Man Slammed for Sharing Disappointment after His Estranged Son Didn't Tell Him He's Gay
Trust between a parent and their child came into the spotlight when a divorced father got angry with his son for not telling him that he is gay.
In a descriptive post, the father told of how he married Jack’s mother at the age of twenty. At the time, he enjoyed indulging in alcohol and had an affair with another woman when Jack was eight years old.
When the other woman got pregnant by Jack’s father, he divorced his mother and moved six hours away to raise his son “Daren” with his former mistress, whom he also married.
The situation caused the father to sober up, but things between him and Jack’s mother didn’t end on good terms, so he only saw his son a few times annually.
The father sent Jack money regularly, but his everyday life was with his other son, “Daren.” And so the years carried on until 2019 with Jack nineteen years old.
During a visit with his friend, also Jack’s uncle, the father got asked how Jack and his boyfriend had been. The father had to make up an excuse because he didn’t know his son is gay. He confronted his son during a conversation that quickly went downhill.
“Jack started to cry and basically started ranting about how I “abandoned” him and his Mom when he was young and how I’ve “always preferred Daren” to him, and that’s why he didn’t tell me because he feels like he doesn’t matter to me,” the father wrote.
Jack didn’t trust his father after he abandoned him, a father who made no effort to have a relationship with him, as one user pointed out in a reply, “How can he even expect his son to feel comfortable telling something like that to him when he doesn't even have a relationship with him.”
From the perspective of another user, the father’s response showed a “patronising” validation of Jack’s fears and added, “Something like "thank you for sharing with me", or "I appreciate you telling me", followed by telling them they have your unconditional love and support might be better.”
The father’s scolding is one of the reasons children are said to lose trust in their parents. From an early age, kids are taught to tell the truth and scolded when they don’t, but sometimes parents even get angry when they come forward with the truth.
So the child learns that it's futile to speak the truth and loses trust in their mother’s words. Having a conversation with your child with the opportunity to share their side of the situation goes a long way toward maintaining mutual respect.
According to the author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., non-verbal communication also plays a role.
“It’s important that parents are aware that it’s not only what they say but how they say things to their children or teens that can make or break trust,” he said. “Aggressive tone and body language can leave children and teens feeling less willing to confide in their parents.”
Imparting embarrassment or shame for punishment can lead to emotional distance between a parent and child, which would make them hesitant to share for fear of being rejected and shamed.
To build unshakeable trust with your child, or in any relationship for that matter, you have to keep to your word and remain honest. Show mutual respect and pay attention by listening. With parenting consistency and leading by example also plays a significant role. Children learn from what parents do and how they do it, not from what they say.
In a similar story, another father sparked a viral debate after he posted that he “made his son homeless.”
The father had intended to get his son to take responsibility for his life, but a month after he kicked his son out of the house, he still lived on the streets.
In fear for his son, the father worried whether he had done the right thing.