As parents, we want practical help to create a home where our kids feel loved and secure and can learn about how their body develops.
What we really, really want is a script that will tell us in every circumstance what to say and how to say it.
We want that script that will show us exactly how to be ‘pro-active’ in talking to our kids, ‘to take the initiative’, ‘to seize the moment’.
We want an extraordinary script that can tell us how to respond to every possible question from our children, particularly those first questions we are so scared of, like: ‘mummy, will I have a baby in my tummy?’, ‘why do I have to go to the doctor?’ ‘why does my willie look different than daddy’s’?
We don’t want people telling us to speak ‘in an age-appropriate way.’
We’d like to have examples of what to say to these sorts of questions. Then we might be able to imagine how we could do this ourselves. The tough bit is: there is no script. Every parent has to learn on the job how to create that atmosphere of openness and support. Talking with our kids is a process of ‘layering’ – adding little bits of information every so often, every day, whenever the opportunity arises. Layer after layer after layer. And there is no script for that. But the good news is: there are signposts, things to work towards, themes to touch on and a direction of travel to follow. There are also other families who are further ahead than you on that journey and who can share their experiences and top tips.
On this website there are two tools for you to use:
and two personal experiences:
NOTE: both families received psychological support. We know and understand that some parents are worried that psychology is not for them', but helping you as parent understand your child's DSD and find your voice, and helping your child understand his/her body and find their voice is exactly what a good psychologist does. It is essential that policy makers with an interest in DSD prioritise investment in healthcare and expert psychological support.
Plus our other website dsdteens:
dsdteens is a website produced by a young woman with a DSD - Miriam - and an expert psychologist, Dr Nina Callens - with further input from young people, adults and healthcare professionals. dsdfamilies provided the funding, and the illustrations are by Emily Quinn. Miriam produced a puberty guide for pre-teens and teens growing up with different sex development in the style of 'The Care and Keeping of Me': evidence-based, kind, accessible and addressing the questions teens have. For parents the dsdteens website gives an insight into what children want to know and how you could approach talking about it.