AIBU to keep this from my Husband? and what would you do?(216 Posts)
OH and I have been together for 12 years. We have ds (mine from a previous relationship but OH is the only Dad he has ever had) who is 13 and DD who is 8 and then one on the way.
Ds is a good lad, bit lacking in motivation perhaps and is hopeless at looking after anything but kids are kids I suppose. Anyway, about a yr ago a 6th form student started helping out in his class. Ds talked about this kid more and more and after a few weeks asked if he could invite him over for tea, ds had been falling behind in maths and this 6th former was helping him during the lesson and had offered to bring over some books to help him catch up. He came over and sat and helped Ds with his homework and we chatted a little about his career plans (wants to be a primary school teacher) and it was ok.
Then ds would ask if he could go over to the 17 yr olds house after school some days but I was reluctant to be perfectly honest to encourage this friendship. I found it odd that a 17yr old would want to hang out with a 12 yr old. Just a gut feeling that didn't quite sit right?
My ds had a facebook account with the condition that I also had the password and he kept it what he posted appropriate generally.
After an occasion when he didn't come home after school I logged into his facebook to contact a few of his friends. It turned out he had gone to the 17 yr olds house. I messaged and asked him if ds was there. He said no. I messaged again and told him that they had been seen together so I was giving him the opportunity to tell the truth before I lost my temper. He said ok, ds was there but that he didnt want to talk to me. I said that he can want what he likes but as he is 12 he doesn't actually get to choose, I said I was leaving the house in 5mins and I expected to see ds walking down the road to meet me otherwise I would have no choice but to knock on the door and have a conversation with him and his mum about why it is not acceptable for someone in a position of trust within a classroom to continue a friendship with a child outside of school whether that person is 17 or not. As far as I was concerned his lie about my ds being with him is reason enough for me to trust my gut and ask him to stay away from ds.
Anyway. All was quiet and normal for a few weeks and we went into town one saturday. Ds wanted to go off with his cousin (also 12) to games workshop for an hour so I said that was absolutely fine but to meet me at a certain time and place. As I was walking toward the place at which we were to meet I saw the 17 yr old walking away from ds. I told ds how disappointed I was that he had not done as I had asked and stopped contact with the 17yr old - we had an arguement and ds told me that the 17yr old had confided in him that he was gay so ds felt like it was his duty to be his friend. I said I could understand why he would feel that way and I was proud that he wanted to be supportive but that frankly it didnt make much difference to me as to how I felt about their friendship (I had already suspected having seen facebook messages from the 17yr old to ds about how he thought he was attractive, MANY posts about how girls would be lucky to have him as a boyfriend and 1 conversation when ds was ill about how the 17yr old would look after him..)
... Monday morning I called the school and spoke to his head of year about what was going and what had happened but I didnt mention about the 17yr old coming out as I knew that the 17 yr old hadnt spoken to anyone else and would feel terrible if he had got a negative reaction because I would have wanted the friendship to end whether this kid was gay or straight - got to be honest though it didnt help.
I explained that I really didnt want to get the 17yr old into trouble but that I was concerned and felt that I had run out of options. She agreed that it was completely inappropriate and said she would speak to them both.
This was last year. I recently found out that they were still in sporadic contact by facebook message. I blew my top (not my finest moment) and grounded ds.
Yesterday he asked if he could go out after school to a friends house. I said that was fine. He was 2 hours late and I was pretty worried/pissed off by the time he walked in. He lied about where he had been and after being shouted at by me he owned up and said that he had been.... at the 17yr olds house! The 17 yr old is no longer working at ds' school by the way, his placement has been moved.
I literally had no words for how angry I felt and he was grounded and sent to his room. I told him he could spend the evening doing a page of writing.
When I went to bed I found the page of writing. It was a letter addressed to me detailing how he felt he could talk to the (now) 18yr old about his feelings in a way he couldnt speak to anyone else and that he wanted me to know that he is Bisexual and has a boyfriend.
Now, this wasnt a total surprise as he asked me a few weeks ago how I would feel if he or his sister told me that they were gay as his friend was talking about coming out to his mum. I told him that all I want for my children is to meet someone who tries to love them as much as I do. Whether that person is called Jack or Jill matters very little to me - what matters is respect and love.
So I read this letter last night. Ds said in the letter that he didnt want to talk about it and begged me not to tell OH because he believes OH would react badly. He might be right, he wouldn't blow up or anything but he certainly would find it difficult to be supportive i think.
So I haven't. I haven't mentioned it to anyone, just carried on as we were. I feel absolutely no different that his punishment for going against my wishes with regard to the 18yr old is that he be grounded but I don't want him to not have anyone to speak to if he feels he needs to.
what a mess. Anyone have any pearls of wisdom??? (and thank you for sticking with it if you got this far!!)
It's only a mess if you make it so. Respect his wishes and keep this to yourself.
If he wants to come out, he'll do it when he's ready. But if you out him, it could shatter his trust in you.
I think keeping it to yourself until you've had a proper face to face conversation with DS would be a good thing but honestly, he's going to find out sooner or later. Once you've spoken to DS, I would speak to DP alone, without DS. If you don't think he's going to be supportive then if he finds out from you first then it might stop DS seeing any negative reactions.
I think the main issue isn't the bisexual thing, it's this 18yo. You said DS had a boyfriend? I don't know about you but this 18yo is who I suspect. Your DS needs to know his inappropriate this relationship is (if he is the boyfriend) and that it is illegal for any sexual relationship. Obviously there is the whole "safe sex" talk you might need to go in to. I would definitely keep tabs on his social media, definitely concerning this 18yo. It seems odd in my opinion. Obviously you wouldn't want anything untoward happening but you may end up pushing him away if you tackle it too hard, I have no advice for that I'm afraid
I would keep it from your DH for now, but gently encourage your son to come out to him - offer to tell him yourself if necessary.
Insist to your DH that he changes his attitude and damn well IS supportive.
When I say I would tell DP that's only if DS says so! I wouldn't just tell him without because you would ruin the trust and he won't tell you anything in future.
Yeah don't say anything yet; he's only young.
He is a child and both parents need to support him, both can only do this if both are aware
No words of wisdom from me, sorry. It does sound like you are being a brill mum and I have a strong feeling that you will be alright. Its a hard one, whether to tell DH or not. You could wait and see how it pans out. But its a question of will he blow his top...DH?...or will he be supportive? I would tell your DS that you understand that he doesn't want to talk NOW but you are ready to be there when he decides. But I would also tell DS that it isn't right to keep DH out of this and that you will support him in telling his Dad. (cos that is what he has been and is) I think you are worried that the older boy could want to take things further and I understand that. Could you have a talk to him with his parents? It could be innocent and be just what your DS needs. Big Hugs.
I think you are right to seperate the two issues. The friendship with the 18 year old was inappropriate and you are right to discourage it particularly when neither of them were honest about it. Your son's feelings about his sexuality may all be tied up with that relationship but it sounds like he needs some space to work it all out at the moment, and a negative reaction from OH won't help. Will he talk to you about it? Or is there any counselling/ pastoral people at school that you trust not to take advantage of him but to give him a safe space to talk?
Oh my goodness, it took me a while to read that. What a situation. My opinion changed a lot reading your post. I can understand that your DS needs someone to talk to but I really feel the 18yr old has encouraged a lot of bad behaviour in your DC that is bang out of order. I would worry about his motives if I am honest. Your DS is still so young and must not worry yet about what his preferences are.
If your DS has asked you not to tell DH though I would be inclined to not tell him yourself but encourage DS to find a way of telling him himself or letting you tell him. He should be in the picture about his son really shouldn't he? If DH acts badly then that is another issue entirely and a whole new thread.
OP, no direct experience but big hugs - this must be a very confusing time for everyone. I guess my question would be do you think that the older lad 'groomed' your DS in any way or do you think that through their initial contact in the classroom they perhaps recognised kindred spirits and looked to each other for emotional support?
I don't think that 12 is too young to know your own sexuality but hormones and high emotions can make a situation confusing for a 12 year old. I think the main thing is to emphasise to your DS that you love and support him and will keep his confidence, until he is more sure of himself and wants to discuss this more widely, BUT that in order to do that you need an assurance from him that he'll be honest about where he is and who he's with as he is emotionally vulnerable
I would suggest that 12 is too young for a boyfriend or girlfriend and he needs to be focussing on his friends and schoolwork, so would be clear with him about that. Do you know who the 'boyfriend' he refers to is? If it's the 18 year old I would speak to him directly about the fact that this is a child protection issue and tell him to cut all contact. I would also bring it up with his employer/college especially if he's training as a primary teacher. Screen shot any FB messages etc of an inappropriate nature.
This looks like a tough situation - I think the priority is to safeguard your son without minimising his emotions. Good luck
I might keep it from oh, but only if I have more info about current boyfriend, would you be able to meet him do you think?
he is only 13 so I would want reasurance that his boyfriend is around the same age.
perhaps you could use the letter as an opening to commmunicate about this- letters to each other until he feels ready to talk in person? Dunno - like a regular thing you could elave a letter on his desk, he could leave one for you to find? I'm just not sure 'going on as you are' would make me feel ackowleged ifykwim? Also there are lots of lovely orgnanisations that could give you some help/advice over the phone about teenagers coming out...maybe have a chat to them?
I'd keep it to yourself for now.
But you need to find out who this boyfriend is, because if it's the 18yr old it's definitely not ok.
As I learned to my cost with my own son (different scenario) it is IMPERATIVE that you keep your son's trust and keep this between yourselves for now. I did not, and it had dire consequences for my son, for which I have never forgiven myself.
It isn't your secret to spill. It's his.
Also he could 'change' as he grows and gets more exposure to different ideologies. I feel sexuality is quite fluid as one finds oneself. He might feel this way about x but differently if he meets another person. I would be nervous to label him as any thing but his name as yet. It's his journey, don't rush him.
Agree that the two issues are separate. Of course you must support your DS and keep his confidence but I would want to know who the boyfriend is? I have a horrible suspicion it's the 18 year old and if so, he's been slowly grooming your DS for over a year.
Agreed that there are 2 issues.
Ds is bisexual? Fine.
Ds's boyfriend is the 18 year old? Not fine. If that's the case he may have been grooming your son. That would scare the bejesus out of me, especially if the 18 year old has convinced your ds that he is bisexual for his own gain.
Thank you! You are completely right. My niggling feeling (and worry) is that the boyfriend IS the 18 yr old and I am so worried that if it is and I balls up my handling of this it will push ds more toward him and obviously I don't want that!
I just don't know how to ask him about who this boyfriend is without it escalating into an argument about the 18 yr old or him regretting opening up to me.
I think I am 99% decided that I won't mention anything to OH until ds is more sure of himself but I wouldn't out him. I know that could be damaging long term.
If your DS had came out to his Dad and him not to tell you would you expect your OH to keep it secret?
Tippi just stated what I was thinking - has the 18 year old been grooming your DS? That's the worry. It's a hell of an age gap for a child the age of your son if the boyfriend is this adult.
You sound brilliant OP, but you need to get to the bottom of things with your DS to protect him if needs be.
Tell him to invite his boyfriend round for tea maybe?
I think it's probable that the 18 year old has been grooming your son. He is now an adult so you could take all the information you have to the police. He may already be known to them.
It's a sensitive situation and you sound like such a lovely supportive mother.
If this was a 18 year old male and your child was a 13 year old daughter I wonder what responses you would get? I agree with the comments in the other posts.
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