Gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder, is a phenomenon with which we have been dealing with more and more frequently in recent years. Children whose gender does not coincide with their psychological gender require help and specialist care. Finding the source of the problems and appropriately selected therapy are essential. Thanks to them, both the child and the parents can better understand what the problem is and implement the appropriate treatment.
What is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is a phenomenon in which the patient does not identify with his biological sex and experiences severe discomfort associated with it. A child suffering from dysphoria feels a strong desire to be of a different sex, reluctance to build his reproductive system, imagines and fantasizes about choosing toys, clothes, and activities typical of people of the opposite sex as a person of the opposite sex. For child dysphoria to be confirmed, the child must display these behaviors for at least six months.
Some children may be of a different gender temporarily in the early stages of their development, and this may not be a cause for stress. In many cases, this is only a temporary stage that will pass as the baby grows and becomes more aware. If the problems related to the disturbed gender identity are continuous and repetitive, it is necessary to visit a child sexologist.
Diagnosis of dysphoria in children
The criteria for diagnosing gender identity disorders in children can be divided into two groups. The first is that the child identifies himself as a person of the opposite sex – he declares a different gender, chooses clothes and toys characteristic of the opposite sex, plays with children of the opposite sex, etc. The second criterion indicates that the child does not identify with his / her biological sex, e.g. . he does not want to dress like his gender, avoids contact with children of the same sex, his sexual organs make him anxious.
A child’s gender identity is formed within the third year of life. By the age of six, a child is fully sexually formed and his psychological gender remains the same throughout his life. Thus, at the age of six, the child is perfectly aware of what gender it is.
A child with gender dysphoria - how to help him?
Sexual dysphoria in children was a taboo subject for many years. Fortunately, today more and more parents and children are reaching out for help. Of course, there are still confused parents who want to mask the problem and convince the child to identify with their gender. More and more often, however, we deal with the acceptance of the problem, the search for psychological support and an attempt to help the child.
Forbidding a child to express his or her gender identity never solves the problem. Covering up transsexuality may cause even greater psychological problems – in addition to the problems with perceiving the other sex, the child must also face misunderstanding on the part of loved ones, lack of acceptance, which may lead to drug conditions, eating disorders, depression and even suicide. Having the right support, showing love and acceptance can make the path to normality much easier.
A visit to a child sexologist
Different gender identification is an increasingly common cause of visits to a child sexologist. While the number of children with dysphoria-related problems is likely to remain stable, parents are increasingly aware that this problem may arise. So they go to a sexologist to better understand their child’s behavior and help him in everyday life.
If your child is also transgender, does not feel identified with his gender or wants to be a person of a different gender, make sure you sign up with him for an appointment with a pediatric sexologist. The sooner you spot a problem, the sooner you can help your child and show him the support he needs.
How to prepare for a visit to a child sexologist? In fact, no specific preparation is needed. Just keep a close watch on your child’s behavior and try to remember anything that is worrying you. During the visit, the sexologist will ask you a number of questions about your child and his behavior. Remember to answer all of them honestly and always truthfully.