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Thirteen year old son is obsessed with Hunter S. Thompson!

I have a brilliant thirteen year old step-son who is both immature and mature, he thinks himself of the latter. He looves to write and make movies. He recently read Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, after buying it. My wife let him read it, although I was very skeptical. I love the movie and I want to read the book, and I do not think he should have those visuals in his mind. However, my wife believed he wouldn't have gotten past ten pages before abandoning it. He finished 170 pages in three days, and now has thirty pages left. Since he read most of the book and my wife let him read it, we rented it and watched it. He loved the movie. Now he dresses a LOT like him, wants to read his other books and sometimes will talk like him for five or so minutes. He says that he does not want to "be" Hunter S. Thompson, just that he likes his fashion and he has a "cool and funny speaking behavior." We will not let him buy other Thompson books, and when he came to us asking to buy this combination of the Fear and Loathing bucket hat and sunglasses, we said no. Well, I mostly did, my wife did not care very much, she found it rather funny. I like that he is inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, as he was a great writer and my step-son loooves to write. However, dressing like him and talking like him is bad and I do not want it to happen. He should be himself, not Hunter S. Thompson. I'm fine with the wacky button-ups he buys from Goodwill that he calls "Thompson-esque shirts", but if people saw him and his friends on the streets with bucket hats and aviators, they would think of my wife and I as bad parents. What should I do? Am I being too hard on him, should I let him choose who he wants to dress like?
3 Responses
5914096 tn?1399918987
I am not at all familiar with this writer.  It is not uncommon for a child to act and dress like their role models.  Typically, this is a fad that doesn't last that long.  As long as you condone this writer as an appropriate role model for your child, I think that it would be appropriate to expect your son to act and dress like him.  If you are concerned about the wardrobe, instead of disallowing it all together, you might want to express your concerns with your son and go from there.
13167 tn?1327194124
I think I would REALLY like your son!  What a clever,  creative kid!

At 13,  he's reading edgy smart stuff,  and he has friends who have the same taste and he has the sense of humor to want to dress in that kind of unusual - but not bizarre - way.

I'm not quite sure why you're so upset about it - I don't think other parents would think you were bad parents,  I think they'd be laughing and thinking what an interesting,  engaged kid you have.

I wouldn't say another thing about it,  and if he wants to buy the hat and glasses with his own money and wear it on weekends,  I'd be out there taking a picture.  

In general,  in my experience,  kids like your son grow up to be very interesting and engaged adults,  and my guess is he'll be a successful writer.  
13167 tn?1327194124
Let me add an additional thought.  It sounds like you really appreciate a very mainstream,  predictable,  maybe athletic kids who would be seen as a student leader and athletic kid?  (Maybe I'm wrong).

You perceive other people would look down on him because in fact,  you are kind of embarrassed by his differences?  

The thing is,  he IS different and keeping him from reading Hunter Thompson isn't going to snap him straight up and make him a vanilla flavored kid - he's choosing a different path.  

Boys need their dad's approval.  Boys with involved,  loving dads who admire the sons and enjoy spending time with them are set for a lifetime of self-confidence.  Boys whose dads dislike or disdain them,  or are embarrassed by them spend their lives trying to convince themselves they are okay.
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13167 tn?1327194124
Austin, TX
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