Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 135–154 | Cite as

Appropriate Therapeutic Care for Families with Pre-Pubescent Transgender/Gender-Dissonant Children

  • Reid VanderburghEmail author


In recent years, a new phenomenon has been observed in U.S. culture, that of pre-pubescent children transitioning socially from one gender role to another, with the support of their families. As this phenomenon becomes more widespread, families, schools and other institutions will turn to mental health care professionals for guidance in navigating new territory. Such children have often been assessed for gender identity disorder; the traditional treatment plan for those so diagnosed included attempts to steer their gender behavior in more “gender-appropriate” directions. Allowing such children to self-actualize, viewing their behavior as indicative of innate identity, is a relatively new approach. This paper will focus on the social worker’s or therapist’s role in helping pre-pubescent children and their families, should the families decide identity actualization is the path they would prefer.


Transgender children Gender identity Identity emergence Gender roles Social transition Gender dissonance Gender variance Childhood gender variance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PortlandUSA

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