You have just welcomed this beautiful new baby into your life and look forward to its growing up with you. As s/he starts to develop, you’re puzzled by her/his behavior and, sometimes, by the way s/he looks. You see yourself as a modern parent who believes all children are born innocent. What should you do?
Your first response is to continue to love your child! Always love your child,, no matter what. Children need love in order to develop as loving, caring adults. Your second response should be not to freak out. The research shows that there is a wide range of human sexuality and human physiology. Similarly, the research has shown that there are diverse ways in which every society treats these variations. In the 19th century in parts of the Western world, pink was the boys’ color and blue was the girls’. Times and people and customs change.
You can then address your child’s needs in order of priority. Notice how that’s written: your child’s needs. Your child has needs, not problems. The first set of needs, outside of constant love, is if there is a serious medical problem. A boy may have an undescended testicle. A girl may have genital dysplasia. You should be seeing your pediatrician and related physicians for those concerns—at the same time you continue to love your child.
Next, if your child starts to act “differently” in behavior from the way the cultural stereotypes say s/he is supposed to act, give her or him the room to explore, since none of these stereotypes are fixed in time. Make sure other caregivers respect your wishes in this area and not communicate directly or indirectly any restrictions or condemnations to your child. Find, instead, a receptive environment in which to place your child. Not only continue to love your child, but tell her/him that they are perfect just the way they are and that you’ll always love them.
As the child develops, seek professional support to help guide your child in terms of her/his own nature. There are groups like PFLAG—Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays–with chapters and websites. There are online and library resources. Your child may need the support as s/he grows up, and so may you. Your child may want to go to a counselor for support, and so may you.
The constant theme is this: S/he is your child—always love her or him!