Family fighting over transgender child
DEAR AMY » My husband and I have a 7-year-old grandson that his mother has been dressing as a girl. His mother refers to him as a “her” and uses a girl’s name.
She also wants the school to refer to him as a her (he has been having outbursts at school).
My son shares custody with his ex. The child’s mother feels she is doing what is right for him and argues with any other suggestions.
My grandson has seen a court-appointed therapist to make a decision on his gender issues because when he is at my son’s house or our house, he immediately changes clothes and gets upset if anyone sees him wearing girls’ clothes.
We have told him that if he doesn’t want to wear girls’ clothes at his mother’s, he must tell her.
He says he wants to wear girls’ clothes, but his actions say otherwise. The mother has told us to not cut his hair — and lawyers advise us to go along with her. But his hair is out of control — he has to lift it or hold it out of his eyes. He has said he asked his mom to get it cut, but with COVID-19 she could not get it done. Now his mom is saying that we are pressuring him to get it cut.
Should we get him on camera asking/saying he wants it cut? Should we take him to get it cut? Or should we just hope that she will take him?
Yes, we would like to see his hair short, but at this point we just want him to be able to see and not have to hold it up. What should we do? — Gamma
DEAR GAMMA » You should open your arms and love this child without pressuring them (I’m using the gender-neutral pronoun) to be any different than they already are. While with you, let the child choose and wear any clothing they want to wear on that particular day.
Don’t ask loaded questions, don’t press this child about their clothing, hair, or anything else. Do NOT interrogate or interview them on camera. Just be grandparents, for goodness sake. No child has ever needed loving, neutral, accepting grandparents more than this child does. So take on that role and BE that.
If your grandchild’s hair falls into their eyes, offer to let them pick out a hat, a headband, a “scrunchi,” hair clips, or anything else they might want to use to hold the hair back. And if the child doesn’t want to use any of these things, that should be OK, too. Do NOT cut the child’s hair.
The child’s father should be in charge of navigating the “official” aspects of this along with his ex, including any and all responses to gender/ clothing/hair issues.
Things are bad enough for your grandchild that the court has appointed a therapist to step in. All of the adults in this child’s life should meet with the therapist and follow the suggested guidelines.