?> Annie Fox Parent Forum - Ask Annie - Sexual orientation: Our son's friend is gay!

Sexual orientation:
“Our son's friend is gay!”

Dear Annie,

My teenage son has a close friend who is gay. Our son has been very secretive lately (with his computer and phone use). What can we say to make sure our son doesn't make a bad decision like his friend? Help!

Worried parent

Dear Worried parent,

If I'm understanding you correctly, it sounds like you believe that this gay friend of your son's has the power to turn your son into a homosexual. No one has that power!

It sounds like you're panicking over something you ultimately have no control over.

I'd recommend that you educate yourself on the issue of sexual orientation. This is not a decision or a choice on the part of the individual. Either a person is born gay or they aren't. It's not something someone decides to become because a friend of theirs "influences" them in a certain direction.

Your son is either already gay or he's not. His friend has nothing to do with it. Your son's sexual orientation is not something you or anyone else can change or influence... Nor is one's sexual orientation a decision or a choice. Straight, Gay or Bisexual, your son is what he is. It's not uncommon for a teen to be questioning his sexual orientation, but having a gay friend does not automatically mean that your son is gay.

You cannot discipline or lecture an individual out of their sexual orientation whatever it might be. All that will accomplish will be to send the message that you are not accepting of your son being who he is. If you come down heavy on him, he will hide his true self from you. I don't know if your son is gay, but I do know that many gay and bisexual teens become depressed and suicidal if they fear their parents will cease to love them when they reveal their sexual orientation.

Since you asked my advice, here it is: calm down. You have no idea what your son and his friend are talking about. Your son is entitled to some autonomy. Try to remain neutral. Be the loving parent you've always been. Be a safe and non-judgmental parent and your son is more likely to talk with you openly rather than shut you out. That's what you want, isn't it?

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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