My 13 year old step-son told his mother yesterday that he wants to be a "furry."
A couple days ago he decided he wanted to make a cat costume. I just shake my head most of the time when he comes up with these ideas and try to remind him he's 13 now and that might not be the priority at the moment (like saving for a car and other teen boy interests). He has ADHD, so his personality is that of a very sensitive and slightly immature nature.
He ended up making his costume and wearing it to school. I didn't know this until after the fact. But his mother (my wife) said that while no one laughed or made fun of him in front of him there was probably some talk behind his back. It is a very small school in a very rural part of the US.
This prompted my wife to have him Google what a "furry" is and after doing so discussing it a bit further on his feelings about that topic. I'm sure the whole concept was introduced to him from spending too much time on YouTube and coming across things which may seem innocent but have longer term effects or other connotations attached to them.
He said he wanted to do this "because he can be who he is." I think the whole thing was pretty innocent but a bit off for a 13 y/o. After the later discussion he expressed that the costuming and what-not would just be a hobby for him, that its not some kind of lifestyle change or related to fetishism.
I'm concerned for a number of reasons. While I struggle with the idea, I worry more for him dealing with it all. I don't see his bio-father taking it well nor his maternal grandfather. Maybe that won't be a big deal if its only a costume making hobby. Should it be a regular thing to wear to school, etc., I see problems. Being in a small town, yet big enough for weirdos as it is, people are very judgmental.
My Question is this:
- What should I do?
- How can we be supportive of him in his choices without him being bullied?
- Do we help him embrace this or try to deter him away from it?
- Are we over-thinking this at this point in time?