10 year old son has told me he thinks he's gay

(28 Posts)
apatchylass Fri 03-May-13 22:07:42

Hi

Just had a rather unusual evening. Heard DH shouting at DS2, which is rare, and saying not to use his computer to download stuff. Chatted to DS who said he had accidentally downloaded a picture of a naked man. I knew he was lying about it being an accident. He'd been on Skype with a bunch of girls from school (ironically he's only recently started to chat to and hang out with girls) and I was really worried he was about to show it to them as a dare.

Eventually he told me he had feeling like love in his tummy (his words) for some man on Glee and wondered if he'd get those same feelings for another man, so typed 'shirtless man' into a search engine, which was how the picture (bit more than shirtless) came up.

We discussed internet safety, and I explained it was up to us parents to put filters on if stuff like that worried us.

I suppose I'm posting because I don't quite know what my own response is. he seems young, but year 6 all seem to be suddenly getting flirtatious with each other. More than anything else I'm terrified he might get picked on or singled out at his secondary (all boys) school.

Any advice (especially from gay men on here.) I tried to find a parenting forum for parents of gays but most seemed to be Christian discussions on how not to appear too distressed and that's not how I feel at all. Just, it's something I have no knowledge of, and I want him to feel confident and comfortable in his own skin as he hits his teens.

SvarteKatterogFlosshatter Fri 03-May-13 22:14:21

I think you've done exactly the right thing so far RE: talking about internet safety.
For me as a bisexual, I would say that the approach that I would have valued most from my parents is simply acceptance. You sound to me like you're very accepting, and that is honestly the perfect response, from my point of view. My advice is to treat him exactly the same as you did DS1.
I don't know if you've had 'the talk' yet, but when you do maybe tailor it a bit to him.
I think the concerns about bullying are very valid, but i would say that he should come out to everyone else when he feels ready - trying to keep it inside when he does feel ready is going to make him less comfortable in his skin, even if it feels 'easier'. That was my experience, anyway.
I am a little bit worried about your husband's reaction - do you think he would have been as angry if it had been an image of a page 3 model?
I hope this has been of some help smile

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Fri 03-May-13 22:14:26

No advice to offer, but you sound like an ace mum x your instincts sound good; follow them.

apatchylass Fri 03-May-13 22:25:25

Svarte, yes thank you. Very helpful.

I expect DH would have been just as angry - probably because he was uneasy about where this material was headed before he found out. I felt a deep relief when DS2 confessed he'd done it because of gay feelings rather than that he had Skyped nude photos to girls at school as a laugh because that would have been really dodgy territory. But if he downloaded it for his own curiosity, while I don't think it's age appropriate or safe, it's understandable. If that makes sense.

I feel a bit foolish for assuming heterosexuality in him though. He's off to an all boys school next year. DH and I thought it might be easier to get through spotty adolescence without having desirable creatures drive your hormones crazy when you're trying to study. So that won't quite work out as assumed.

haven't had 'the talk' yet. Will need to find out more about it. The emotional stuff is the same. I guess the safe sex thing is the same too, in most ways - for health rather than as contraception.

Thank you Somewhere. Very kind words.

Wolfiefan Fri 03-May-13 22:33:32

Agree with somewhere.
He's young but can you manage a sort of conversation along the lines of liking who we like (either gender). Love in his tummy could be admiration, thinking he's handsome and not just fancying him. He's very young to label his sexuality. I'd just want my child to know I don't care who they love as long as that person treated them well and they were both happy.

tribpot Fri 03-May-13 22:35:34

Glee is a useful reference point I think. It doesn't ignore the fact that gay teens can get a hard time at high school but that acceptance and love will be offered by those who matter. Kurt's dad is a good role model for your DH as well - he's basically got no idea what being gay is all about but loves his son and defends him absolutely in his right to be who he is.

BriansBrain Fri 03-May-13 22:36:58

I've recently had a chat with my 10 yr old DD about feelings in her tummy and the difference between liking someone because of how they look compared to how they make her feel.

I think you should lovely

deleted203 Fri 03-May-13 22:42:43

Agree very much with Wolfiefan.

I wouldn't mind who my child loved, but I would keep the conversation very low key with a Y6 child. 10 is very young to be deciding on what sexual orientation you are, particularly as very few boys of this age are really interested in girls. I certainly wouldn't be talking to him about 'coming out' when he's ready to.

I would simply say that we admire lots of people and think they are good looking or wish we could be like them. I wouldn't bring sexual feelings into it at all.

apatchylass Fri 03-May-13 22:46:53

He's been watching Ugly Betty avidly, almost furtively, for several weeks, told me ages ago that he adores the camp assistant as an actor but that his favourite actor is Betty's nephew (who is very young and gay in the series.) I'm guessing that he's starting to have feelings and that they are directed towards men.

tribpot - thanks for the tips about Glee. I'll watch it a bit more closely!

Wolfie, I just told him feeling in your tummy are natural and normal (without commenting on which gender you get them for) but that he can't go to the internet to explore the feeling because he might catch the attention of someone who he would never get those feelings for, but who might have them for him. Couldn't think how else to say it without frightening him.

I think I just need to feel a bit more prepared: are there good websites about supporting young teens who've come out?

meditrina Fri 03-May-13 22:48:57

It might be a sign that he's gay, or it might be a more unformed curiosity that will settle later. Whatever it may prove to be, it's good he can talk to you about it. Just keep the communication going and let him develop at his own pace.

And do talk about Internet security ASAP.

tribpot Fri 03-May-13 23:01:53

In fairness Marc in Ugly Betty is one of the best characters, and Justin is the only teen in the show and is much more self-assured than most of the adults smile I suppose it might be worth highlighting at some point that liking fashion or theatre is not synonymous with being gay (nor vice versa!) but he can be just as he wants.

apatchylass Fri 03-May-13 23:04:23

I agree with posters who say that 10 is a bit too young to put any emphasis on the sexual element of any of these feelings. But i'd still like to know a bit more, as I equally believe that he may just 'know' - lots of people, gay or straight, do know at a young age.

DH said, he's a bit young to know, but from a very young age I had a curiosity about men. I never felt a mismatch when people said I'd have a boyfriend one day. It never jarred for me. Always knew one day I'd want one. No reason for him not, at an equally young age, to know he'd prefer a boyfriend to a girlfriend, is there?

Is it genuinely common for straight people to have crushes on same sex in a romantic way?

donedreaming Wed 22-May-13 13:26:57

Try Stonewall. They have some really good resources.

Thinkingpositively Fri 24-May-13 23:07:47

apatchylass spot on advice. I really like the way you suggest explaining internet safety to a child too......

You'll just have to see how things go. it's great that you are not putting a lid on his feelings on his emergent sexuality (and i mean sexuality in the broadest sense)........I guess if he sees positive examples of different expressions and gets acceptance of both at home, there is a good chance that it will be something he can navigate himself without any unnecessary angst.

Oh my goodness though.........10..! I am just about to have a child, my first and am imagining my 10 year old in dungarees playing with lego and thinking about ...pets.....(?) rethinking that one now

Devora Fri 24-May-13 23:19:18

OP, you need FFLAG - www.fflag.org.uk/

I agree with others that you need to be careful about defining too tightly the emerging sexual identity of a 10 year old. On the other hand, I'm always amazed (as a lesbian) how many gay men swear they 'knew' well before secondary school, so don't go to the other extreme of dismissing his convictions.

You sound lovely and I'm sure you'll give him great support, whatever happens.

apatchylass Sat 25-May-13 21:33:58

Thank you. FFlag is just the sort of thing I was looking for and I'd never heard of it. (Didn't find it on a google search either, which is interesting.) hadn't occurred to me that Stonewall might have anything for parents either. Really great tips. Thanks.

Thinkingpositively 10 is young, I suppose, way too young to be active but I'm not sure it's too young to know where your interest lies. I knew I liked boys by then. Not in any overt sexual way but just romantically. I had crushes and they were always on boys. Lego and pets are 6-9 years in my experience, but don't worry, even when they hit their tweens, they are still cute and adorable, still definitely children.

hermioneweasley Sat 25-May-13 21:38:34

You sound absolutely brilliant. Your son may well get a rough time in school for being gay (if he is), but with supportive parents he'll come through ok.

BCBG Sat 25-May-13 21:40:53

My DN knew he was gay by 10. He didn't come out to his parents until he left school (because he had a tricky relationship with his Dad) but we (uncle and aunt) knew. I know this is probably too late, but the all boys school may be tricky as I know it would have crucified my DN if he hadn't had his 'girlfriends' at school, all of whom protected him and most of whom he is still really close to several years later. The sporty element at his school gave him a lot of trouble sad even though he was (he thought) concealing his sexuality at the time ..

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sat 25-May-13 21:42:36

All of my crushes at that age were on other girls. I am not gay, and have been with the same man for my entire adult life (am 34), but I do still find some women attractive.

I think you are handling this brilliantly. He could be gay, but I think at that age, I simply found other girls/women more familiar and therefore less scary, and so my first crushes were on them.

apatchylass Sat 25-May-13 21:56:34

Michaelcaine - you're right. Could go any way. And BCBG - if he's unhappy there, he can move. I wouldn't force him to stay at a school where he was bullied. For now it's the best local school available. But I will keep an eye on that.

His friendships group at the moment has recently veered towards the girls and he only has one close male friend these days. But they all seem to chop and change so much in yr 6 - they know change is in the air. Our village is isolated so we don't have a feeder school - they're all off all over the place.

iChaz Wed 19-Jun-13 22:09:26

Until he hits puberty it means nothing. Literally.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 19-Jun-13 22:26:06

Trust your instincts, they seem to be doing you well

Agree with everyone who has said don't assume yet but plenty of people say they just always knew.

It's great that he's not afraid to telly you this now. Take heart in that it bodes well! If you can maintain it all the better

I'll never forget retrospectively talking to my mum about bring my first girlfriend home, they literally didn't even raise and eyebrow! It was great and really helped me see it as normal.
Turns out they couldn't decide if she was male or female for ages as she was very androgynous and called Sam! grin

Spidermama Wed 26-Jun-13 21:53:11

Sounds to me like you are doing a great job op. my year six is very likely to be gay. I'm not ore emoting but I think we'd all be fairly surprised if he weren't. I too worry about possible bullying but all one can do is give them as much love and acceptance as you can, always keep communication going and seek out good gay role models.
Sadie j has a good very camp character. I made sure I was listening to a Podcast of Gok Wan's Desert Island Discs in radio 4 one day when I was with ds.
X

jessicaellen Tue 20-Aug-13 13:45:21

The only advice that i could give to anyone is to make is a normal thing, if its tip toed around and everyone talks then it feels likes it not a normal thing. You sound like a great mum, if only more kids who have a hard time with parents because they might be gay could have a mum like you. x

Lynnbell36 Tue 10-Dec-13 23:38:47

Hey I've just searched the internet cautiously for advice on this subject. My ten year just told me after an hour of tears that he is absolutely Gay ! I have no objections and agree with the people on here . I just want him to be happy and loved. A few of my friends are Gay but it's just confusing me a bit that he's only just turned ten . I'm equally worried about bullying etc although he said he's told no one but me . I just told him I loved him and not to worry . He said he didn't want to be Gay ... Which we discussed and I told him it makes no difference to who he is n it's nothing to be ashamed off . He's been dropping hints for the last year about this . Where can I get advice for kids so young ... Is there books explaining sexuality for kids. Hate the thought of him not understanding his feelings and body / emotions . He said he felt much better for speaking to me about it . Any advice would be so appreciated

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