Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
53 - You Affirmed Your Child's Gender... How to Roll Back

53 - You Affirmed Your Child's Gender... How to Roll Back


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Sometimes parents come to realize that the affirmative approach hasn’t worked out for their gender-distressed child and they could benefit from alternative approaches. In this episode, Sasha and Stella discuss the many complicated reasons some parents reluctantly affirm their child’s gender and how difficult and brave it can be to rethink the strategy. Parenting styles are explored, and Sasha and Stella point out the importance of finding your confident voice and parenting authority. They also offer tips and suggestions for steering the ship in a better direction once a family has gathered more information and observed an unfavorable outcome of the affirmative approach. These strategies include mitigating powerful influences on your child, broadening the family’s perspective on what overall well-being looks like, and modeling that it’s OK to change your mind once you get better information.


High Warmth, High Expectations lead to the best outcomes:

Book Recommendation for parents: Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

“4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Kids”

“Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Styles”:

Extended Notes:

  • Is affirming the best way to support a gender-questioning teen?

  • Affirmation is often a bandage approach to a much bigger underlying problem.

  • Do you think you made a mistake with affirming your child’s gender? Let’s discuss this openly.

  • Parents have been steered wrong on this issue and it takes a certain level of strength and rebelliousness for parents to go against doctor’s orders.

  • Some parents give in because they’re so tired of being called transphobic.

  • Sometimes children are just trying to test the boundaries, and saying they’re transgender is one of those “boundary-pushing” things.

  • Stella admits we’re in no man’s land. It can be tough to know what’s right and what’s wrong.

  • What do you do with the whole pronoun issue? What should parents use?

  • Are you afraid of your child’s distress and their tears? Does your parental instinct kick in to do everything in your power to make them feel better?

  • What happens if you have a more authoritative parenting style? How does that work in a gender-questioning teen?

  • How do you tell your friends and family you have a gender-questioning teen? If you tell half of your circle of friends and the other half you don’t, your teen will perceive that as transphobia instead of “this is a complicated issue.”

  • Sasha explores whether being honest about your distrust in this “gender-questioning thing” is a good thing or not.

  • It’s okay to change your mind on your approach to this tricky process. Sasha breaks down how you can communicate this to your child.

  • A young person is constantly searching for their identity and what makes them who they are.

  • If you want to slow things down, take the focus away from gender and then see what happens.

  • Do you want a pause or an undo on the medical process? Stella talks about interventions with your child and how to best approach this.

  • Our knowledge about childhood transitioners is changing rapidly. We have more information than we did three years ago, or even a year ago.


“I solved issue A and it brought in seven more issues, and this has done nothing good for the household.” — Stella [4:30]

“Permissive parents tend to have children who become chronically unhappy, who aren’t able to handle distress.” — Stella [25:50]

“It’s not the worst thing in the world to have a temporary moment where you really let your true feelings out, as long as there’s some kind of reconciliation. That’s a normal part of parent/child relationships.” — Sasha [41:40]

This podcast is sponsored by ReIME and Genspect. Visit and to learn more.

For more about our show:

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
Therapists Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad explore diverse perspectives through a psychological lens, fostering open dialogue on gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella. Their work with gender dysphoric clients and unique experiences yield an informed outlook delving into gender's psychological nuances. Interviews with clinicians, academics, transgender individuals, parents, detransitioners, and others touched by gender provide varied insights and intimate inquiry into the taboo yet relevant topic.