Entertainment And News

Homeschooled Teen Asks How To Confess To His Dad That He Made A Buddy At Work Because He's Not Allowed To Have Friends

Photo: SynthEx / Shutterstock
isolated homeschooled teen not allowed to have friends

A teen's heartbreaking request for advice on how to talk to his strict parents has left people on Reddit unnerved and angry about what many feel is a case of an insidious type of abuse.

The homeschooled teen is not allowed to have friends and is afraid to tell his dad he made a buddy at his volunteer job.

Homeschooling is on the rise in many parts of the country, and while it is an understandable choice given the danger of violence many kids face in schools nowadays, it has an often ignored underbelly. 

Given the almost complete lack of oversight, experts say homeschooling is often used to hide abuse and religious and political extremism, and many adults who were homeschooled speak openly about how damaging it was to their social skills and mental health.

RELATED: First-Time Dad Confesses He Doesn't 'Enjoy Time' With His Newborn

This 17-year-old boy who wrote into Reddit is unfortunately a perfect example of that underbelly. His parents pulled him out of school and have forbidden him to have friends because "they believe having friends will take you away from your family," as he put it in his harrowing post

He is not allowed to talk to anyone from his former public school, and his father took his phone away when it was discovered he was texting them, replacing it with a kids' phone that has very few features. They also "cold-shouldered" him "for months" over the betrayal. 

He became so lonely he began volunteering, and now he doesn't know how to confess to his father that he made a friend.

"The loneliness got to the point though where I decided to apply for some high school programs in my area," he went on to write. "I volunteer at two museums and I get the opportunity to talk to kids my age while pursuing the career I want." He loves it, and his parents have allowed it.

He tries to keep himself isolated while volunteering "because I don't want to make any friends I know I can't have." But he hit it off with a kid who shares his interests, and they've quickly become friends. He then snuck into the parents' portal for his phone to add the kid to his contacts, and they've been texting each other.

   

   

But he is terrified of the moment his father finds out, which he knows is inevitable. "We don't talk about anything bad either we just talk about music and the museum that's it," he says, "but knowing from experience my dad won't see it that way… man, I don't want to get in trouble."

If you're jumping out of your skin reading this, you are not alone—nearly everyone on Reddit was shocked and disturbed by his story, as well as those from previous posts about his father destroying his belongings and threatening his life in what is an obvious and harrowing situation of abuse.

RELATED: Teen Won't Speak To Her Mom Ever Again After Learning That The Acceptance Email To Her Dream College Was Hidden From Her

Deliberate isolation is one of the primary mechanisms of psychological and emotional abuse, and homeschooling is often used for this purpose.

There are no two ways about it — regardless of these parents' motivations, whether it be safety concerns or a desire to keep their son away from corrupting influences that run counter to their religious beliefs — what they are doing is clear-cut psychological abuse.

Mental health professionals define psychological abuse of a child as bullying, terrorizing, coercive control, severe insults, debasement, threats, overwhelming demands, shunning, and/or isolation inflicted by a caregiver.

Isolation is a frequent tactic of abusers to render a victim entirely dependent, and homeschooling itself is not uncommonly used as an isolation tactic on children by abusers. The lack of oversight and mandated reporters present in homeschooled kids' lives means they often have no way to access help.

Psychological and emotional abuse is often even more damaging than physical or sexual abuse, according to the American Psychological Association, with victims in some cases suffering even higher rates of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and suicidality.

Given his home environment and previous posts the boy had made about other types of abuse like death threats from his father, many Redditors had similar advice for this kid: Do not tell your parents anything about your friend, and get out of your home environment as soon as you can.

Photo: SynthEx / Shutterstock

That is easier said than done, of course — which is part of the point of the isolation. Hopefully, this kid can find an adult he can trust who can help him get to safety as soon as he can.

Nobody should be subjected to what his parents are doing to him, no matter what their reasons are. It is also a reminder to all of us to keep an eye on the kids in our communities. Many more need help than we realize. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or the threat of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or go to www.thehotline.org.

RELATED: 21 People With Difficult Childhoods Share Something They Do Now That Is A Direct Result Of Their Trauma

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.