you’re not nervous, even if you are.
- Don’t look at the child being interviewed. Look at the worksheet.
- Poise your pen or pencil over the blanks and begin asking the questions. Write the answer in the blank as soon as they are stated, without a reaction (facial expression, question, anything!) Children are incredibly in tune with others’ responses to what they are saying, particularly if the “other” is a parent.
- When the worksheet is completed, go back and ask questions for clarification.
If you have any trouble with the way they are opening on your computer or printing out, please email me at email@example.com and I will email you copies.