Volume 29, Issue 2 (2000)
Gender Atypical Youth: Clinical and Social Issues
Douglas C. Haldeman
Abstract: School psychologists must often address the challenges presented by gender atypical youth; for example, girls who are referred to by their peers as “tomboys” and boys who are referred to by their peers as “sissified.” Such children often are the targets of harassment and abuse from peers, as well as being the focus of concern for parents and school personnel. This article summarizes the theoretical and treatment literature in this area, which has historically pathologized the gender-nonconforming child and based treatment upon adaptation to social norms. A social constructionist perspective is provided as a lens through which the school psychologist may view the gender-nonconforming child in an effort to de-pathologize some aspects of gender a typicality and avoid the automatic confabulation of gender behavior and sexual orientation. Suggestions for interventions with a spectrum of gender-nonconforming children as well as with family and/or school systems are offered.
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