Background: Emerging adulthood is a developmental period that encompasses individuals from their late teens through at least their mid-twenties, causing parents to be engaged in “parenting” activities longer than in the past. The present study aims to explore the parenting experience and its ascribed meaning among parents of trans emerging adults in Israel. Method: Perceptions and perspectives of 18 Israeli parents of trans emerging adults regarding their parenting experiences were explored using in-depth, semi-structured interviews. All interviews were audiotaped, fully transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. Results: Analysis of the interviews yielded three main themes. The first pertains to parental worries; the second pertains to parental support practices, including accompanying and supporting their child in different arenas and serving as their companions and advocates; and the third pertains to parental coping skills. Conclusion: Participants portrayed the parenting of trans emerging adults as a demanding, challenging, and complex experience which they described as a “full time job.” Their parenting experiences revolved around the tension between responding to the special needs of their trans children by helping them navigate this period of experimentation and exploration, and the need to give them autonomy and help them develop the independence they want and need. This tension should be understood in light of the specific situation and the stage of the child’s transition, the parent-child relationship, and the family situation, in addition to the wider societal context, which is often hostile and transphobic.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author would like to thank all the participants for their openness and trust, as well as Dr. Maya Tsfati for her role in the data collection, and Mr. Gal Komem for his role in reviewing the literature.
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
- Emerging adulthood