View Full Version : My Grandaughter wants to be a man
12-21-2009, 07:24 PM
My grandaughter, who is seventeen a few days ago says she feels like she should be a man and that it is neurological. She spends a lot of time on the internet and I think she has come across wrong things. She wants to dress with guys clothes. I really don't know how to handle this. She lives with me and hasn't really told me yet. Her mother told me. But I can see what she is doing is trying to look like a guy. she is in counseling and is taking anit depressent medicine. She recently started taking it after we went to see a psychiatrist who suggested the medicine and conseling. She did tell the intake person that she felt like she wanted to be a man and is considering a sex change operation. I have to admit that I paid her close attention in what she was wearing and what she was doing to keep her out of trouble when she turned l3. She was sexually molested as a child by her mother's boyfriend, whom she still lives with. My grandaughter has been living with me for almost ten years. I am heartsick about this and would like some input as to how to handle the situation. Do I forbid guy's clothing or just let her wear it. She is a lovely girl, doing well in shcool and wants to go to college.
12-27-2009, 02:45 PM
Because there is so much trauma that your granddaughter has already suffered in her young life, there are many possible explanations about her wanting to be a man, one of which is her genetic makeup ("neurological"). That is a complex issue best left to her professional helpers to sort out with her. For now, please keep in mind two facts. First, she doesn't need any more trauma in her very young life, trauma such as suffering the disapproval of a loved grandparent concerning her ultimate sexual orientation. She, much more than other kids, needs that precious, unconditional, nonjudgmental healing love that grandparents can so magically offer. The second fact is that computers and clothes do not create sexual orientations. Dressing like a man and reading about it will not alter her true sexual identity, whatever it might be.
So please look past her clothes, her words and her sexual identity to remember that she is a pained young grandchild struggling to survive what to her has been a very cruel world. If that isn't an alarm bell calling out for the patient expertise of a grandparent, I don't know what is.
If you can accept, hug and listen to this girl without judgment, you will be doing the very best you can to help her sort out this tough issue. And you will very likely hold her love forever.
12-28-2009, 08:42 AM
Thank you Dr. Bradley for your response. I recently purchased your book "Is Your Teen Crazy" and I find it so informative. I needed this book a few years ago. I can see where the old ways don't work. I have been struggling with this and I want to do the right thing. Her mother is in an abusive relationship and has 3 boys from him. Right now I have situations with my 3l year old daughter who has a child whom lives with us. My son who is an alcoholic moved in a year ago after separating from his wife and 3 children. My son and my daughter occasionally have arguments. So my grandaughter is constantly living in agitation. My husband passed away 7 years ago and he was supposed to be Ashley's dad. She asked him. So his passing was very sorowful for her. We got in touch with her biological father 2 years ago, and he did a paternity test. Well, he jumped the gun and came out to visit. Ashley wasn't really ready for this and doesn't want to have much to do with him. She is always on the computer and texting on the phone. I want to try to limit some of her time on the computer. Well once again thank you. The counsler she is seeing is an intern. Do you think she is competent to be conseling my grandaughter. Ashley was diagnosed with depresseion, so the phschiatrist suggested Zoloft, which does seem to be helping She wanted to go to counseling. So it was initiated by her.
01-09-2010, 10:19 AM
The embarrassing fact for veteran shrinks such as me is that interns can be just as effective as us old heads in working with teens. It all depends upon the connection that the intern has with your grand child. If it seems to be going well, then let it roll.
02-17-2010, 11:02 AM
Dear Dr. Bradley. My grandaughter was going to conseling, but now refuses to go. She is still on medication and will be checking in with the psychiatrist in March, who is new and my grandaughter said he didn't seem very interested. Do I force her to go I have told her to stay off the computer and I am about to take the phone from her if she doesn't go. I told her I felt it was important especially since she is taking anti=depressent medicine. She is very stuborn. I called the intake person and he is willing to talk to her and get a new counselor. If you have any advice, I would appreciate it.
02-18-2010, 01:33 PM
Ask her what her reasons might be to stop the counseling. Listen empathically without arguing her answers, and then see if those concerns can be addressed (i.e. new counselor, and so on). Also ask her to read the section of my book about getting help. If she still offers no reason, suggest some incentive you can offer her to attend. Don't demand an immediate answer but ask her to let you know tomorrow what she decides. If all else fails, only then softly suggest that she can earn her phone/computer privileges by trying perhaps 8 sessions, that you love her too much to just sit by and watch her suffer. Also say that if then she still thinks counseling is a waste of time, that you will not pressure her further. The idea is to get her there enough to help her overcome her predictable fears about therapy.
03-12-2010, 07:44 AM
Dear Dr. Bradley. Once again I thank you for your input. my grandaughter has agreed to go back to counseling. I am trying to get a new counselor at the same place, but if it doesn't work out, I will look elsewhere. I am trying really hard to watch what I say, Sometimes I fail, but then I apologize. I have to come up with some words of wisdom without seeming to be judgmental, which I have a really hard time doing. I thought of when I think of something good, I will write it down. I want to reread your book and continue looking at it for ways to handle situations. I have to learn to keep my mouth shut until I can say something helpful instead of hurtful. This is really tough, Once again, thank you and I will keep you posted from time to time with any new developments.
03-23-2013, 07:10 PM
Dear Dr. Bradley, Since I last posted, my granddaughter went to counseling amd ot really helped. Eventually, she went from one extreme to another, where she was always wearing dresses. She stopped taking her medication which I think she really needs. Just recently, out of the blue, she bought guy's clothes and got her hair cut really short. She told me that she wanted to have a sex change, which previously, she had told her mother. She didn't know that I knew anything from before. I will have to say, that it really upset me. I did tell her I loved her and that I wished she would wait until after college. But when I say anything, she just starts yelling at me. I said perhaps it was from parenting, which I read online and also from being sexually abused. (This would give her a feeling of control). She wants to take hormones which would change her voice. etc I have a young grandchild who also lives with me and her mother and my other grandchildren come over often. I don't feel that I can allow her to do this at this time. Perhaps when she is out on her own. She wants to see a therapist who deals with transgenders, but her insurance doesn't cover it. Now she wants to make cupcakes and sell them, ship them, etc. to make money to fund her counseling. I suggested that she go to a regular therapist, she said they don't deal with that. I thought perhaps they did. Do you have any suggestions. Also, when she was going through this before, I went to therapy and it seems I am going to have to go back. I am trying to keep calm about this, even though it breaks my heart. Any input you have I would appreciate. I was just going to post on here, not too long ago, how much better she was doing and then this.
04-11-2013, 02:56 PM
Any counselor would be helpful for her whether specializing in trans issues or not. Tell her that such a huge decision requires extensive counseling to be sure it's appropriate, and that you want her to be very sure before she starts any medical procedures (most programs require this anyway). Say that you love her too much to fund an immediate procedure she might regret. Beyond that, continue to focus on what's good about her and play for time (a standard tactic with many teen issues). She may eventually decide to start seeing a therapist to work on this.
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