A cross-dressing parent can feel the need to explain dress preferences to his or her child. This enables the parent to preempt an awkward revelation at an unexpected time; saving both parent and child unnecessary embarrassment. Approach the disclosure carefully, with the child's well-being in mind. Know what you intend to say before attempting to explain cross dressing to your child.
Consider openly cross dressing while raising children from infancy. There are both pros and cons to this method, primarily involving discretion. While this does produce the easiest path to acceptance, be aware that very young children don't understand that some family matters are private.
Think about waiting until your child is a bit more mature. When a child is between the ages of seven and eleven, they're old enough to better appreciate privacy. They're also young enough to still be very accepting of gender differences. Best of all, at that age you still maintain a great deal of parental influence.
Use an occasion, such as Halloween or a costume party, to break the ice. After witnessing you cross dressed for a special occasion, bring up the subject a day or two later when you're wearing regular clothes. Explain that dressing up is an activity you enjoy at other times as well.
Allow your child to ask questions. The easiest way to explain cross dressing to a child is to let him or her lead the conversation. Using this method, you won't give them more information than they're ready to address.
Listen closely to your child. They may be unable to explain fears, so you must follow your instincts to ease them. Many children fear cross dressing is a new development, and that the family life will change. Reassure your child that cross dressing is a longstanding activity; that you are and will remain the same parent you've always been.
Teenagers and Adult Children
Follow Steps 3-5 above.
Answer any questions your child has honestly. Be prepared for them to ask you about your sexual preferences. If you're married, they may also question your spouse's sexual orientation. This is a normal reaction, and although it may seem an impertinent line of questioning, it's best to answer truthfully.
Know that your child may question his or her own gender preferences or sexuality. They may have concerns about "catching" cross dressing urges from a parent, but be unwilling to discuss her fears with you. Your child may fear you are secretly gay, and that they could be also. Answer any question they ask, and provide them with credible cross-dressing information to assuage those fears. (See our Resource section below.)
Explain that you have not changed, but simply told him more about yourself. Then give him space. Be prepared for your child to display a variety of emotions, including anger. Teenagers and adult children often require more time to process this information than younger kids.
Be upfront and unashamed while speaking to your child. Children take their cues from parents. Their perception of you as a cross dresser will be colored by the disclosure experience.
If you have a supportive spouse, explain cross dressing to your child together. By presenting a united front, you reassure the child that the family is not dissolving over the issue.
If your child makes the discovery before you're prepared, quickly change into regular clothes before trying to talk to them. The discussion will be far less traumatic for both of you.