A Difficult Family Transition
Dr. Phil sits down with Dr. Siegel to talk about Toni's situation.
"Well, it's very clear that when you're talking to a mother about her child, it can get very emotionally charged, and this is an emotionally-charged subject matter: a transgendered child, and making the decision to either resist those tendencies or assist in the transition," Dr. Phil says. "And what I want to do is talk about the challenges a mother faces when she chooses to allow a child to transition as we've been talking about here. Dr. Siegel, clearly, once a decision is made for a child who was born genetically, internally, as one sex and transitions to live with a different gender identity, there is a sense of loss for some parents, right?"
"Absolutely," Dr. Siegel says. "Let's say I have a boy, and then you find that the child has this brain identity as a girl, and it's on the far end of the spectrum, then that child feels that she must be what her brain is actually telling her. In a way, you've got to give up the identity of the child as a boy and begin to accept that, and that's a kind of grief that parents need to go through."
"So, it truly is a sense of loss because you had bonded with this little boy, and you have this identity and this relationship is defined this way. What does a parent do? I know we have a situation here where the mother is actually spending some time in the cemetery, symbolically, I suppose, mourning or grieving this loss. What are the steps a parent has to do to get through this?" Dr. Phil asks.