02-26-2019 06:29 PM
Hi all, I’m hoping someone has some idea of what I should do.
My son is 14. He has, for sometime now shown interest in women’s feet. I have done some research, spoken to my Mum and some closer friends and advice has been to leave it alone and let him work out his own sexuality and preferences, after all it could be nothing more than a harmless foot fetish.
My daughter is 12 and more recently I have caught him looking at her feet and mine and there was an unmistakeable bulge in his shorts. I have found her dirty school socks in his bedroom when I have been on the hunt for dirty laundry.
I understand that boys have feeling that they need to deal with and although I don’t think it is healthy, I’m not sure how to bring up the subject of finding her dirty socks in his bedroom. They are close, she does hang out with her big brother quite a bit and he has a PlayStation console in his room. Perhaps she had taken her socks off in there and I was seeing something that was not there.
I have always been quite sure that he would never try anything with her that was not appropriate but if he is indeed masturbating with her socks or sniffing them while masturbating then I think we need to address it with him. My husband feels that we should leave it alone and he’ll grow out of it, get a girlfriend and his sister’s socks will no longer be of any interest. Probably just curiosity.
Here’s my real reason for posting...
My husband does shift work and often if he is working evenings I will sit up waiting for him to get home and watch a movie. Sometimes I dose off on the couch and my husband wakes me up when he gets home. A few nights ago was one of those nights. I had nodded off and woke to someone touching my feet. My son was up to get a drink and had seen me laying across the couch with my feet up on the armrest at the other end. He had his **bleep** out and was rubbing it on my foot. For a second I thought I was imagining it, surely he was just trying to wake me to go to bed. I pulled my foot back slowly and he looked up, turned bright red and ran to his room.
I have not told my husband and I’m not sure I will. I want to speak to my son about it but he has been avoiding me. I don’t want to shame or embarrass him and I certainly don’t want to hurt him and our relationship but clearly this cannot ever happen again and I certainly don’t want to ever find out that he has tried it with his sister. I’m desperately hoping it has not happened already and that is why her dirty school socks were in his room.
Any ideas from any other parents as to how to tackle this? A fetish (if that’s what this is) is fine behind closed doors and with a girlfriend but certainly not with family.
Don’t know what to do. I don’t want him to think he is a freak.
02-26-2019 08:34 PM - edited 02-26-2019 08:56 PM
Hi @E1987 and welcome to ReachOut Parents.
It seems like you're going through a bit of a tricky situation with you son. It makes sense that you're concerned and not sure what you should do next. After-all, you're trying to approach the situation with your son in a way that is sensitive and doesn't make him feel ostracized or uncomfortable... and ensure that you're daughter is safe... and protect your son by not wanting to tell your husband...and probably trying to get your head around the whole situation.
Can I ask why you don't want to tell your husband? It seems like a lot to be going through on your own. You mentioned your son keeps avoiding you. Do you think he may feel more comfortable having a "sex" conversation with his dad? It may be something to consider.
I think it is important to chat with your son and set some boundaries. As you said in your post, it is okay for him to have a foot fetish (from what I know they are quite common) but not to be acting inappropriately with his mother and (potentially) his sister. It might be good to just sit him down and tell him this directly - that it's normal to have these feelings etc. during puberty and that having a foot fetish is somewhat common, but that it is not OK for him to act inappropriately with you, your daughter, or with anyone who has not given their consent for that matter. If you are concerned about him being embarrassed, maybe just reiterate that everything is OK and that you're his mum and there to help him, and that you're there to teach him right from wrong, and that you're not judging him and so on and so forth.
I might add that that is just my opinion and you need to do what is suitable for you and your family. I have tagged other parents on this forum for their amazing advice and support here: @sunflowermom @compassion, @taokat, @Faob_1, @Schooner, @JAKGR8
I might also add that there are a number of services that may be able to help and guide you through this situation. I have provided you with a few options.
- Parentline which is an free telephone counselling service. Check out this website here to see which number is suitable for you to call: https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/issues/how-parentline-can-help-you
- Try searching child and adolescent psychologists in your area and perhaps book in with one as they may be able to provide you with more insight into your son's behavior.
I hope this helps!!
02-27-2019 05:24 PM
Thank you for your kind words.
I have since spoken to my husband, he was a bit shocked and surprised. We agreed that it is quite normal for a teenager to be curious and to want to experiment.
Together we will sit and address this with him today after dinner.
As you can imagine I was more than a little freaked out at the time but the look of fear and embarrassment in his eyes keeps playing in my mind. The last thing I want is for him to feel weird or to feel like he cannot be near me or even to feel somewhat dirty.
We will not punish him for this, instead guide and direct.
You are 100% correct, there needs to be boundaries. Sniffing socks (if that’s what he is doing) is one thing but...
Thank you for taking your time to help me out.
02-28-2019 05:14 PM
Sounds like you have a plan to chat to him about it which sounds like a good course of action. Great to see your husband is also going to be involved in that conversation. I can definitely understand not wanting to make your son any more embarrassed than he is, but at the same time starting the conversation may help him feel more confident to have conversations with you both about sexuality in future.
Feel free to check back in if you want to chat to someone after you have the conversation tonight- always here to lend a listening ear
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago
Hi @sirchd11 ,
Thanks so much for giving us some more information on your situation, I can imagine this must feel like an incredibly challenging situation to be navigating for you and your wife. and completely understand why it would be good to hear from parents who've been in a similar situation - I'm just tagging the OP @E1987 so that they will hopefully see your post
The early years of puberty are definitely a time where young people begin to explore their sexuality, and masturbation is a completely normal and healthy part of that, but it's something that should happen in private and in a way that respects other people's boundaries. I'm just wondering if you/ your wife have ever chatted more generally with your son about sex and sexuality? Raising children's network has some great resources for parents of younger teens here which could be a good starting point.
I'm wondering if one approach could be to talk more generally about things, rather than specifically talking about what happened with his mum - what do you think?
I think the most appropriate thing would be to just have an honest conversation with your son about sexuality, and what is and isn't appropriate. You can also work in a conversation about consent, and how it's unacceptable to engage in any sort of sexual behaviour with a person without their direct and explicit consent. Saying what you've written here is a very good start!
I also just want to give you a heads up on the wording of your post, I understand that you're just trying to explain the situation, however it's important to avoid any descriptive or explicit details, as it could be upsetting or distressing to other users.
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