In this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, we’re going to be diving into a topic I’ve been looking to cover for some time now—gender nonconformity in children. To talk about this, my guest is Dr. Laura Anderson, a clinical child and family psychologist who has worked with children, adolescents, adults and families for twenty years. Among Laura’s special areas of focus is support for gender expansive youth and their families, autism spectrum disorders, parenting neurodiverse children and teens, and improving family communication.
The topic of gender nonconformity in children is a personal one for Laura, as she is raising a son who is both neurodiverse and gender expansive. I have received many requests from listeners to do an episode on this topic, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to share this with you. We cover a lot of ground in our conversation, as Laura explains what gender nonconformity is, how children’s gender identity is formed, what the latest research says about a connection between autism and gender expansive behavior, what children who are gender nonconforming and the parents raising them need in terms of support, and much, much more.
About Laura: Dr. Laura Anderson is a clinical child and family psychologist who has worked with children, adolescents, adults and families for twenty years. She is licensed in Hawaii and California in the US. She has lived out of the United States on several occasions, including recently with her family in West Africa. Dr. Anderson is currently based primarily in Oakland, California. She provides video health services to members of the expatriate community.
The areas of her expertise include school-based behavioral health, the assessment of children and adolescents, support for adoptive families, support for gender expansive youth and their families, autism spectrum disorders, parenting neurodiverse children and teens, and improving family communication. Dr. Anderson has done talks and trainings in the US and internationally on child development, school-related issues, and issues related to gender identity development. Perhaps most importantly she is also the proud parent of a bold, amazing, neurodiverse, gender expansive son. For both personal and professional reasons, Dr. Anderson is passionate about supporting gender expansive, non-binary, and transgender youth and their families in the global nomad community.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- The difference between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
- What gender expansive behavior and expression by children might mean
- How gender identity is formed and what influence, if any, do parents have on it
- Why gender identity isn’t a choice
- The mental health risks and challenges for gender nonconforming children
- How to address it if they suspect their child is nonconforming in gender identity
- What the journey looks like for gender nonconforming kids, from preschool to puberty and beyond
- What the current says about a connection between autism and gender nonconformity
- What kind of support parents with gender nonconforming kids need
- How parents can best understand and navigate the journey to supporting a child who is gender nonconforming
- There’s Growing Evidence For a Link Between Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorders (Forbes Magazine)
- The Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens by Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney
- The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals by Stephanie Brill
- The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes by Diane Ehrensaft and Norman Spack
- Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children by Diane Ehrensaft and Edgardo Menvielle
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