This Week in Family
The issue of child welfare was on many people’s minds last week, with news of the Trump administration’s separation of more than 2,000 children from parents facing charges of illegally crossing the border. Ashley Fetters, a staff writer at The Atlantic, highlights a troubling side effect of this policy: Some shelter staffers have reported that they are prevented from hugging or touching kids in need of comfort, and research shows that this lack of physical touch can have negative consequences for kids’ ability to cope with stress, as well as their long-term health and development.
Earlier this week, The Atlantic published our July/August cover story, “When Children Say They’re Trans,” in which Jesse Singal reports on the choices facing parents whose children are exploring their gender identity. For children suffering from gender dysphoria, physical transition can provide profound relief. But it’s a solution that isn’t right in all cases. Singal reports on the clinicians who are working to devise a protocol that will help the most children find the best care—and the parents who are navigating these situations.
In the first of a series of responses to the piece, the writer Robyn Kanner argues that some people’s decision to detransition is the result of society’s hostility to trans people, not an indication that that person is not really trans at all. Kanner emphasizes the dangers of failing to support young people as they explore their gender identity. “People have to trust that the youth who sway in the breeze of gender will land on their feet when they’re ready. Wherever that is, it’ll be beautiful,” Kanner writes. Weigh in on the conversation in Homebodies, The Atlantic’s Facebook group for discussing family life.