Sunday, 1 May 2016

Ignore, Redirect and Reward - Dealing with Unreasonable Behaviour.

I am not a therapist. I do not have the skills, training or experience to attempt any sort of therapy or counselling. Even if I did, I cannot have a therapeutic relationship with my child, we have too much history and to much at stake to be non-directive or or explore stuff.

The following is not therapy and it's not very deep. It won't give you a dramatic moment, where your child breaks down and accepts just how right you have been all along. Life is not like it is in the movies.

It is advice given to me by someone who has a great deal of experience in dealing with troublesome behaviour and getting them to a better place. Someone who does know what they are talking about.

It gives me a way to carry on day to day without reinforcing or collaborating in the trans delusion. It helps me to avoid damaging confrontations. Its easy to remember and recall when you feel yourself getting wound up.

Ignore: Don't mention trans and don't argue about trans. Don't rise to any provocation. Don't be dramatic about this and don't make a point of ignoring it. Don't say your ignoring it, just quietly get on with doing something else. Teenagers can be difficult anyway so try not to see everything in terms of trans, sometimes trans teenagers are just being teenagers.

Redirect: Do something else with them that is good for both of you and nothing to do with trans. Again don't make a point about it and  don't state why your doing it. Just think of something that you can do with your kid that is nothing to do with trans, but will be something they can join in with. It can be something that seems really small, choosing what to have for tea, choosing something on Netflix to watch together. It doesn't have to be worthy or anti-trans.

Reward: Be positive for anything but trans. Don't make a big point of it, don't mention trans, just be nice about whatever they do that isn't trans related.

Its not always easy. It means you have to ignore a lot of hateful stuff. You have to let it wash over you and yes it will sometimes get to you. Find a friend you can talk to, phone the Samaritans or write an anonymous blog, you are the adult.

And yes, it works with dogs and horses as well, we are all mammals.


  1. I read your original post with a mixture of sympathy and respect. You're clearly an exceptional parent, emotionally intelligent and dedicated.

    I haven't faced your situation, so I can't advise, though I can tell you that I wholly agree with what you're thinking and doing.

    However I have dealt with significant emotional and psychiatric problems in my family. Both my sons have had problems, one who completely came unglued for over two years as a sort of delayed reaction to the death of their father (a lovely man) and the second as a reaction to very serious health problems which lead to depression and self-harm.

    I have spent a lot of time over the years trying to communicate with resistant or withdrawn kids and what I learned was that it's often helpful to be near physically but to be in a situation where your eyes don't meet. Walking, particularly in a lovely natural setting, or in the car: both allow chatting in a particularly safe, detached way. Side by side avoiding any sort of confrontation.

    You probably already know this tactic but I thought it was worth offering it in case it might be useful. Please know how admirable I find you, and that your daughter is lucky to have you in her corner.

    I am a feminist, and gender critical. Men don't have to transition to have a nurturing, gentle side. They just have to be themselves, like you and my dear dead bloke.

    1. Thanks, that's so very true, sometimes just being together, or doing something together opens up a space for connecting and communicating that can't be found when your talking to or at each other.

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    1. Thanks for sharing the warmth and empathy I have come to expect from transgender activists. I expect you have convinced thousands, if not millions, of the justice and humanity of your cause.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I found you from 4th Wave Now ( I'm practicing a lot of the same advice you give above with my 13 year old daughter who is struggling with gender dysphoria. So, it was really a pleasant surprise for me this morning to see another father taking the same process with their child as I have recently started doing. It's been about a month since my daughter started insisting that she is trans and always felt like a boy. Requesting we use a different (more male) name, asking about binders, insisting on male pronouns, etc., etc. It's enough to make you want to scream sometimes, but I am learning patience. I've used this sign as a wake up call. I am using this time to understand her more and spend a lot of time doing things we both enjoy together. More time together pulls her away from all of the media, Internet, YouTube and outside influences that I believe have started these feelings of insecurity about her beautiful mind and body. I'm so new to all of this that I really don't have anything else to share, but I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put this site up. I'll reach out more in the future now that I know you are here. Thanks again.

  6. I absolutely am so grateful I found this page. My daughter who is now of legal age has started hormones. I am completely devastated. I love this fathers approach as I feel my days are filled with heartbreak grief and fights. I do ask for one piece of advice to go along with this. What do you do about the whole pronoun and name game. I refuse to use either. But when I do it's hell on wheels. I want to use this technique so how do I get past these things?

  7. I am so thankful I found this site. I thought I was so alone and have been grieving terribly over losing my beautiful daughter to this madness. I love this fathers advice as it has given me a bit of grounding. Maybe I can stop some of the daily crying I've had for two years. My daughter who has just turned of legal age has now put herself on hormones and I am helpless and devasted. So the with technique how do you get past the pronouns and name change. I refuse to use either. That starts such a drama mental meltdown. I just can't handle any of this anymore as I know in my heart it is not real. Long story short I feel strongly she self created this through social media and internet. She also has untreated mental issues. I just feel so helpless. Maybe I can try this technique as a mom I keep begging for her not to do things to harm herself that they are pushing on her starting with the hormones. By the way what the hell is wrong with these doctors not to offer any therapy to say that transition is there a B is ludicrous. I will do anything to get my daughter back. It truly feels like she has been brainwashed by a cult. Thank you so much for any input.

  8. Thanks for your comment. It makes my day to know that I have connected with other people and helped in some way, however small.

    I'm not an expert, I'm just a dad, thrashing around and making stuff up.

    I don't know your daughter or the situation, so I really can't offer advice. I will make a couple of observations.

    My daughter still wears a binder sometimes. It really pains me to see it, to see her in such denial of her sex. When shes not wearing it shes so much more outward looking, when its on, its like shes constantly hyper-aware of what other peoples perceptions are.

    Its very easy to let it get to me and to take it personally, to see it as a statement made at me. "We're going out for a meal, the whole family, at a great restaurant and has to wear that bloody thing and try and look like a weird 12 year old boy"

    That doesn't help. I really have to push that back, be the adult.

    She's 18, I can't control what she wears, so I ignore it and when she turns up looking like a glorious proud lesbian in a great shirt, I'll complement the shirt. I'll do things with her that give her physical confidence and pride in what she can do and preclude strapping your chest up so you can't move or breath.

    I ignore the binder, I redirect into doing stuff we both enjoy and enjoying the meal and I reward wearing cool clothes that don't damage or restrict her.

    We have to fight the battles we can win. Thats hard.

    You don't have to use any pronouns, can you use a version of the new name that is unisex, or just avoid using her name in front of her and just use Hey You?

    The other thing I would say, is that it really helps to talk to other parents. Theres a reddit sub (family of trans gender) and a support forum They are both moderated and have only approved users, but bear in mind they may get activists infiltrate them at some point, so don't put identifying info on them.

    There both new and need traffic, so you'd be doing me a big favour if you join either (or both) and said what you said here, but leave the flattery off :- )

    Again Thanks

  9. Thank you for your reply! Very helpful and yes I will check out those sites.

  10. Oh my.. I am going through the same nightmare with my 16yr old who wants to start treatment. In my country, the transition treatment is free, and minors can start it upon request, with or without their parent's approval. I am so worried and feel devastated. And I also feel that this is all made up, she's got too much influence from tumblr, and I feel so guilty for poor parenting, having let her so much time alone on the internet. I feel it is too late now, but your advice give me hope.

  11. Ignore, redirect, reward... So simple yet so profound. This is not just parenting but adulting in I have 4 sons, the youngest of which recently came out of nowhere saying he wants to be a girl. I am like a deer in head lights. What do I say? What should I not say? How do I go about not making things worse? I am fearful for him that the road he wants to take will only lead to turmoil. Looking for more stories of kids who desist.


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