My 14 year old stepson wants to wear boxer shorts.
At the beginning of the year, I started to do the family laundry to help my husband with the household workload. I discovered something disturbing. I found out my 14 year old stepson wears a certain type of underwear - boxer shorts.
I talked with my husband about it. He said my stepson only recently switched from briefs to boxer shorts about 2 years ago. After a lengthy discussion with my husband, I was able to persuade him that I can switch my stepson's underwear back to plain white briefs and he would support me on this decision. My main reasons are for the family's well being.
First, according to my husband my stepson is circumcised. Based on my research, circumcision exposes a very sensitive part of the body. I believe briefs would be better suited in protecting this sensitive area in a growing boy. Briefs are tight fitting meaning it will keep that sensitive part of the body from constantly moving around. I can't even imagine the type of massive irritation that can happen when that sensitive part of the body is constantly rubbing against fabric every minute of every day.
Second, boxer shorts are more expensive to buy and replace. For example, going to the website for the store Target, anyone can see that a 5 pack of boxer shorts is about $20.00. That same $20.00 can instead get you a 10 pack of briefs. In a clothing store near my area, the cost for one pair of boxer shorts is $3.00 - $5.00. For the same price in that same store, I can get a 5-10 pack of bargain briefs.
Third, based on personal experience boxer shorts are associated with gangs, crimes, and generally shady people. In almost every movie and TV show I've seen gangsters and criminals wear sagging pants with their boxer shorts hanging out or partially exposed. This isn't just isolated to the media. Growing up I have been met a variety of people in the spectrum of life. All jerks and unsavory characters I have witnessed all have had boxer shorts puffing out their pants. None of those people have had briefs sticking out their pants. We are just a white middle-class family. I prefer not to have that kind of negative social stigma associated with my family.
Fourth, this might increase the bond between my husband and my stepson. My husband wears briefs and now my stepson will also be going back to the same. You know the saying "Like father, like son".
Fifth, boxer shorts is underwear for men. A growing teenage boy shouldn't be wearing underwear meant for a fully matured adult man.
What I did
I bought 20 pairs of plain white briefs for my teenage stepson. After doing the laundry, I went into his room, took all of his boxer shorts, and replaced them with the briefs. I placed all the boxer shorts into a plastic bag and dropped off the bag in a clothing donation bin 3 blocks away. When my stepson found out what I did he wasn't happy. He looked more hurt and his eyes teared up a little, but he wasn't crying or anything like that. He just had this sad expression on his face.
I told him my reasons on why I did it as stated above. He says he wants to wear boxer shorts. I asked him why and he said I wouldn't understand because I was a woman. He tried to go to my husband about what I did but my husband backed me up.
I thought my stepson would accept the change and be back to normal after a few days, but he seems stuck in this sad and withdrawn state of mind. I periodically ask him what's wrong and he keeps bringing up the boxer shorts thing. It's been about 8 months now and I don't know what to do to get him back to his old self.
Should I let him wear boxer shorts? I have good reasons for not allowing him to wear boxer shorts as stated above. I can't find any real benefits to boxer shorts over briefs. I tried asking him for his reasons but he said I wouldn't understand because I'm a woman. Do boxer shorts really mean that much to a teenage boy?
I'm not sure what to do.
Thank you everyone for all the feedback.
I read through all of it and did further research into areas I was ignorant on. Yes, I admit I do not know everything but I am open to learn and to correct any misconceptions I might have had.
As a new stepmom ( and first time mother and to a teenager who is a young man ), I let my eagerness to make a positive change to the household blind me from the possible detrimental effects my change might cause.
I have talked with my husband and stepson. The 8 month long tension appears to have been finally lifted. I'm driving my son tomorrow to an outdoor mall near our area so he can pick out a total of 20 pairs of boxer shorts he wants from any of the stores that might be open such as Target, The Gap, American Eagle, Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, etc. Since this was my mistake, I'm paying for all of the boxer shorts no matter the price. I'm going to donate all the briefs I "forced" on him.
I've learned switching from briefs to boxer shorts for a teenage boy isn't just a change of clothing. It also means he has matured from a child to a responsible young adult where he has earned his parents' trust. It seems to be the modern "rite of passage" into adulthood. I've also learned that boxer shorts appear to play a significant role in the social hierarchy among high school boys. Below is just one example I found doing further research into this: https://youtu.be/wE64QzylZOk?t=85 (American Dad episode)
I can see how hurtful it was to deny him something this significant because I didn't know anything about it.
I also learned this: "At puberty, a boy's needs change to very loose fitting underwear (except during activities)" http://pediatric-house-calls.djmed.net/puberty-underwear-boxers-briefs-or-commando/
I want the best for my son. If boxer shorts give him the confidence and unspoken respect among his peers to be able to successfully socialize & network in high school I'm all for it. These are skills that can translate well into college and into the real world.
Thank you for making me realize my perception of the situation might have been drastically different to others. I don't want to be end up being the mother in the clip below. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7vyt1z (Malcolm in the Middle episode)
You live, you learn. :)
You should have seen how happy he was. He was back to his smiling and confident self again. :)