Collateral Damage Meets Uninformed Consent

My oldest son is maturing and with that maturity comes typical challenges associated with a hormonal teenage boy.  I realize throughout this process I have the power to greatly influence his behavior, particularly his views on women.

I almost flubbed it a bit the other day.  I wanted to sensitize him to the sexual objectification of women. As is my nature, I wanted to make the info age appropriate yet impactful and informative. To make a point, I attempted to personalize the conversation in a way he could relate to. In doing so, I found myself up two exhales away from asking him how he would feel if someone was talking about his sister the way he hears some guys talk about women.

But I stopped myself. I just couldn’t go there. It felt wrong, awkward, gastrointestinally disturbing. I realized the instant I processed the thought that it was probably a bad example, a really bad example.

My reasons are complex but the strongest one is that I don’t want to remind him, yet again, of his-sister-that-is-not-a-sister-that-doesnt-want-to- know-him-as-a-brother-even-if-he-wants-to-know-her-as-a-sister. Teenage years are hard enough (gosh, my own sucked so bad) without introducing additional emotional complexity, without reminding him of how he is collateral damage to the decisions his mother, his grandparents and his sister made for him without his consent.

I hate what adoption has done to me and my entire family. So much for that myth called Informed Consent.

I never gave consent for all my future children and relationships to be negatively effected.


7 Thoughts.

  1. All very valid points Suz..
    One thought process that comes to mind is to ask him: how would he feel if someone was talking about you the way he hears some guys talk about women.

    There’s several things at play here, one is being a teenager & hormonal…another is, what I call ‘the guy network’, it’s a guy thing, it’s not right in the least, I am not condoning it in any way, shape or form, I gave you an example of something that occurred at softball recently where some derogatory things were said regarding a attractive female…
    I don’t have the ultimate solution other than trying to lead by example(for me as their future stepdad), Mea Culpa as I went a little off-topic of what your post was about but hopefully not too far off-topic.

  2. It is truly bewildering why your daughter chooses not to know her siblings. I have a good relationship with my brother, whom I love dearly, and certainly would (hypothetically) have room in my life for more siblings.

    I think you handled the situation well.

    • Elizabeth – I have my own theories on why, crackpot as they may be. I believe acknowledging him would require acknowledged adoption, me, etc. and that is something she prefers to all together avoid.

      • And avoiding that this is one of the main reasons I keep our adoption open. I don’t know how people function compartmentalized.

        Tomorrow is a visit with one of H’s sisters, we saw her other sister last week and we saw her birth/first dad’s parents and sister two weeks before that. It can be taxing – I come from a small family and married into a small family so juggling visits is really out of my comfort zone. A lot of people who don’t always like each other and a bunch of separate groups who only slightly overlap which means a lot of separate visits. But I’ll do it.

    • LIke I said, my own crackpot theory. Or perhaps what I need to believe to make it all hurt less, yaknow? Other options would be too difficult to digest.

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