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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1365
Experience:  Psychologist; Parent
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Hi, I am a Father of a 17 year old Son. My Son lives in Cape

Customer Question

Hi, I am a Father of a 17 year old Son. My Son lives in Cape Town and I live in Sydney (just relocated 7 months ago). My Son and I are very close!! I am a gay man and have been in a relationship for almost 10 years and been married for almost 4.

My Son is very open with me and via text he has asked me some very personal questions re masturbation, the best way to do it, to 'show him' how to shave his testicles. He talks about his erection quite regularly and even tells me when he has one.

I have answered all his questions very carefully (as a parent would) however his conversations are very personal that even I am a little uncomfortable. He says he cannot talk to his Mom about these things and he feels very comfortable speaking with me.

Saying that he asks questions like;
- How often do men get erection? (he uses terms like hard, harden, stiff etc...)
- When do men get erections most, night or day?
- When was the last time I had an erection.
- When last did I masturbate (jerk off)
- Do I have an erection now?

Now, I always answer his questions respectfully XXXXX XXXXX even divert his attention.
He sent me a photo of himself on the couch but in the photo you could see he had an erection in his pants. I passed over his photo until he said "Ooops look at my bulge"... I just replied LOL

I have always thought my Son was gay. His Mother however does not want to accept this so she has thrown herself into the church.

My Son is going through a very tough time finding himself and feels comfortable to share such intimate information with me. I do however get the feeling that he gets turned on by having these conversations BUT I am his Dad!!!

I would prefer he ask me questions than go to a friend or another adult. Saying that I need some advice on how I should handle further conversations without scaring him away and making him hold in his thoughts and therefore become promiscuous with other boys or men (a parents nightmare!).

He also said in one message that he remembers seeing my penis and that he hoped his would be the same one day. I assured him he had nothing to worry about. he also said that he touched my penis once to see what it felt like and to know what his would feel like one day. This would of been when I fell asleep in front of the TV late one night. I remember been sturred by a touch to I woke up and he swiftly shifted over. I did have the conversation with him about that is unacceptable because A. I am his Father but also B that touching someone needs to be consensual between both people.

This morning he asked what I was doing. i said i was getting ready for work. he asked what i was doing right now. i said brushing my teeth and typing to him LOL. He asked if i had had a HOT shower. i replied "Yup and RUNNING out the door as I am late. He then send me a picture text of with icons such as !!# XXXXX etc that looked like a penis ejaculating. i responded and said to him that it is not right to send rude images to people even if he thinks it's a joke. Asking mature questions is one thing but being naughty is another. He assured me he has not been sending such images. I said "good and that he must remember to be responsible and mindful of silly behaviour and this will put him in good stead for his future and as he gets older. All my conversations have been above board and parent like. His conversations are in many ways suggestive / inquisitive.

Please advise me on how to handle this situation without shutting him off. I am really doing my best however a bit troubled about the extent of how it's gone.

I look forward to hearing from you.
'Concerned father'
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 11 months ago.
Hello. You are certainly in a delicate situation and I sympathize. You are handling the questions appropriately right now and I think that you can do a good job in weaning him off of leaning on you for sexual advice. 17 is old enough for him to find things on his own.
I think that some questions are okay but there is a line. You need to decide what your own, personal line is that you do not want him to cross and stick with it. You can explain to him in a nice way that you are happy that he feels comfortable speaking with his father and you will always be there for him when he needs you, but there are some things that he is asking which are not appropriate and that you feel uncomfortable speaking to him about. There are some things that are none of his business, such as your masturbation habits, your showering, etc. Those things are certainly crossing any line and he should be told this in a way where he does not feel embarrassed by it. He is your son and you know him well, so you are the best person to determine the way to handle explaining to him that there is a line and he should not cross it.
I do not know your personal stance on pornography, but perhaps offering this option to him will have him discover things on his own.
His mother may not be so keen on this idea, however !
You may want to find a tine when he is NOT talking to you about something specific as to not call him out on something. Again, this is up to you, as you know him best. You may want to have a general conversation with him about it and how sometimes you feel uncomfortable about how to answer him. Be positive and make sure you insert positive things like I mentioned before. Tell him how much of a great son he is and that you love him very much, but you don't know how to answer him when he asks questions like he does. You can be unsure or confused in front of him and this honesty with him may make him feel more comfortable with the over all conversation and not inclined to act defensively or feel bad about himself.
Let him down slowly with this, draw your line and stick with it. I don't think you will alienate him by doing this, as you both have a good relationship.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. I will certainly take what you said on board. I have no issue with pornography however there is always a line to be crossed as you mentioned. His mom is dead against it!


 


You have made a lot of sense, thank you.


 


My greatest worry is that he is doing these things with other people and or even adults in his church!!


 


My ex wife and I do not get on at all. we were divorced when my Son was only 9 months old. She does not listen to what i say and she keeps on saying she is the qualified parent not me.


 


Is this something I should raise with her or leave it alone?


 


Thanks


D

Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 11 months ago.
That is also a tough one as well, dealing with your ex can be tough ! Because she is so involved with the church, that can be a double edged sword with mentioning this to her. I feel based on what you said about your son and her, that if you mention it to her, this would cause greater damage than you talking to him about this directly. He may feel you have betrayed his trust and confidence in you. You don't want that for certain!
He is 17 which is a little more reassuring than if he was 14 or something, although I am aware that he is and always be your baby boy. IF you feel that he is being abused through the church, this is most certainly a legitimate concern and bringing this particular issue up would be acceptable as long as you had an explanation which would make sense and not hurt the trust of your son. This is something you would have to work on and think about. I might think about asking your ex how much time he spends with church members unsupervised, unless you are already aware. Just to get an idea of how real the possibility could be and go from there.
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1365
Experience: Psychologist; Parent
Dr. Paige and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Dr Paige, I have another question for you. I will certainly follow your advice. What should I do if he persists to have these conversations?


 


Also, my Son spends A LOT of time with his church unattended by his mother. Group camps with other boys and 'Fathers' of the church.


 


D

Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 11 months ago.
You will have to be a little tougher and tougher with him if he continues. He will be 18 soon and an adult, so things may change when he reaches that point.
I would be very concerned about his church situation and as a parent, it is fine if you bring that up with your ex. As I said, you will have to figure out how to bring it up, but telling her you are concerned about the time he is spending with other church members is a start. She will probably be defensive as to why you are saying this, so be prepared to have some follow up with her as to why you are thinking that without betraying your son's trust and being specific as to any conversations he has mentioned. I sympathize with your position, it isn't easy, but you sound like you have a great relationship with your son and are handling things very well so far. I have trust you will continue to do so.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. It is such a touch and go situation. Do you think I should ask my Son if he feels he is Gay, this way I can better help him through what he is going through?

Expert:  Angela--Mod replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find another professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding a second professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!

Best,

Angela

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hi Angela,


 


Yes thank you. I am happy to wait.


 


Many thanks


D

Expert:  Angela--Mod replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your patience while we continue to search for a professional to assist you.

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 11 months ago.
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear D,

You do sound to be an excellent and caring father. Your son is just about an adult. He is more likely than not to be gay, and his attention is very focused on male sexuality for which he seeks advice, knowing that you have somewhat of a homocentric point of view.

I think that he is looking for support and encouragement to be himself. It does not seem that he is going to get that from his mother who is hiding under the skirts of the church dogma.

Because he is spending time with other church members does not mean or even hint that he is engaging in inapproriate behaviour. To push the alarm button with his mother would be a mistake.

In a few months he will be an adult and now he is becoming one by asking questions, but moreover by experimentation.

He is about formed as a young adult and will continue to grow and transform.

Your guidance towards proper relationship behaviour though words AND modeling through deeds (as a faithful partner) will help build his character.

I believe that you need to be honest but also to portray confidence. If you seems unsure (even if you are feeling that way), it mayo undermine his self confidence.

You are doing a remarkable job. I can understand that you have concerned about unsupervised church activity, and if you are you should discuss it with him openly and honestly. Accept his answers and give him guidance.

I do not think his mother is the only competent parent, and seems to be very much out of touch or in denial about her son.

You are doing well. Use that well-earned trust to continue to guide him honesty.

I shall keep all of you in my prayers.

Warm regardsm

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC



Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Hi Elliot,


 


Thank you for all your advice. It has been extremely helpful. Saying that I have been faced with another issue.


 


My Son has sent me a picture of his erection. WHAT DO I DO?? WHAT DO I SAY?


 


Do I ignore it or do I say something with the fear that he may react negatively?


 


I am pretty lost for words and have to think a thousand times over before I react. Please give me your valuable advice.


 


D

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 10 months ago.
Dear D,

I am a bit surprised that you have asked me for more assistance when you have compensated another expert and not me for the help I gave you.

Nevertheless, I will reply to you in good faith.

Your son, for one reason or the other, I am not yet certain why, is engaging in very inappropriate behaviour - behaviour that could possibly incriminate you for child sexual abuse and pedophilia, and put you away in jail if an overzealous prosecutor ever got hold of that picture on your computer.

I suggest, first of all, that you remove it with the highest security shredding software available so that all traces are removed from your files and cannot be retrieved.

I understand that you are innocent of any wrongdoing, but your son is putting you in a very vulnerable position.

You should DEFINITELY have a serious talk with him about:

-never sending any more sexually explicit material to you or anyone else and explain to him the risk that he is putting you in.

-discuss with him that there is a big difference between getting parental guidance about sex from a parent and sending lewd or pornographic material to a parent. Further explain to him that the most serious taboos in our society forbid this kind of behavior between parents and children or siblings with each other. It is called incest and it is forbidden. Let him know that this is a serious infraction of society's rules and of YOUR rules. Don't me angry or negative with him but just serious adult talk.

You can ask him if he was ever abused by an adult or by older boys. It is possible that this did occur and perhaps you ex-wife's fears about inappropriate behaviour occuring with church members may have a basis of fact to them. Perhaps she has heard rumours to the effect.

Don't over-react. Calmly talk to him in a gentle and firm manner. and allow him to be open with you. If he has been abused by an adult, then I urge you to report the abuse to the authorities. Because your son is a minor his identity will be protected, but if there is a pepetrator, then the perpetrator should be brought to justice.

I wish you great success in handling this situation with firmness and clarity.

I would be most grateful if you give me positive feedback for this answer if you find it worthy and helpful.

I shall keep you in my prayers.

Warm regards,

Elliott

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