Teenage independence.


I wrote earlier this year about our sixteen year old son. [He will be 17 by the end of the year.] You suspected depression. We found a Christian counselor who was highly recommended, and that our son liked, showed him our letter and your response. After several sessions he said that he believed that our son was depressed when he was younger but did not see any sign of it now. That was last spring.

A few weeks ago we accidentally found out that our son is homosexual. He does not see being “gay” as a problem. So, I don’t think that there is anything to be done about it. If you think differently, please say so. Things have been very tense and he spends minimal time at home. When I checked with his school I found out that he has not been absent and there are no apparent problems there.

The age of consent in our state is sixteen. We took him to the doctor. At 16 he has privacy rights, but the doctor told us, with our son’s permission, that there were no health problems, and given the circumstances that our son was being responsible sexually.

A few nights ago our son was home for dinner. Afterwards he said, “I think it’s time I was on my own. I want your written permission to choose where I live.” I immediately said no way. Two days later he left an article on how minors in our state can go before a judge and become emancipated. I spoke to our lawyer. This sort of thing is unusual, but the law provides for it and it does happen. He has income. He has considerable savings, probably enough to live on till he starts college.

My question is [1] should we give him written permission to live on his own. Or [2] Should we call his bluff and see if he takes it to court? [3] If he goes to court should we appear and simply not contest his petition? [4] If he keeps living at home what kind of measures/restrictions should we take? Let me be clear, I’m not asking for legal advice. I have a lawyer for that. My wife and I are at a loss on how to deal with this as parents. [5] If he moves out how do we relate to him?
I asked him what it would do to his child care work [he makes most of his money doing this and gets top dollar] if people knew he had moved out of our home and if they knew he was “gay” and he just shrugged and said, “I might lose a few. For most of them I don’t think it’s an issue.”
I’m sorry this is so long but I tried to include all the important information.

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