I have a friend who has a young daughter who is having gender questions

Nov 30, 2011

Q: I have a friend who has a young daughter who is having gender questions. She has always wanted to dress like a boy, she has 3 brothers. They always aloud her, but now she is angry all the time, they have found notes she has written saying she hates herself and her family and notes saying she loves them as well. I believe she is very mixed up she is only nine, I know her mom wants to do what ever she can to have her daughter find happiness, but she is also unsure of what to do. I said for her to look at the like me site but I would like some info I can use to help her as well, thank you

A: Dear Friend of Mixed Up Child.

Children are puzzling. You are kind to seek out answers for this troubling situation. Children’s emotions fluctuate a great deal by nature, so it is difficult to determine if the child’s feelings are within the normal range for children her age or if her feelings indicate a serious problem. This would require a professional evaluation. Although you say your friend just wants her daughter to be happy, I would caution you about confronting your friend. As puzzling as children are, parents are even more puzzling. It is a rare parent who wants to feel her parenting is being critiqued. However, if you have a very close relationship with your friend, then I would highly suggest that you encourage her to take her daughter to a mental health or medical professional for an evaluation, such as a social worker, psychologist, or pediatrician. If you don’t have that kind of close relationship with your friend, you could also call the girl’s school and talk to the school counselor anonymously and express your concerns. If you believe this is a life threatening situation for the child you could also call Child Protective Services. This too can be done anonymously. It sounds like you are deeply concerned, so doing nothing doesn’t seem like an option. Whatever course of action you take I urge you to act quickly and not let fear stand in your way. Children do not think of consequences and often their rash decisions are life threatening. Best wishes to you.