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Mom Accused Of 'Outing' Her 15-Year-Old Son After She Saw Him 'Cuddling' With His Friend

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Child looking upset in front of mother.

Navigating adolescence as a parent is difficult enough as is — add in teenager hormones, the presence of social media, and "Comparison Culture" and you’re left with a complete and utter parenting monstrosity. 

One mom’s recent Reddit post exemplified just how difficult parenting can be, especially when both parents are not on the same page.

After catching a glimpse of her son “cuddling” with his male friend one night, the mom couldn’t help but discuss what she saw with her husband. However, the events that followed were far from easy to navigate, and she was left searching for a listening ear on Reddit to figure out how to move forward. 

After seeing her 15-year-old son ‘cuddling’ with his male friend, the parents debated how to start a conversation with him about his sexuality. 

The 32-year-old mom shared that after walking into her son’s room to gather his laundry, she noticed the pair of friends cuddling while asleep. 

   

   

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In an update on the post, she admitted that she “wasn’t thinking straight” for entering her son’s room while he had a friend over, alluding to a sense of privacy that she normally grants her children. However, she said her son had always been okay with her coming in to collect laundry, especially because he appreciated that he "would wake up with clean clothes."

When her husband woke up, the mom mentioned the innocent encounter she had witnessed and "the possibility that [their] son might be gay came up." Despite her husband’s initial suggestion to bring it up with their son, after his friend returned home, the mother ultimately decided it’d be best for them to wait until he came to them directly. 

“My husband argued saying, ‘What if he never tells us that he’s gay?’" the mom shared. "I told him that if he doesn’t tell us that he’s gay, then he’s probably not … we should just let our son know that we’ll love him regardless and leave it at that.” 

Ultimately, the couple decided to let their son come to them when he felt comfortable, instead of ‘confronting’ him over his sexuality.

Aside from a little back and forth, the couple ultimately decided to leave it be, agreeing that if his son came to the realization he was gay, he should make the decision on when to share that with his parents.

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A 2014 Washington Post article on children “coming out” to parents seems to relay this strategy as “the most effective” way to navigate queerness in your kids. “A direct question can result in defensiveness, a forced coming out or an outright lie.” 

While each situation is inherently unique, remember that many children around this age range are also typically exploring their identities through healthy normative behaviors. So, while these parents initially saw the encounter as “evidence” of their son’s sexuality, it could simply be experimentation. 

   

   

Studies from the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth support this idea, saying that oftentimes children will experiment with friends of the same and opposite sexes to build a more clear picture of their own sexuality and identity. Typically, this behavior is inherently innocent — like cuddling — and not representative of more “adult sex behaviors.”

Despite their agreement, her husband went behind her back, confronting their son and leaving him feeling ‘coerced’ into coming out. 

The agreement these parents reached was quickly discarded after this mother learned her husband went behind her back to confront their son about his sexuality. 

“When I returned home I discovered my son in tears, yelling and accusing me of outing him," she wrote. "I was confused and told him I didn’t know what he was talking about.” 

Then he revealed the conversation he had with his dad, in which "his father revealed what I saw and basically coerced him into coming out before he was ready." His grief and confusion seemed to be targeted at the mom, as he questioned her about entering “his space without permission”. 

Also upset, the mom admitted to breaking down. “I started crying and told my son that I was sorry and that I loved him and accept him no matter what."

Sadly, their relationship was still affected. "My son now remains distant and hasn’t talked to me and his father.” 

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When she confronted her husband about his dismissal of their previous conversation and his throwing her under the bus, he claimed he "didn't mean any harm."

“He only shared what I mentioned hoping it would make [their son] comfortable enough to come out,” the mom added. “Despite his pleas for forgiveness, I can’t help but feel angry towards him knowing my son is now feeling hatred towards me for something that I actively tried to prevent.” 

Many families struggle with navigating these queer discussions, and others online provided tips for fostering a safer, more comfortable environment. 

"I had questions about my son's sexuality since he was around 13 years old, I kept those thoughts to myself and just waited to see if/when he came to me to talk about it," one user shared.

   

   

“Any of your kids could be gay without you knowing, just assume that the possibility is always there whether you have ‘proof’ or not and create a welcoming space for them,” another Redditor wrote. “Not being told is not a personal slight against you!”

Most importantly, experts suggest parents "make sure your child knows that you love them and are there for them no matter what." 

While it’s incredibly difficult to discuss any kind of intimate topic with a teenager, having a queer child inherently brings up more nuanced guardrails. With the history of violence, integrated religious guilt, and trauma many queer people adopt early on, it can be difficult to comfortably discuss.

The best thing parents can do is foster a healthy environment to ensure kids feel safe sharing their identities — once they’re ready. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.