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Parent How to support my son?

Discussion in 'For Parents or Guardians of LGBT+ Children' started by Timsax, Nov 16, 2020.  |  Print Topic

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  1. Timsax

    Timsax Lurker

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    Hi there, first time posting on forum.

    Basically, I’m looking for advice to support my son. He is 12 and being bullied at school by children saying he’s gay. He has not told me or my wife he’s gay. He talks to my wife more about things, and I would so much like to help him and talk to him about things, if he is not so willing to talk to me.

    I get reports from my wife’s conversations with him and find it frustrating that I get things through her filter. She is trying to support him, but I am concerned she might not be giving the support he should be as she has struggled previously with the idea that he might be gay. She is Peruvian and when she first came to the UK 12 years ago had quite intolerant views on homosexuality. She has changed a lot but a part of her is I think hoping that he isn’t gay. She says this is because she doesn’t want him to suffer. She is also very resistant to the idea that he could decide now about this, as she feels it is too early. She thinks other kids or other things might have put this idea in his head.

    But on the other hand, she is more expressive than me and loves her son so much, and I think perhaps because of this he opens up to her more.

    I don’t know for sure if he is gay or not or whether he knows one way or the other. I had a previous time a year or so ago when I looked for help on the internet, but just reading stuff, which suggested I should tread carefully, not making presumptions or, communicating that I suspected or had somehow made presumptions.

    I think one of the reasons he does not share with me is that another child wrote “gay” on the inside of his jacket and I followed up with the school. My wife said he has been upset about it but then said he was okay about it. I just thought it was unacceptable behaviour from other children and that the teacher should know about this. I told the teacher without telling my son (Eduardo) but a couple of months ago he somehow discovered the email I had written when looking at my iPad. Really annoyed with myself about this. Perhaps I should have got his permission, but I feel sure that he would have told me not to raise the issue. He seems to think that raising the issue will make it worse.

    How can I help me son? I am trying to just be there for him, show support, show him I love him. I try to show that I am tolerant of others sexual orientation and I think he knows I am. But I’m not sure this is enough.

    I’m not sure that my wife isn’t somehow giving him the message that she will be disappointed if he is gay and that it is deviant in some way. He told my wife over a year ago that he had somehow looked up material about sex with boys on the internet and was terribly guilty about it. To her credit she told him that this was nothing to be worried about and that we are all curious. But he apparently kept telling her how bad he felt. I couldn’t talk to him about it as my wife had promised him she wouldn’t tell me.

    It worries me that he might somehow think I will judge him.

    Well I am going though things here in no particular order.

    He has talked to my wife about talking to ChildLine so that is good. No idea if he called them or not.

    In many ways he is very together. He is very intelligent and already seems to think of me as a rather outdated relic. Going to secondary school was a shock for him. He found making new friends difficult and finds it especially difficult to make friends with boys in his class. He reports to my wife that they spend a lot of time talking about sex with girls and he says he has nothing in common with them. He has befriended some of the girls in the class, though my wife worries they are a bad influence on him. The school is reporting some poor behaviour from him, though I know he is trying to improve.

    My wife told me yesterday he was sad as he saw some of his friends from his old school while walking home. He caught up with them and one of them said, “oh, we were just talking about you and whether you were gay or not.”. I don’t think he knew what to say. He feels bad that his old friends treat him like this and seems particularly sad that they don’t defend him but join in the accusations. He asked my wife how he would know he was gay or not.

    Any ideas of how to help him appreciated. I am interested in views on how likely he is to know about his sexuality but to be trying to let us know slowly or just keeping it to himself.

    Also, any insight on how anyone managed to deal with being bullied, teased, or isolated at school. I so wish I understood more of what he is going through. I remember a lot of teasing when I was at school, but my reaction at the time was similar to some of Eduardo’s friends. I would just keep silent and not get involved in the discussion. I remember there were boys who were isolated at school and bullied for being gay. Looking back, I must admit I myself I did not support them as much as I should have but just kept quiet.

    I want to not be quiet about this for my son now, but I have no idea how to go about it.
     
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  2. Jo A
    Innocent

    Jo A ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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    If you love your son you need to get time for the two of you to do something together in public. If you are lucky, you will see couples (m/m or f/f) and tell him how wonderful it is to see people who are happy. Everyone has that right.

    It is a simple thing but a great start and one I hope you can build on and have the path of discussion open.

    As for your wife, you need to have an open discussion there as well, that your son needs all the love and support that you two can give and explain why you support your son and why God Loves and supports him as well.

    As for bulling, work with the school. They should be able to help you.

    From the sound of it, you are mending a fence with your son. It is not easy but Love can do many wonderful things.

    Please do not give up.

    I was beaten and have the scares to show for it. I was emancipated at 16 and had the first person say she loved me and meant it and told me I was worthy at 17.

    You got this but know it is not going to be a cake walk.

    Peace - Jo

    Sorry - Welcome to a safe place full of wonderful people who care, listen and do not judge.
     
  3. starlightprincess

    starlightprincess Active Veteran
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    Hey<3 So, when it comes to you and your son, its a bit easier to help I think. When it comes to the school stuff however (the bullying), things get tougher=( Starting with the school stuff, in my opinion, you absolutely did the right thing by reporting the behavior and trying to get these kids disciplined. They need to absolutely know what they are doing is wrong and have consequences. My only concern is either not enough is being done OR the bullying will get worse in retaliation. I think the kids should be expelled after being warned once so that they REALLY get the message that this can't happen, but I know schools have different methods and tolerance amounts unfortunately. I also think they should make a point to talk about this at school with all the kids and educate them on different sexualities, make it a discussion. A lot of bullying and ridicule comes from feeling something is different and fearing it/not knowing a lot about it. If it was talked about more, maybe kids wouldn't bother each other about it as often or at all because it will be more accepted. I feel a lot of kids would prob even benefit from those discussions because you KNOW your son isn't the only one feeling those things. Some of his own bullies may actually be going through the same thing and projecting their frustrations on your son. I also think part of the discipline should be sending not only your son, but the boys harassing him to the school therapist more than once to discuss why this is happening and also so that your son can be helped through what's been going on in a safe space with a 3rd party individual. Whether ANY of this can be done, I don't know, but I do hope even some of it can<3 Its worth it to maybe suggest it to the school.

    In terms of how you can help your son, I can def. see that he seems to feel safe with your wife which IS good, but I can also see why you'd be worried that maybe her advice isn't the greatest of advice. If I were you, I would simply tell him the next time you are together, maybe before bed as you are saying goodnight "Edwardo, I just wanted to let you know that if you ever want to talk to me about what's been going on at school and how you feel, you can do that. You never have to feel you need to hide anything from me, i'll never be upset at you, i'll never judge you. You can depend on me, I want to help if you ever want me to. I love you son, and you are absolutely enough to me. There's nothing about you i'd ever change or want to change. I want to see you happy" or something like that. Beyond that, you can't make him tell you unfortunately=( The best thing you can do is let him know you are a safe space for him and create that comfort and security for him which may open the conversation. Teenagers and even young adults, around that age is when they start to hide stuff from parents because as we all remember that's the age where we feel "mom and dad don't understand" and sometimes that's REALLY true. Being supportive and loving through it all though is the very best you can do for him. He will appreciate and respect you for it.
     
  4. Former Member #11

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    Hello and welcome to this lovely supportive forum. I’m glad you joined!

    My son is gay and I realised this when he was at a young age. Perhaps around 12 or 13 like your son.

    He went over to high school and he gravitated to having lots and lots of girl friends. He got along better with them and had quite a following of girls.

    I remember he hit a very bad time in high school with bullies and what I did was contact his head of year and chatted with him about what was happening. This made no improvement so I kept him at home. I threatened the school that if they didn’t sort out and punish the pupils responsible that I would deregister my son and get him home tutored. I told them that whilst school is important I will not have my son’s mental health suffer for the rest of his life due to bullying at school. I told them I would find decent places for him to socialise with other young people.

    So the school listened and did something about it. I sent my son back to school and aside from the ocassiinal thing, he was happy because the main situation was resolved.

    At that time, I actually asked him outright was he gay because if he was it was absolutely fine. We had gay friends in our family so he knew we were fine with it. His dad was present in the room and he reiterated that all is ok. So my son nodded his head. He was indeed gay and we all had a good chat about it.

    The main thing is communication and then maintaining that communication with your son. We all communicate in different ways. But if you could find a way to spend the time with your son, then that would create an opportunity to openly discuss sexuality with him. You can then ask him if he is gay (with his mum present too) and tell him that if he is, it’s absolutely ok with both of you. That would be great.

    My son did go through some horrible times as he went through puberty and adolescence and even as an older teen. But we got through them all by openly discussing any issues. He is now a fine young man with a very good career and he is happy.

    I wish this for your son too. I know what you’re going through and it’s a tough time but it does get easier over time.

    Good luck... and If you need a listening ear please feel free to message me. I’ll try to help as much as I can.
     
    #4 Former Member #11, Nov 16, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2020
  5. buzzzer
    Speechless

    buzzzer Well-Known Contributor
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    Welcome to the forums, Timsax! I can't reply any better than those who replied before me. I just wanted to thank you for wanting to support and "be there" for your son, even though he doesn't realize it yet. I wish I had that when I was about his age. I do agree with what Jo A said. I think maybe the both of you should do something together to stengthen (or build) the bond between you, then let him know that he can open up to you. I also believe that your wife needs to be on the same page as you concerning your son. I wish the best for all of you.
     
  6. Timsax

    Timsax Lurker

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    Thank for the replies so far. Good food for thought! I do need to make space for more discussion with him. I used to go on bike rides with him and we'd always visit a cafe or pub on the way which was a good routine. Seem to have lost the habit now winter has set in in the UK.
     
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  7. Former Member #11

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    That sounds like a plan whenever it becomes possible. Lockdowns make these things difficult too don’t they? Good luck with it and I’m sure everything will be ok :) 
     

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