Gender-Confused Kids Need Protection, Not Exploitation

When a little kid says he or she 'feels' transgender, parents need to understand what is really at work here

Once more, the media have gone over the edge and made a mockery of little children. They ran a story about a child who alerted his parents to struggles over gender dysphoria — at the tender age of three.

And shame on his parents for letting them do so. MSN recently reported on the child — named Colt at birth — who rejected his gender and insisted on being called Emma because he said he was really a girl.

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OK, I get it. The child has psychic turmoil and needs help. Or he’s playing a game. It’s hard to tell — because when he declared his gender confusion, he was three. Yes, three years old.

But that’s not really the problem. The real beef I have is with adults, particularly those in the media who push their agenda with a finger in our faces, saying, “See, we told you so,” by exploiting small children like Colt/Emma.

It’s one thing for Caitlyn Jenner to pose for the cover of Vogue because she is an adult trying to prove a point. But all parents should protect their children from ogling eyes and other adults who are trying to manipulate the thinking of the masses to accept aberrant thinking as normal. It is not normal for children to believe they are of the opposite sex. It represents turmoil and confusion at best and deep psychic conflict at worst. When parents or doctors refuse to see gender dysphoria as pathologic, they fail to address the real issues of the child.

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The truth is, if the child continues on this path and doctors interrupt his puberty with hormones and advocate for him to have his penis removed later, there is no solid medical research to show that these steps are helping, not harming him.

There are no other areas of medicine in which doctors would take such drastic measures without reasonable assurance that the outcome will show measurable improvement in the patient’s life. Can you imagine if you went to your doctor with abdominal pain and he told you he wasn’t sure what was causing your pain — but that he was going to operate because doing so “might” help? If you ever have such a doctor, run.

When the people at MSN run a story about a now six-year-old, gender dysphoric child, what are they really trying to do? Clearly, they are not caring one wit about the child or his or her health and well being. They are trying to convince readers that the deep trouble the child experiences is normal and commonplace. This would be much like taking a child who suffers from leukemia, muscular dystrophy, or seizures and telling the world, “There really is nothing wrong here, what the child has is normal.” So we shouldn’t try to help this child, but love and accept him. That would be, of course, madness.

When we adults stop seeing children’s problems as problems, we stop helping them. And when we cross boundaries and force others to see their problems as normal, we solidify craziness as the norm. The sad part is, the real losers are the kids who are thrust into the limelight as examples — and the backlash they will receive later in life will be horrible. These children need protection, not exploitation.

Make no mistake: When the spotlight is forced on them, they will feel odd. They will stand out in their classrooms, and they will be bullied by other children. That’s not showing love and acceptance. Helping them, protecting them, and encouraging them to take time to sort things out shows real love.

The deepest damage, however, may not come from exploitation but from serious misrepresentation. “Emma” now has no choice about going back to being Colt. What if something inside him changes, puberty hits — and he begins to feel male again? Can he go back to being a boy after he has gained national attention for being brave enough to be a girl? Nope.

Related: Three Character Traits of a Hero Dad

There are a whole lot of kids jumping on the transgender train to get attention. Most of these kids are playing games, and they know it. This is what kids do. But when a three-year-old child claims gender dysphoria, the kindest thing to do for him is to seek sound medical help from a seasoned expert — a child and adolescent psychiatrist — and keep glaring eyes away from the child until he is old enough to choose if or when he wants national attention.

Related: You Are Born a Boy or Girl, Period

These are children who are hurting. They need protection — not exploitation simply because adults have an agenda to push.

Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the new book, “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need” (Regnery Publishing, May 2017), as well as a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.

meet the author

Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the book “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need” (Regnery Publishing), along with a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.

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