Here at Groupthink some of us thoroughly enjoy reading advice columns. Both because of the questions asked (from the inane to the deeply moving) as well as the answers (from the ridiculous to the fitting). Today I wanted to share a question and answer that did the rounds at our office this week.
Posted to ‘Media & Upbringing’
My 12 year old son acts like a “normal” boy. He likes looking at cars, rides a bike, is interested in girls... But now I’ve heard that he’s watching Good Times Bad Times (that’s a Dutch soap). Isn’t that typically a girls show?
When a mirror is near, he’s always checking if he still looks “chill”. Pull his pants down a bit, straighten his shirt.. etc.
Doesn’t that seem like gay behaviour? After all, you often hear that gays often think they like girls when they are young, but later..”
The response of the website reads as follows :
Honestly, we don’t really understand why you are asking this question. What does it matter? If you knew the answer, would you treat your son differently?
We also don’t understand why you are asking this question of US. Why don’t you speak to your son about this?
In any case, with regards to your observations:
1. GTST is a very popular tv-show amongst young people. Mostly with girls, but also with boys. Probably because from this they try to get an understanding of how relationships between people work. That is fairly complicated after all. Who does what and why? As a kid you want to know these kind of things, because you have no experience with it yourself.
Programs like GTST are just “stories”, and stories (varying from myths and legends, to thrillers, fairytales and soap opera’s) have helped people, throughout the ages, to understand how the world works. There’s nothing wrong with that. Why wouldn’t you wonder how the world works? And let stories help you to understand that? You don’t need to be gay for that. If I were you, I’d be happy that your son is trying to understand how the world works.
2. Your son is very concerned with his appearance. This too is typical for teenagers. Teenagers are trying to understand who they are. What their identity is. To what group they belong. And what outwards traits go with that. Are you posh? Then you want the right shirt. Are you street? Then you want the right sneakers. Are you a punker? Then you’ll spend hours fixing up the perfect mohawk. For this too, you don’t have to be gay.
In short: Accept your son the way he is and show some interest in how he’s developing himself. Gay or straight doesn’t matter. Who he is (or wants to be) does.
Homophobic parent 0 - Responder 1