Isn’t he cute! This is a picture of Haiden last year..
My son was very VERY smitten with his friend and classmate last year. Her name was Lhaicey, and they even decided to “go out” and be “boyfriend and girlfriend” in the cute little 2nd grader way where it means they sit together at lunch and say hi in the hallway.
I remember thinking that I needed to tread gingerly whenever the subject came up. I didn’t want to in anyway make him feel bad, or ostracized him for caring about another individual, and mostly I didn’t want to make him feel embarrassed to talk to me about it. He was only a second-grader for pete’s sakes, and I didn’t want to prematurely start the cycle where he doesn’t want to talk to me about what he is thinking or feeling.
Growing up, I had remembered my own Mother’s reaction when I told her that a classmate of mine had a “boyfriend”. Not even that I liked anyone mind you – but that a classmate liked someone. I ended up getting a two-hour lecture on how wrong it was, how stupid they were, how they were too young to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, how it was horrible that their parents allowed them to have a “boyfriend”, and on and on and on.
I remember that two things came of my mother’s reaction. My first thought was that I better not EVER say anything to her if I actually liked someone. If that was her reaction to someone else’s news, imagine how painful giving my news would be! The second was that to my mind (as a child) it set a precedent that if I “liked” someone special, that I was in the wrong, and that it was something to be ashamed of.
As instructed in “Treasure hunting” from past experiences, I guess I can say that it ended up making me a more emotionally aware parent for my own kids. (Yay ? – I guess for my kids… lol!)
As a Mother, (or parent really) we want to protect our kids from every possible hurt. Shield them from life’s not-so-fun aspects. Sometimes though, we have to remember to step back and let things happen because ultimately some life lessons are learned more effectively through life experience. There are some lessons that can only be taught through surviving. I’m sure my Mother’s reaction was just meant to discourage me from allowing myself to get in a position where I’d be hurt in some way, or bring shame upon them or whatever….. but I definately saw that there was possibly a better way for the delivery of that concern.
Anyway, back to present day, and Haiden…
When he first told me about his “girlfriend” I made sure he knew he could talk to me about anything that he was thinking or feeling. Then I asked him what his idea of a “boyfriend/girlfriend” was. I was very relieved to hear what he had to say, and helped me to not worry as much because his answers were still (luckily) very innocent. ( Bullet dodged for a few more years.. ^^)
Through the course of that school year, him and Lhaicey “broke up” and decided to be “just friends” (which was really what they were anyway – only with a title), this had really made him sad. He was very attached to that girl. Then at the end of 2nd grade, she actually moved away. He was really heart-broken, and even as recently as last month talked to me about how sad he was that she was gone.
I started to question myself as to if I should have handled his news differently, or done something different (other than just telling him to talk to me) to help him through it. I knew he really missed his friend, but he didn’t seem to be getting over it, and I was starting to get kinda worried. What do you do with a heart-broken 3rd grader?… obviously taking him out on the town isn’t an option.. lol ^^
And then the sun peaked out of the clouds.. Today he came home from school and asked me if he could tell me a secret. I said sure! He then told me that a friend of his had told him that a girl in his class liked him. LOL!
I told him “You’re a nice kid, whats not to like? He just laughed and said “Thanks Mom”.
I asked him what he thought of this girl liking him, and he smiled and said “I don’t know, I just thought it was nice”
Then he went on to talk about the rest of the day. It made me feel hopeful that maybe he finally was getting “over” being sad about Lhaicey being gone. I’m sure she will always hold a special place to him, 1st “girlfriend” and all.
I think what made her even more special to him was the fact that she was so nice to him while he was having such bad problems with his psoriasis. It made him feel good I think to know that she didn’t care how he looked, or what other kids said. I think it was good for him to have her friendship during that period. But… life moves on no matter how we fight it, and he is so young to have these kind of hang-ups… and it makes me feel funny to even say it that way, as he is so little, and there is so much to real relationships that he has no idea about. That being said, his feelings are real and he still has to work through them. Doesn’t matter what value anyone else puts on your feelings.. we all still have to work through them ourselves, and I want to support him in that process. I am thinking that as long as we keep the communication open, it will make things easier… for all of us.
Listen to your kids, and it will be easier to relate to them, least that has been my thought on the subject… It does get hard at times though.
You live you learn! Parents and kids alike… 🙂