Reality: Nothing parents did caused a child to be transgender. However, the way parents respond will have a huge impact on a child’s well-being.
Self-blame is often the initial response of parents who learn that their child is transgender. This is not true. A child’s gender identity is not learned from anyone, including parents. Just as a parent cannot cause a child to be heterosexual/straight/cisgender, a parent cannot cause a child to be transgender.
“At some point, nearly all children will engage in behavior associated with different genders – girls will play with trucks, boys will play with dolls, girls will hate wearing dresses and boys will insist on wearing them – and gender-nonconforming behavior does not necessarily mean that a child is transgender. That said, sometimes these behaviors can clue us in to what a child may be feeling about their gender – with some children identifying as another gender than the one they were assigned as early as toddlerhood.
The general rule for determining whether a child is transgender or non-binary … is if the child is consistent, insistent, and persistent about their transgender identity. In other words, if your 4-year-old son wants to wear a dress or says he wants to be a girl once or twice, he probably is not transgender; but if your child who was assigned male at birth repeatedly insists over the course of several months–or years– that she is a girl, then she is probably transgender. Children…may not have the words at a very young age to capture that feeling, but over time it may become more clear to them, and ultimately to you, that they are…a trans girl or a trans boy.” 3