It can be a shock to parents if their teenager starts crossdressing. Teenagers don’t tend to give a lot of warning that they’re going to start dressing in a way that might offend you or make you uncomfortable.
You may find some clothes put away where they shouldn’t be or a drawer full of female clothes – maybe this is the first sign. Then you find out that your teenage daughter has been wearing some of these clothes when she goes out at night. Your teenage son may have been borrowing one of your dresses to wear to a party without telling you.
Your teenager might tell you they’ve always wanted to be a woman; if he is a boy, he might say to you he wants to start dressing as a girl.
What are the Signs of Teen Crossdressing
Of course, cross-dressing might be part of a bigger problem, such as transgender feelings or body dysmorphia. If you suspect anything like this, flag it up to your GP. Keep an eye on your teenager to see if their crossdressing gets more serious.
Here are some of the signs that your teenager might be crossdressing or be experiencing gender identity issues:
- They are spending a lot of time in their bedroom
- They have increased interest in fashion, especially women’s fashion
- They seem uncomfortable with clothing choices for their sex. For example, boys wear skirts or dresses, and girls dress in more masculine clothes than they typically wear.
Why Would a Teenager Srossdress?
There can be several reasons why your teenager might start crossdressing. It could be something as innocent as a teenager experimenting with their own identity or sexuality, wanting to wear what they think is nice and pretty. Or it could be that they have gender dysphoria – the feeling that you are not the sex you were born into and that the sex you were born into doesn’t feel like it fits you.
It can lead to depression, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts if not treated. If your teenager has been crossdressing for a while without telling you, this may also be because they’re afraid of how you will react and might be trying to hide the fact that they crossdress.
Gender dysphoria can also lead to body dysmorphia when you see yourself significantly differently from how other people see you. It’s related to anorexia and bulimia, but instead of seeing yourself as overweight or obese, you see yourself as too thin or too fat. Body dysmorphia can be triggered by stress, and it’s worth getting your teenager checked out by a GP for this if you suspect it.
What To Do If Your Teenager Starts Crossdressing: 7 Expert Tips
If you suspect your teenager is crossdressing, here are some things you can do:
1. Create a Safe Space
Crossdressing can signify emotions that teenagers are struggling with, which they may not know how to express. They might feel guilty because you’re likely to be upset if you discover their crossdressing. Let them know it’s okay, and encourage them to talk to you about anything that’s bothering them.
2. Set Boundaries
This can be challenging. You might feel that crossdressing is wrong and needs to stop, but if you tell your teenage child this, they may feel guilty or do it even more because it’s a secret. It’s okay to gently let them know your concerns about what people will think if they see them dressed like that, but you need to be careful not to make them feel ashamed of themselves.
3. Open a Dialogue
You might need some time to absorb the news, but once you’ve had some time to consider what’s going on, sit down with your teenager and talk about it. Let them know that you love them for who they are and want to support them in any way you can.
If they are crossdressing because they are struggling with their identity, let them know that you will help them find a therapist or doctor who can support them.
4. Find out More about the Issues
If your teenage child is crossdressing and you’re unsure how to handle it, there’s no shame in asking for advice. You can find support through family or friends, or you could try Googling the issue with your child’s age in mind. There are also several books explicitly aimed at helping parents deal with gender identity issues.
5. Keep an Eye Out
If you’re worried about your teenager, it’s essential to stay in touch with what they are doing and who they are spending time with. Make sure you know the passwords for their social media accounts so that you can check what they’re up to. By keeping an eye on them, you’ll be able to spot worrying behavior and take action earlier.
6. Talk about the Changes They’re Going Through
Make sure you give your teenage child a chance to discuss their feelings and explain why they may want to crossdress. For example, if a girl wants to dress as a boy, ask them what it feels like when she wears male clothes. If they are a boy who wants to be a girl, ask them why they want to be a woman. Doing so will help you understand your child better and give you more ideas about how best to support them.
You also need to let them know what the changes in their life might mean for you: if they start crossdressing at school, what could it mean for their future? Encourage them to think about their future and let them know you’ll be there for them whatever.
7. Encourage Them to Get Support
If your child is struggling with gender dysphoria, you should encourage them to speak to a health professional. They can talk through their feelings and help them work out how best to cope with the situation. If they know that there are mental health services available to support them if they need it, it will take some of the pressure off.
If your teenager is crossdressing, it’s a sign that they might be going through some confusing issues surrounding gender identity. Let them know it’s okay to feel this way and encourage them to come to you if they have any questions or concerns. In the meantime, keep an eye on their behavior and let them know you will support them no matter what.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!