A Tragic Need: Children’s Book When Daddy Leaves to be a Girl Addresses the Pain Kids Suffer When a Parent Identifies as Trans
“I look at the culture and all of the different changes that are happening. [I] look at the different married couples — gay married couples, or transgender — where one [is] transitioning or both are transitioning. [Those parents are] raising a child up in this confusion. They’re expecting this child to live in this lie to help them live in this emotional fantasy world that they really are the opposite sex,” Denise Shick tells The Stream. “Nobody’s really talking about the children and how this inflicts pain in their lives.”
Denise knows what she’s talking about. Denise discovered at nine years old that her father wanted to be a woman. Although she denied it at first, she quickly started to grieve the loss of the man she thought she knew. Denise also went through a time of questioning her own identity. “I thought, ‘If Dad really thinks that God made a mistake and he’s really supposed to be a woman, how do I know that I’m really supposed to be a girl?'” She began to “try out” being a man by practicing her walk and imagining herself as a man.
Today, Denise is the author of a new children’s book titled When Daddy Leaves to be a Girl. When Daddy Leaves to be a Girl recognizes the hurt inflicted on children when a parent wants to be a person of the opposite sex.
The Youngest Victims
The book was hardly easy to write. “So much spiritual warfare hit me when I started to do this book. … So much came against us.” She thought the project would take six months. It took a year. Others who worked on the project also experienced hardship and discouragements.”I’d say, ‘Lord, why am I doing this?'” She just kept thinking about the young victims in the cultural war.
When Daddy Leaves to be a Girl acknowledges that kids are hurt by a parent’s choice to identify as someone of the opposite sex. In an age appropriate way (this book is for small children), Denise walks through how she felt as a child when her father told her he wanted to be a woman. Sometimes kids feel isolated and alone when this happens. She reassures them that they are not alone.
Children also experience bullying. Denise told a story about a little boy whose father dressed up as a woman. “[H]is peers were just bullying him out on the playground. They said, ‘Why don’t you go home and put on a dress like your daddy does?” The boy felt rejected by his father because he was no longer “dad.” He also felt rejected by his peers.
It’s important for children to remember that their Heavenly Father will never leave them. “My heart is that [the book] would be therapeutic to the child. That’s why we talk about the different emotions and feelings but also direct them toward the fact that they are not in this alone. God is with them and He is walking with them.”
Denise fears that the presence of a trans-identified teacher will only cause more confusion for a child of a trans-identified parent. “What kind of counsel do they receive from the school? Or from the teacher? More than likely, ‘Well, you know, that’s really the way he was born or she was born and I’m like that, look how normal I am.'”
Why This Book is Important
More people than ever are deciding they are trans-identified. “It’s becoming more and more common,” Dr. Michael Brown, author and radio show host, tells The Stream. “So, sadly, in the culture in which we live today, the kids can be the ultimate victims. They can be the ones most deeply confused, the most deeply traumatized and then questioning their own sexual and biological identity. ‘Maybe I’m not who I think I am.’ So, the book, very sadly, is needed these days. It’s also important for those struggling with transgender issues to read the book and recognize the effect that their decisions will make on their families.”
It’s not just the secular world dealing with transgender issues, either. Churches have had an explosion in numbers over the past few years of people who identify as transgender. “It didn’t used to be,” says Denise. “Christian families have become part of the world — they’ve been dragged into the culture war that is going on.” Brown agrees. “It’s an all-out war on gender.” And it’s targeting children. What can parents do?
Invest in Relationships
Parents need to invest in their relationship with their child. “[Parents] need to recognize the need to have one-on-one time with [their] children,” says Denise. Fathers should spend time with their sons cultivating their masculinity while moms should spend time cultivating their daughter’s femininity. In addition, parents need to teach their children about these sensitive topics. Children need age-appropriate and biblically-based information.
They also must “understand that people are hurting and sometimes through their pain and their circumstances they make decisions that aren’t necessarily good or healthy for them.” Denise says parents need to keep this discussion open and encourage their children to bring any questions to them.
“Within our own home, in a natural and life-giving way, we need to reinforce biological realities and the differences between mommies and daddies and boys and girls, just not in an overly-stereotyped way,” says Brown. “But we want to reinforce that. We want to make it clear that gender distinctions are healthy and reinforce a female identity in our daughters and a male identity in our sons.”
Get Actively Involved in Child’s Education
Brown suggests that parents become actively involved in their child’s education. “You need to get involved because curriculum starts in preschools.” Brown relates the story of a young woman working at an elementary school who was forced to read stories about same-sex relationships to young children. “You need to find out what’s being taught. Are the kids being taught that there are multiple expressions of gender and ‘maybe you’re really a girl trapped in a boy’s body?’
Pray for Those Who are Struggling
Parents should encourage their children to pray for those children who are struggling. Brown explains:
‘Let’s pray for him. He’s really confused.’ Then you need to go to the school immediately and say, ‘You cannot impose this on the other students. You cannot require for them to refer to him in a certain way.’ The parents have to take a stand. They have to get involved, they have to push back. Hopefully you don’t run into that, but if you do, you treat everyone with compassion. You teach your kids, if someone looks different or gets bullied, be a friend to them. Be a friend to the kids that are outcasts. But reinforce it with Christian values.
Denise hopes that her book will help people recognize that “this isn’t just about the parents or the freedom or the confusion — what’s going on with mom and dad. Look at the little ones that don’t have a voice that are caught in the middle of this turmoil.”