01-21-2018 10:45 AM - last edited on 11-12-2019 03:30 PM by Bre-RO
We have a friend with a transgender child, a 12 year old who is now a boy and requests to use They and Them pronouns.
They have attempted suicide many times, do not have the details but they were inpatient for months last year. They also had been pressured to volunteer many times since 8 years old, which has always struck me unusual about my friend who supported her daughter volunteering (they don't volunteer nearly as much anymore as far as I know).
The issue is difficult, now that they are returning to school, they want to reconnect with female friends. Which is fine. But they have told one of their friends (whose parent is another of my friends) that another school friend was bullying them last year, and that other school friend was partially responsible for their suicide attempts. They told their friend that they had to pick either them or her, and could not be friends with both people.
I am really really sad to hear about this. I do not want to upset my friend or their child in this tough time. But why would they not have reported the bully to the school, or requested a new school. Why would my friend let them return to school with a bully, even if my friend and their child do not want to report the bullying for whatever reason?
And what do I say to my other friend? Her child was told to pick the transgender child or "the bully" as a friend. Not by the parent, by the child! I am so upset. My friends are upset.
Of course my #1 concern is my friend's child, who was not communicated with while her friend was inpatient. And had never heard anything about the other girl bullying her now transgender friend. In fact, the "bully" was friends with them in the past and even helped put together a card for the child while they were inpatient.
My advice to my friend was that she cannot let her daughter be bullied, even if the child doing the bullying is transgender and has previously attempted suicide. Her daughter has said "don't make me choose" to them. I also told my friend, maybe you need to stop allowing Snapchat and unlimited cell phone and Facetime, because Snapchat photos were what started the texts that said "you have to choose her or me" and "you have to choose, win or lose".
It sounds like this poor child is still in a difficult place. But how can us non-professionals help? My friend with the transitioning child called up my other friend and confirmed the bullying and said that my friend's daughter couldn't be friends with both children. After listening to her transgender child talking on the phone to my friend's daughter and my friend's daughter crying. I just want these children to work things out themselves, but not with bullying.
I guess ultimately, if your child is told by another child "you can't be friends with both me and her" - isn't that bullying? Isn't that controlling? And shouldn't the child's mother think about a better solution than throwing her child back into a school district where they refuse to tell the school or police about the bullying, but want to ostracize the "bully" themselves?
(no evidence that the other child was a bully, but yes, I understand these things can happen under the radar - but report it or don't expect children to police themselves)
(Question 2 - how do parents handle sleepovers if one of the children is transgender? One child now is a boy as they say, but wants to still have sleepovers with girl friends, sometimes with only one girl? That seems very difficult to me!)
01-21-2018 04:00 PM
Hey @reallyhartbreak and a big welcome to the forums. This sounds an extremely complicated situation with lots of adults and children involved. It seems like there are like of complex dynamics here and a lot of unknowns as well. I think when you asked about not reporting the bully or removing the child from the school- I find in these situations that there is a lot that happens that go into people making a decision that we might not know about. Does your friend or her child have support? as this would be a very overwhelming situation for everyone involved. Also I’ll tag some other members who might be able to offer some support @taokat @Zoesplace @Chalke5
01-21-2018 09:54 PM - edited 01-21-2018 09:58 PM
Hey @reallyhartbreak, welcome to the forum. It's great that you've come to find out how you can better support your friends and their teens.
I think as @TOM-RO said, there are likely a lot of unknowns here and these situations are never black and white. I really feel for your friend and her transgender child, and it's so wonderful that she is in full support.
My daughter was bullied by a girl at school who was in the friend group and she was always hurt that her best friends still were friends with this girl. Bullies can definitely be 'friends'. She didn't say anything to them, but I can understand how They feel. I'm not sure I'd class Them as a bully for saying something though?
As a concerned friend, I think the best thing is to try to remain open minded and non-judgemental as these are difficult situations and I'm sure the parents are doing the best they can. Sometimes we need to let our kids work some of the difficult stuff out amongst themselves, and support them through the ups and downs.
I think parents have the right to decide how they choose to deal with sleepovers, but I wouldn't have a problem with a transgender friend continuing to stay over. Identifying as transgender doesn't change the personality of the person, nor the true friendships. At 12 They are still biologically female, so there's really not a difference in the physical regard.
It sounds like such a multi-layered situation and naturally emotions are running high as no-one likes seeing their kids or friends upset. Is there any way your two friends could get together and work out a way in which they can best support the kids through this?