C.C. asks from Houston, MO on July 15, 2009
Teen Sexuallity Issues
I am really not even sure where to begin. My 15 yo son seems to think he's bi-sexual.
I allowed my son's to have Myspace and Facebook pages, most of their friend were already socializing this way. (I did this with the understanding that I would have full access)
during one of my monitoring sessions I discovered that my oldest son had become friends with a few QUESTIONABLE people. I asked him about it and he said they had been added for a particular game that he was playing on there. So I left it alone.
Then during another monitoring I noticed that my son was emailing some of these questionable people with various ages teen to adult. (through Myspace email) rather personal conversations as if they had met. As i continued digging I realized that my son had these peoples phone numbers and had spoke to them and been texting them as well..
I also noticed that my son had changed his sexuality from Straight to Bi leaning more towards gay. I asked him about this and these people, my son started lying to me about all sorts of things and I grounded him from the computer. I explained to him how scary this was and that initiating contact with these people was unsafe even if it was just by phone.
At this point I am totally freaked out. My sons go to their dad's every other weekend and I have informed him of whats going on and about taking away computer privileges. My oldest accesses his Dad's computer after everyone is asleep and Creates this New myspace page, and also makes a profile on TeenSpot.com
My son's come home from their Dads and my oldest asks if he can get online again (me thinking he had just spent a full 10 days without computer access) say ok, "But remember what we talked about....") He says I remember and even repeats things I had said before.
I was making supper, in and out of the room glancing at the monitor regularly..
I noticed enough things to know that his page was different. so I called the boys into supper and at that point he just X"ed out the page and came to the table. After eating, I asked my boys to clear the table and I went Straight to the computer. It was at that time that I found the "NEW" myspace page and all of the contact info for the 90% gay and bisexual friends he had... Plus his link to the teenspot.com profile. I WAS TERRIFIED. I demanded usernames and passwords. After getting into these pages I was sickened even more by the amount of filth on myspace that seems to be accepted by the site. My son had made friends and chatted with many ppl. I would only classify as pedophiles. His age was clearly posted on his page and theirs too. At this point I canceled both myspace accounts that he had and the teenSpot page. I have to say that the conversations he was having with these ppl could totally be used against them in court. I have these documented, printed, also the names and phone numbers that were given to my son.
Before I deleted my son's original myspace page,I noticed several of his classmates from school pages and several of them claiming that they are gay or bisexual... WHAT IS GOING ON ??? When I see these kids (mine included) at football games or other social functions, the bi-boys are with their girl friends and bi-girls are with their boy friends. I know a few of them well enough, that I just ask them about their myspace.. a few of them say that their parents don't check what they do on the computer or who they talk to. One even said he just put BI on his page just because another friend did.
So What Happened?™
At this point, having been freaked out by the number of kids from my sons school that think they are gay or bi.. I have realized that my son is addicted to this like an Alcoholic to a drink. I removed all the sources. I took his cell and He is not allowed to be on the computer. I am scared for the safety of my son and his friend.. After catching my son having phone conversations with ppl he met from teenspot and myspace and knowing this persons family, I put a stop to the contact. My next big fear is that this will happen again, my son was planning on meeting this person while at his Dad's house 50 miles away... I found that this Other Person has several web pages MySpace, FB, TeenSpot ETC. I notice though this Other Person's pages that he clearly has one page for "Family" to see and the other pages are for Any/everyone else.
I called his father.(the person my son tried to meet) In conversation about all of this I find out that we are having very similar problems.
I realize the safety issues at hand here. We have so many issues here and my choice to put teen sexuality was probably wrong, it could have read "Teen sexuality/TEEN Phone and Internet Safety/Sneeky Teens"
Since my original posting date, and the denial of computer or cell phone use. We got counseling as a family and for my son by himself. things are going very well. I actually can have a conversation with him about these issues without him shutting off and ignoring me. I asked him if he wanted to have his phone back since school was starting and he said he didn't. We talked about using the computer and agreed that it would only be used for school assignments and research for school projects. I am very proud of my son for having the courage to realize there was a problem and face it. Also for his ability see that I am not in his world to make it HELL on him, but to help in any way needed.
S.B. answers from St. Louis on July 16, 2009
I can understand you being concerned but at 15 a person knows what their sexual preference is. I know it's not what you want to hear but I would try and be more supportive of him. He is only going to hide more things from you and feel shamful.
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R.N. answers from Kansas City on July 16, 2009
Male, female, gay, straight..you are right - he should be VERY careful about who he speaks to or meets on the internet. That's especially true of young people who are so naive but think they know everything.
He is very young. He might be experimenting, confused, etc...and things will change in a few years. Or he might be gay.
So brace yourself. I'm sorry but you really should consider adjusting your view of homosexuality. Any scientific/non-religious source will tell you that it certainly is not a choice. What you BELIEVE or DON'T BELIEVE has no bearing on the reality of your son's sexuality. His "behavior" might be a choice - as is *yours*. But his sexuality is not. He will be gay no matter what you say, do, or want.
Any person can behave badly when it comes to sex. So gay or straight, kids should be extremely careful about what risks they take and what situations they put themselves in.
But this situation is in your hands. You will doom yourself and your entire family to a future of pain, anger, and eventual loss of contact altogether if you persist in fighting this. I sincerely hope that you do not CHOOSE to reject your son over this. It's not the end of the world. There are resources to help parents and families cope when they are not accepting of this.
Honestly, you're going to have to choose between your SON and your HANG UP. You will lose him if you make the wrong choice. The harder you fight now, the farther away he will run and you could lose him forever. Best of luck to you.
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A.N. answers from Kansas City on July 15, 2009
If you want a son at all you better learn to accept him for who he is rather than trying to change something that he has no control over. I am sure it is difficult enough for him just being a teen and being different without having a parent who thinks there is something wrong with him also. Of course you need to set rules that your son must follow but they shouldn't include who he is, that is up to him. Orientation is absolutly not a choice and making your son believe there is something wrong with him could easily lead to him breaking ties with you all together or worse suicide.
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K.W. answers from Kansas City on July 16, 2009
If you believe that being gay is a choice and that you can counsel your son out of it, then you are setting yourself (and your son) up for nothing but disappointment. Even assuming it is a choice, if your son is as determined to be gay as he seems to be, it doesn't sound like he is going to let you change his mind. He obviously already knows your thoughts on this. You're going to have to decide how you'll behave if your son really is gay and decides to live his life that way. Will you accept him, or will you have to part ways?
Of course, this may be a phase, or an experiment. Lots of teens are kind of mixed up about sexuality. If so, he will figure it out on his own. A counselor, especially one who approaches it from a "sin" or "right v. wrong" perspective, will just put your son on the defensive and make him dig in his heels. If he sees you as supportive parents who want him to be happy, you will come out of this with a better relationship, no matter what your son's sexuality is.
It sounds like you have a great family. Don't let this ruin it for all of you.
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J.R. answers from Kansas City on July 15, 2009
Whether you believe it's by "choice" or by "creation" - denial will get you nowhere. If your son is gay, bisexual etc. there is nothing you can do about it. Choosing not to accept it will drive him further away and inevitably cause more lying and dishonesty. Although you may not choose to embrace his lifestyle you really have no right to make him feel ashamed or wrong about it. Parents don't always agree with their kids but it is our duty to LOVE and RESPECT our children regardless of their sexual preference. I guarantee if you hold your ground on your "no tolerance" policy - you will end up with a whole lot less than a gay son - you will end up with one that runs away to find acceptance or one that is suicidal because of the "shame" he's brought you. In the end, this may be nothing more than just curiosity, a joke amongst friends or just plain exploration. At any rate, your son deserves the right to know his own sexuality without it being told to him by someone who clearly doesn't understand or accept anything out of the norm.
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C.P. answers from Columbia on July 16, 2009
Wow. Just wow. I can imagine that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Don't worry...it will be okay!
First: Separate the things YOU can control from the things you cannot.
You can control what he is doing on the computer in your house. Make an account for him using the adminstrator account (your admin account should be password protected, his account should not). You can use the parental controls on your computer to choose what he can and cannot have access to. It will block the sites you don't want him on. Also, there are plenty of keyloggers and monitoring programs out there which will track every move he makes on the computer. You can load it to run in the background and he will have no idea it even exists.
You can also control who he hangs out with and where during non-school time. If he is going places and meeting questionable people then don't give him the opportunity to go to those places. Require that he get a job, volunteer at the old folks' home, or do some other kind of character building activity.
Finally, he should not be allowed to contact anyone other than those you deem appropriate on his cell. You should scrub his contact list and remove anyone you don't know or trust. Charge him from his own personal funds for every unauthorized call or text you find on your billing statement. You can control that.
What you can't control: His choice to try to understand and explore his own sexuality. If you really beleive it's a choice (I do not, as I am a medical professional and have seen physiological evidence to the contrary), it is HIS choice. He will either do one of two things: Stick to his choice, or "grow out of it." You can disagree with him, make him feel ashamed, but shunning him will only fuel his defiance and drive him to believe that he cannot trust you enough to communicate with you (which is obvious, since he is already lying to you).
My advice, AFTER fixing all of the things you CAN control:
Let him know, calmly and respectfully, that you do not approve of what he is saying and how he is behaving, and do not approve of his "choice." However, you will agree to disagree in order to maintain peace and harmony in your home. My instinct is that he is using this as a way to shock you so that he might have some attention. Just let go of it and let it resolve itself. Seriously, if "the worst" should happen, after all of your control measures he still decides that he is "bi" (he's 15...at that age they think that asking someone to "go out with me" means that they have a girlfriend and a serious relationship...he likely has no idea what these sexual declarations really mean), does that mean that he is not your son? That you don't love him? That he cannot do things that you are proud of and grow to be an adult of responsibility and integrity?
I say let that issue drop for the time being. If it goes away, great. If not, he's still your son. Focus on the things you can control, straighten out the issues with computer use and blatant disrespect and lying. Spend some REAL time with him (no TV, no phone, no distractions, no lecturing) and see what happens.
I wish you luck! Please let us know how it goes.
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A.C. answers from Kansas City on July 15, 2009
How very difficult this must be for you. Regardless of what you believe to be true or not true about sexuality as a choice, he is your son. Love him the best way you know how. That does not mean you have to like his choices, but at the very least listen to him. He is making decisions now about who he is not just sexually, but as a person. Be present as much as he will allow. Talk to him about his feelings if he will open up. Judging him will only push him farther away. If you want a relationship with your son you are going to have to meet him where he is. You might see this as a phase, but if you don't take him seriously you could lose him, and that would be the most unfortunate outcome possible.
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A.S. answers from Kansas City on July 15, 2009
Through your concern for this sexuality, you are missing the bigger issues...
1) Safety. First and foremost, you should be more worried about his safety on the internet. What information has he shared with these people? His phone number, his home address? Has he met these people in real life? Does he plan to? I'm sure I don't need to tell you that there are predators on the internet. It's very, very dangerous. This is what you should be most concerned about. This is what you should be talking to him about. And honestly, I was a little floored that you were more worried about his orientation than his safety.
2) His need to feel like he has to hide things from you. He's obviously aware of your feelings about sexuality, so he knows he needs to hide things about himself from you, which is sad. It's difficult enough being a teenager, but adding in the fact that he is struggling with his sexual identity makes it even harder... plus he knows he can't even be himself at home for fear of being punished or outcast. Keeping that line of communication open is crucial, as is having a mutual respect for each other. Without those two things, I hate to agree with the other 2 ladies below me, but you risk damaging your relationship with your son forever, or worse, losing him forever.
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C.B. answers from St. Louis on July 16, 2009
You will lose your son if you don't try to see some of his curiousity or behavior as "acceptable". One of your roles as a parent is to try to protect him from questionable people, and those people on facebook or myspace would be boys over 18 who may be trying to lure him. If your son is gay or bi-sexual, you are not going to change that, and you will begin to see a lot worse behavior the more you try.
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