Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My son

My son finished school last year and is taking a gap year before going to UCT next year.

He arrives on Friday to spend some time with me in Amsterdam. With a bit of effort on his part (he's never had to earn a cent of his own), he'll be finding part-time work here to fund his travels elsewhere. His first port of call will be here.

COMING OUT TO CHILDREN: GUIDELINES FOR FATHERS

  1. Come to terms with your own gayness before disclosing to children. This is crucial. The father who feels negatively about his homosexuality or is ashamed of it is much more likely to have children who also react negatively. The father must create a setting of acceptance by first accepting himself. If he tells his children when he is ready and comfortable, it is likely to be a positive experience for everyone.
  2. Children are never too young to be told. They will absorb only as much as they are capable of understanding. Use words appropriate to the age of the child. Details may be added as they grow older.
  3. Discuss it with children before they know or suspect. When children discover their father's sexual orientation from someone other than the father, they often are upset that their father did not trust them sufficiently to share the information with them. It is exceedingly difficult for children to initiate the subject, and they will not bring it up even though they want to.
  4. Disclosure should be planned. Children should not find out about their father's homosexuality by default or discover it accidentally or during an argument between their parents.
  5. Disclose in a quiet setting where interruptions are unlikely to occur.
  6. Inform, don't confess. The disclosure should not be heavy or maudlin but positive and sincere. Informing in a simple, natural, or matter-of-fact manner when the father is ready is more likely to foster acceptance by the child. If possible, discuss or rehearse what will be said to children with someone who has already experienced a similar disclosure.
  7. Inform the children that relationships with them will not change as a result of disclosure. Disclosure will, however, allow the father to be more honest. Children may need reassurance that the father is the same person he was before. Younger children may need reassurance that the father will still be their father.
  8. Be prepared for questions: Some questions and possible answers are:
    • Why are you telling me this? Because my personal life is important and I want to share it with you. I am not ashamed of being homosexual, and you shouldn't be ashamed of me either.
    • What does being gay mean? It means being attracted to other men so that you might fall in love with a man and express your love physically and sexually.
    • What makes a person gay? No one knows, although there are a lot of theories. (This question may be a childs a way of asking if he she will also be gay.)
    • Will I be gay, too? You wont be gay just because Im gay. Its not contagious, and it doesn't appear to be hereditary. you will be whatever you are going to be.
    • Don't you like women? (The child might be asking, "Don't you like Mom?" or "Do you hate Mom?" If this question is asked by a daughter it may also mean, "Don't you like me?" or "Do you hate me?") I do like women but I'm not physically (or sexually) and romantically attracted to them as I am to men.
    • What should I tell my friends about it? A lot of people just don't understand so it might be best to keep it in the family. You can discuss it with me any time you want. If you want to tell a close friend, go ahead and try it out. But the friend might not be accepting, and she or he might tell others. You should be prepared for those possibilities. If you do tell somebody, let me know how it turns out.


WISH ME LUCK!!

13 Comments:

Blogger andrea said...

This is huge. Are you saying he doesn't know yet? I guess living a continent or two away might help disguise the fact...

10:48 pm  
Anonymous Sir Check said...

Thumbs held! Especially if you are going to follow that advice (who on Earth wrote that??).

12:20 am  
Anonymous Tom Cat said...

Yup Yup.. good luck for this! Maybe it'll actually provide some clarity in his mind..

7:03 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

The very best of luck!

Are you going to let him read your blog?

8:53 am  
Anonymous silent songster said...

I guess, like others, Alan, I had assumed that you had already come out to your son. Good luck, and, I hope it all goes well.

10:18 am  
Blogger Esther said...

Crossed fingers! He's 18, he may just take it all in his stride.

11:47 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

andrea: He doesn’t. For various reasons apart from the huge distance. I wanted to tell my kids about 10 years ago but my wife (who now wants a divorce) didn’t want me to tell them then. Etc, etc.

Sir Check: I’m glad you Czechs and us South Africans use the same-ish term. That advice is from a gay dad who has written books on the subject. Some of it is good but I tend to follow my own instincts in such matters. And others, of course. :-)

Tom Cat: Thank you. Yes, I hope so.

Caroline: Thank you. Um, no. Well, not for a while yet.

silent songster: I hope so too. He is a bit of an oke (SA term for bloke) but a very sensitive one with it and has been brought up to dislike homophobia. So, gayness is not an issue for him but having a gay father may be a bit difficult to get used to at first.

Esther: Thanks. Let’s hope so.

12:56 am  
Blogger cvodb said...

Best of luck, Reluctant Nomad!

1:39 pm  
Blogger Pam said...

Good luck.

9:33 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

caroline and pam: Thanks. I've not told him yet despite having spent a lot of time in Amsterdam coffee shops (at his request) yesterday.

11:49 am  
Anonymous patita said...

I think if he can understand that it's part of your happiness then things should go well. Good luck!!

7:45 pm  
Blogger CTG said...

Good luck buddy, Let us know how it went (if it's not too personal) but know that we support you and are friends. Hugs. CTG :-)

12:06 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Best of luck Alan.

6:53 pm  

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