Tag archives: children

Protecting Children in a Post-Trans Ideological World

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

May 2, 2022

For the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided, there’s hope that the lives of the pre-born will once again be valued and protected in the United States of America. This optimism comes after nearly 50 years of praying, rallying, promoting legislative efforts, and organizing to ensure our elected officials voted for life.

In the years leading up to this moment, there’s been an awareness among the pro-life movement that we must offer solutions for some of the circumstances that could cause a person to believe that ending a baby’s life is a viable or even necessary option. In an effort to give answers to our society’s harms, some have opened adoption and fostering agencies, others pregnancy resource centers, while still others have offered counseling and shelter to pregnant women in situations of domestic violence.

As we reflect on the possibility that this historic wrong of legalized elective abortion might be righted, and as we build the foundations of a world in which the unborn are protected and their mothers supported, let’s extend this same hopeful expectation to our children who have been exposed to post-modern/transgender ideology.

The Bible talks about a day when justice would be lacking, and truth would “fall in the streets” (Isaiah 59:14). Clearly, we are living in just such a time. Post-modern or social constructivist thought tells us that there is no objective truth and what matters is “our truth.” But this kind of “truth” is subject to humanity’s desires and can be easily changed to fit the latest social trends. A standard this fickle can never serve as a rudder for an identity-starved generation. This type of fluid truth can never foster a sense of meaning and well-being that is able to withstand the changing tides of human existence.

How do we, who refuse to let truth fall in the streets, prepare for a post-post-modern/post-transgender world?

Think about what it will look like when a generation, perhaps Gen Z, becomes disillusioned by the ideology that says, “life is without boundaries” and “the only objective truth that exists is what each person identifies as true”? What happens when this conception of truth provides no grounding for emptiness, pain, or a mercurial sense of self? Or when the collective consciousness of a generation is akin to an emotional roaring sea that has no limits to the waves of confusion experienced from one moment to the next?

Right now, the medical and psychological professions do not have answers to the gender identity confusion. In many U.S. states, these professionals are not even allowed to talk about root causes of confusion over biological sex. These professionals (I’m affiliated, too) may only offer affirmation. But as some who have detransitioned have reported, a time can come when the novelty of the transgender procedures wears off and the tide of applause from trans-affirming activists rolls back. After a person’s foundation has been laid bare, what remains is pain, unresolved identity struggles, and the confusion that initiated the desire to be someone else. When this ideology and supposed treatment collapses, we must be prepared!

Because, ready or not, they are coming, and the need will be great. Many in the trans-identifying community will realize that they were sold a lie about their identity by some of their closest family members, friends, and authority and political figures. The sense of betrayal and grief, as we have already seen with the first fruits of those who have detransitioned, will be profound. This means the church and those who remain clear and fair-minded need to be ready to receive them with open arms.

First, we can’t lose hope! Just last week, one pro-transgender group noted that 200 bills had been introduced in 2021 to prevent access to gender-affirming “health care” and aimed at mitigating the problems that arise with social spaces and biological males competing in women’s sports. This all points to a willingness of parents and concerned citizens to lobby their politicians to stand for truth and protect children.

Second, we need to learn about the needs of this population and ways we can serve them. The trans ideology has been advertised as a pathway to becoming your “true self” and a grand solution for mental distress. The reality is that many of those who identify with trans-ideology have childhood traumas in their backgrounds. Some may have a diagnosis of autism or were deeply influenced by their peers and social media. This ideology is no substitute for some of these root issues. When they come for help, they don’t necessarily just need someone with a degree in psychology. They will need someone who can listen, empathize with their pain, and show mercy that is tethered to truth.

Third, don’t stop praying. The pathway to freedom has and will always be through knowing the Truth, Jesus Christ. The Truth is the only person who can truly set someone free. Let’s pray that mercy and truth will meet over those struggling with gender identity.

There are many resources that are available to begin learning more about this population. Here are a few:

10 Tips for Discussing Infertility with Compassion

by Joy Zavalick

April 28, 2022

April 24 through 30 is Infertility Awareness Week, a time to become informed about a struggle that some couples face when seeking to grow their family and how we can respond to their experiences with love, encouragement, and compassion. An estimated 15 percent of couples will have trouble conceiving or experience infertility. Having a reservoir of helpful words to share with those facing infertility is an essential component of loving those particular neighbors well. Knowing which words are unhelpful to say is equally important.

5 Compassionate Things to Say

1. “I am praying for you.”

One helpful response to hearing about someone’s struggle with infertility is letting them know that you are talking to God about their pain and asking for His intervention. Prayers should not only be that the couple would be able to conceive but also that they will find peace and contentment with the path to parenthood that God desires for them—even if that looks like pursuing adoption instead of having biological children.

2. “I am here to listen if you want to vent.”

Many times, keeping silent and listening is the best way to show compassion to someone who is struggling with infertility. If someone has chosen to confide in you about their infertility struggles, honor that trust by patiently listening to them and allowing that conversation to occupy your time together.

3. “You will be wonderful parents, even if your path to parenthood looks different than you expected.”

Some couples facing infertility may greatly desire children but feel intimidated by the adoption process or have a stigmatized view of adoption. Encourage them that adoption is a beautiful form of growing a family if they feel led to pursue it.

4. “I know that today may be extra hard for you. Do you need anything?”

When someone is facing infertility, specific events or celebrations can lose their joy or become a source of pain. Sensitively reaching out on days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, or after events like baby showers or gender reveal parties for other people, can help your loved ones feel seen and understood.

5. “Seeking professional support and counseling is healthy, not shameful.”

Nearly 40 percent of women who experience infertility develop symptoms of depression. While lending a listening ear as a friend is always helpful, it may also be necessary to encourage a loved one struggling with depression as a result of infertility to seek further counseling.

5 Things Not to Say

1. “When are you going to have a baby?”

Unless a married couple shares with you that they are open to discussing their plans to become parents, it is not appropriate to ask; you never know who may be struggling with infertility or miscarriage. Respect the privacy of married couples in their fertility journey by allowing them to make announcements at their own pace about having a baby.

2. “At least…”

A compassionate response to hearing that a loved one is facing infertility does not include making them feel guilty or ungrateful by pointing out the ways they are blessed. Phrases such as “At least you have each other” or “At least you will save money without kids” are not the encouragement that couples need to hear.

3. “Not everyone is meant to be a parent.”

Just because a couple is struggling or unable to conceive biologically does not mean that they are not cut out to be parents. Infertility may be an indication that they should pursue adoption, not that they should abandon parenthood entirely.

4. “Here’s what worked for us when we were trying to conceive.”

Many couples facing infertility have already consulted with a doctor or fertility specialist about their dilemma. Unless the couple specifically requests your advice about conception, it is not your place to offer unsolicited solutions or home remedies.

5. “Just have faith, and God will allow you to conceive.”

Although doubtlessly tragic, it is a biological reality of living in a fallen world that some couples will never be able to conceive naturally. Compassionate encouragement to couples facing infertility should not include false promises or making them believe that a lack of faith is the reason why they cannot conceive. Couples should certainly seek God in their heartache, but infertility is not a punishment for a lack of faith and should not be treated as such. Examples in Scripture of God opening or closing a woman’s womb for a specific purpose can be distinguished from the everyday experience of infertility as a result of the fall, in which case God is not punishing a woman individually through infertility.

Australian Psychiatric Group Takes Important Step Towards Keeping Children Safe

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

November 10, 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) recently issued a new position statement on the treatment of gender dysphoria (GD). This announcement follows recent moves by several European countries to amend their offerings of physiologically damaging procedures on minors who experience distress over embracing their biological sex.

Although the RANZCP doesn’t go as far as to ban transgender procedures on minors, their statement does echo a few noteworthy points raised by proponents of policies aimed at protecting children from these physiologically damaging practices. The RANZCP position paper:

  1. Acknowledged there is a lack of quality empirical evidence in the scientific literature on interventions for GD. In particular, there is a dearth of long-term research that shows a positive effect of these procedures on mental health outcomes. (Click here for more information on the scientific method.)
  2. Referenced studies showing an elevated risk for poor mental health outcomes among trans-identifying youth, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. Considering this, the RANZCP recommend multiple treatment options and a comprehensive assessment of the patient.
  3. Stated that the comprehensive assessment should evaluate other mental health concerns and not GD alone. The evaluation should also include an exploration into the circumstances that gave rise to GD and an examination into the personal and familial background of the patient.
  4. Admonished psychiatrists to give evidence of a minors’ ability to give informed consent. Additionally, an assessment of the risks and benefits of various treatments for GD was emphasized. (Click here for more information on ethics.)

The RANZCP’s statement is one more small step towards recognizing the problematic state of mental health care for minors suffering from GD. By including an assessment of the family and ruling out the existence of mental health issues among caregivers, their position appropriately affirms previously held approaches to mental health care with minors. Additionally, the RANZCP endorses the profession’s commitment to providing evidence-based practices, exploring multiple treatment options and contributing factors to psychological distress, and ascertaining whether the minor can truly give consent to care.

As we continue our battle to keep America’s children safe, it is heartening to see other countries and professional groups recognizing the flagrant gaps in the scientific literature and reaffirming that treatment should be informed by evidence and not uniformly given to popular treatment protocols. A decade ago, this statement would’ve seemed irrelevant to most mental health professionals, but today, we see that we cannot take for granted good practice standards. For now, we are grateful for one more stride toward keeping our kids safe.

A full review of the RANZCP can be found here.

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