1. Delrohir

    Delrohir Member

    Sep 16, 2015
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    Meeting his father for the first time when he is 15

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Delrohir, Sep 22, 2015.

    In the novel I am currently working on, the main Character's mother has been murdered and he has now moved in with his father in another country.

    The main character understands why he and his father could not be together before, and why he couldn't know of his father's existence, but he is 15...

    I guess I am asking, I'm not sure how my character would be feeling about it...

    Would there be feelings of resentment, anger that will persist regardless of any logical explanation? How would someone who grew up without a father cope with the sudden change?

    That aspect itself isn't a major part of the story, but for the suspension of disbelief to work I think it is definitely something to consider?


  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Aug 12, 2015
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    London, UK
    Would there be feelings of resentment, anger that will persist regardless of any logical explanation?
    It depends very much on the individual but yes, in most cases there will be resentment. He's old enough to deal with that resentment by telling himself that it's undeserved but unless he is extraordinarily forgiving and mature he will probably be unable to completely get rid of it. Our feelings are not often logical, especially feelings that have been there since we were small children with limited understanding of the world.

    I think if you don't want that to be a major part of the story, get them to have a frank discussion about it near the beginning of their relationship. The father can explain that he had no choice in the matter but he understands that, to a child, that doesn't mean much and he's sorry he wasn't there. He'll understand if his son needs time alone or time to be angry with his father occasionally, and he'll give him space... you know the kind of talk. Maybe occasionally when they're talking, your MC can have a flash of irritation at something dad says "because if you'd been there when I was little, you would have known that..." but then swallow the feelings down, realising they're unworthy. I think most people will be able to relate to that and find it believable.

    How would someone who grew up without a father cope with the sudden change?
    This depends even more on the individual. Not only is he moving in with a stranger but he's also moving to an area where he knows nobody, has no friends, needs to start a new school, etc. There's the added pressure of the stranger being a blood relative, meaning he's supposed to get on with him and even love him. His mother has been murdered so he's dealing with grief as well. Depending on how his mother talked about the father, if there was bad blood there he might feel guilty that he's going to live with someone SHE resented and actively chose to bring him up away from. He might feel even more guilty if he likes his father, and feel like he's betraying the mother who loved him and raised him for most of his life. That's a whole lot of expectation and pressure for a 15 year old.

    So depending on his personality and frame of mind you can choose between any mixture of awkwardness, fear, guilt, anger, resentment, excitement, nervousness, curiosity...
    Sifunkle likes this.
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    What @Tenderiser said...plus, at 15, he'll be smack in the middle of teenage angst, rebellion against authority, the full gamut of "I'm big now, there's nothing you can tell me that I don't already know!" He'll be a handful to the stranger that is his father.

    Incidentally, is this other country culturally similar to where he was brought up? e.g., has he moved from the US to the UK? Or from the US to Equatorial West Africa? Does he speak the language? What cultural norms will he have to adjust to?
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
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    Ralph's side of the island.
    A lot of the son's feelings toward his father are going to have been formed when the boy was with his mother. Did the mother struggle? The son might resent the father. Did the mother fill the boys life so that the missing father was less noticed? Less resentment. And so on.

    And, all kids are individuals, some will harbor resentment, some will be indifferent. You have a lot of leeway telling your story.

    The bigger problem in your scenario is a boy finding himself in an intimate living situation with strangers. Especially when the arrangement involves a power differentiation. Dad's rules might annoy the son. Dad's habits might annoy the son and vice versa.

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