Trying to help trans son
Hi, my 14 year old trans son is self harming and has also developed an eating disorder. I hope to get a referral from CAMHS soon.
We are trying to give him all the support he needs but it doesn't seem to help. He doesn't want to talk about transitioning and I know he's still very young.
What can we say to help?
Hi CC Worried Mum,
I am really sorry to hear about your son, he is obviously going through a very distressing time. It sounds like you are feeling unsure in terms of the best way to support him, and it can be so difficult watching a loved one struggle and to not feel helpless. But please know that your acceptance of his gender and the care and support that you obviously have for him is so valuable. In regards to eating disorders, there is a forum for parents/carers of people suffering with EDs run by FEAST (Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders) called https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/ that you may find of some help. There is also the Butterfly Foundation (https://butterfly.org.au/) which has a lot of online resources about eating disorders. They also have a great helpline (1800 33 4673) for carers and sufferers, but you can chat online if you prefer too.
It can be difficult knowing what to say, but I think simply your being there, listening to him, validating his experience/feelings and ensuring that he knows that you want to support him will help. If he doesn't want to talk about it, it can be really hard but it is better not to push as he may withdraw further into himself. Is there anything that you can think of that has helped him in the past when he has been in a dark place?
Please don't hesitate to talk more if you feel like it. We are here to listen. Take care, I hope that your son is able to get some assistance from CAMHS soon.
Hi CC Worried Mum,
Can I just say what an amazing mum you must be.
I've seen and heard alot of stories from my 16 years as a gay man so far. To be a mum that cares and supports the identity of her son needs be to recognized, you are emulating true love with your efforts for your son. Keep up the amazing caring support you must be providing, my hat goes off to you.