Book Reviews

Book Review: The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity by Darlene Tando

The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity by Darlene Tando, LCSW is a must-read book for parents of transgender and gender-fluid children. This all-encompassing book walks you through how to support your child, yourself, and your family.

Photo is the cover of the book: The Conscious Parent's Guide to Gender Identity by Darlene Lando
Photo Credit: Simon and Schuster

Allowing yourself to let your child show you exactly who they are in regard to gender is the only way you will be able to support them in the way they need it most. p. 19

The book covers topics such as conscious parenting, connecting with your child, and the foundations of parenting. There is an entire chapter on Gender 101, covering the difference between gender and sex, gender versus sexual orientation, gender expression, and how we all have a gender identity. Tando goes on to talk about the differences between parenting a gender-expansive child vs. parenting a transgender child. She also covers complex topics such as navigating the holidays, bullying, and dealing with outside influences.

There are several chapters just for parents that focus on self-care, trusting your gut, and how to manage your emotions. Not one aspect of being the parent of a gender-expansive or transgender child has been forgotten, including how to advocate for your child at school. If there’s a question you’ve thought of regarding your child, Tando has likely covered it.

Ultimately, your acceptance will be one of the most important aspects on your child’s journey. On this journey to acceptance and support, validate your feelings, be kind to yourself, find a place to be heard, and talk to other parents of transgender children. They are the people who can most relate to your rollercoaster of emotions on this path with your transgender child. p.97

In the Outside Influences chapter, Tando covers the difficult topic of how to tell other people about your child. She discusses difficult responses, the difference between “out” and “undisclosed,” and what to do when people ask inappropriate questions.

Of all the books I’ve read for parents of transgender children, this book has the most underlines and flags. This will be a book you refer back to again and again.

At 239 pages, The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity is 15 chapters and an index. It also contains a section with resources parents and educators can use. There is a sample letter parents can use to send to family and friends when their child comes out. There is also a transition worksheet. It helps people work through using a new name and pronouns and ways to refer to a person. All in all, the whole book is a great resource.

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