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[39/m] My son [14/m] looked at boatloads of porn around a time when he was also experiencing a weird boner for his cousin [11/f].

MoonlightByWindow ci racconta la sua esperienza amorosa:

He tells my wife [40/f] EVERYTHING. He guessed a passcode to an old phone and really explored pornhub. He has not acted on anything with his cousin it but told my wife he masturbated to her image. He feels heavy shame. Beats himself up. Tonight he had her take his camping knives because they made him think about hurting himself. He said if he turns out to be a pedophile, he'll just kill himself.

It's late and he's passed out. Wife says he wouldn't want me to know, so I have to pretend I got fed some high level details when we chat in the morning.

My plan is find a therapist ASAP and to talk to him something like this:

Weird fantasies are weird and private and you can't stop your brain from thinking them. Exploring that in your mind does not make you a pervert, it makes you a 14 year old boy. It excites you because everything sexual excites you, but you have been grossed out by this boner, and that's a good thing. You are just starting the journey to figure out your sexuality and things are going to get weird sometimes. Please keep me on the loop about any questionable boners. And please, don't hurt nor kill yourself out of guilt. There is no shame from that which we cannot come back. You are a good person and we are going to get through this.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about my plan or any of it. Thanks.

May I add that your wife and you seem to be very good people and parents to take your son’s worries seriously and not just brush it of. Your sons seems to have a healthy, strong bond to both of you. That’s something you can be proud of.

And for the rest – the other posters made good points. You should reassure him that puberty is a really strange time for everybody and it’s not something to worry about if a boy gets a “weird” boner. Let’s just say, girls also experience lots of strange arousal, it’s just invisible to others. Therapy – from my own experience – is never a bad option. Just find someone your son can confide in.

Good luck for all of you during this strange times. And best of luck to your son. Thankfully, puberty doesn’t last forever.

The first thing you have to do is to make him feel normal. Also, he’s so young that talking pedophily is out of question. Reassure him and tell him it’s fine and he’s not some kind of monster or depraved person. Don’t make it look like this episode is big deal or he may start obsessing about it (which he is already doing). Tell him this has been just an episode and doesn’t determine who or what he is. I’m a psychologist actually, and I can assure you that what your son did is NOT predictive of whether he will be a pedophile or not. If I was his therapist, I would not be much worried by the act per se. Actually, the way he obsesses over this thing, beats himself up and the fact that he would harm himself over it is much more worrying.

Therapist probably wouldn’t hurt, especially if you have concerns. I’d be more worried about the self harm comments at this point.

That said, let your son know that at that age boners just happen. I’ve had boners in math class. Also a young boy being attracted to a young girl isn’t unusual. I remember being in grade 9 being attracted to girls around my age. Now I look at a 13 year old and I wonder what the hell was I thinking lol. But it’s natural.

As for the cousin thing, there’s a reason that in Arrested Development its funny that Michael Cera’s character is attracted to his cousin. Because comedy always has truth behind it. Everyone has a hot cousin, it doesn’t mean much.

Basically he should know that he’s not alone in these feelings that he’s having. It feels like it at that age. But self harm, weird attractions, and questionable boners is part of every teenage boy’s life.

I think he’s having problems with intrusive thoughts, and he’s gotten it mixed up with puberty. Intrusive thoughts are quite common, look up some ways to deal with it. Your therapist plan sounds great.

not sure how did he read such a level of guilt … is your household extremely religious or something? why is a 14 yo thinking about himself like a criminal?