A man had a 13-year-old son who appeared considerably older due to his height and build. Little did the father know that his son’s height would soon cause an unexpected problem. Here is what he had to say:
A Growing Young Lad
The son’s height was surprising for his young age: “Both my wife and I are tall, but he’s set to pass me since he’s 5’10” and well-built”, explained the father.
The Friendly Giant
Despite his imposing appearance, the boy had no history of inappropriate behavior. “He’s a great kid, and I’ve never suspected him of saying or doing anything bad”, the man wrote.
Chilling in the Yard
During his free time, the young man enjoyed relaxing in the family garden. “We have a big yard and garden, and he’ll go out there a lot to read or just mess around”, the man said.
The family’s house was close to a neighbor’s, separated only by a 100-foot yard with a small patch of trees acting as a partial divider. The family didn’t have fences, so visibility into each other’s yards was unobstructed. The neighbor had 2 daughters slightly younger than the son.
The neighbor recently approached the father, expressing concern that the son was making his daughters uncomfortable. The man explained: “I asked if he did anything, and he said no not like that, it’s just he sort of intimidates them by hanging around the yard”.
The father had a conversation with his son about the situation. He explained that people might feel uncomfortable around him due to his appearance, which wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was important to respect others and avoid imposing oneself on them.
Empathizing With His Son
The father related his own experiences of kindly crossing the street to avoid intimidating women because of his size. He assured his son that he wasn’t angry but suggested he shouldn’t linger alone in the yard anymore.
While the father felt this conversation was necessary, his wife disagreed. She was furious, believing he should have discussed it with her first and emphasizing that their son hadn’t done anything wrong.
After this altercation with his wife, the man became conflicted. On one hand, he felt like the conversation was necessary to ensure that his neighbor’s daughters did not feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, he understood his wife’s anger and wondered whether he should have spoken to her first.
Consulting the Internet
To better understand whether his actions were right or wrong, the man headed online for advice. “Your son has done nothing wrong, and making him feel like he has is ridiculous”, one reader accused. “Your neighbors sound awful”.
The Neighbour’s Problem
Many commenters emphasized that this should not be made out to be the son’s issue, but the neighbor’s. “Their discomfort sounds like a them problem, he is not on or in their property, or in a public space”, someone expressed. “Tell them if they feel so strongly about it to put up a privacy fence and leave you alone.”
Teaching Him Poorly
Another reader expressed that the man teaching his son values that were problematic. “So he’s not allowed to hang out in his own yard because his mere existence intimidates people?”, they asked. “He’s doing nothing wrong, but you’re teaching him that his appearance (something he has little control over) is a problem, and he needs to hide and feel guilty about existing”.
Apologies Are Due
Throughout the entire thread, everyone united in expressing that the man’s wife was 100% correct. “This guy needs to go back up to his son, sit him down, and tell him he was wrong with what he originally said”, a commenter suggested. “Poor kid doesn’t deserve his freedom restricted in his own house, just because he’s extra tall and wide.”
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