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The positive aspects of being the parent of a trans child: Findings from Trans Pathways

Family Mental Health & Wellbeing Research
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Authors: Morgan, H., Lin, A., Perry, Y., Cook, A., Winter, S., Watson, V., Wright Toussaint, D. & Strauss, P.

Date of publication: 2023

Journal: LGBTQ+ Family: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Summary: The existing literature exploring the experiences of parenting a trans child tends towards reporting the challenging aspects of the parental journey. Studies also reference positive experiences such as enhanced parent-child connectedness and affirmation of personal values. Limited dedicated research focused on the positive aspects of parenting a trans child exists. The reasearchers aimed to better understand positive parental experiences accordingly. Using data from a large cross-sectional survey, they analysed responses from 134 parents to a single open-text question asking what parents had experienced as positive about parenting their trans child.

They found that all parents identified at least one positive aspect; most cited multiple benefits. Five major themes emerged from the data: 1) Personal growth (such as becoming more informed and more open-minded); 2) experiencing the strengths of the child (such as their courage, their caring qualities and their resilience); 3) improved aspects of the parent-child relationship (such as growing closer and experiencing unconditional love); 4) positive change in the child (such as increased happiness and self-confidence); 5) experiencing social connection and support. Findings provide a nuanced addition to the literature on parental experiences and have clinical implications for those working with parents of trans children. A better understanding of positive parental experiences can aid clinicians in increasing parental support and acceptance for young people within an affirmative framework.

You can read a summary of the study only here.