On Friday night, my 11 year old son was in a panic. “Mom, I need your help.” he said with urgency. He proceeded to show me his phone and about 14 missed calls IN A ROW from the same 11 year old girl. Then he showed me a series of no less than 30 texts from this girl’s 3 “representatives”, all asking the same question, “Who do you like, this one or that one? Tell me, tell me, tell me” And then they ended with “Fuck me, you aren’t going to tell me are you…” Reminder, she’s 11.
My son is adorable and has a wonderful heart. I am not surprised that there are girls with crushes and I focus on making sure that he treats all of them with respect. I tell him to not become arrogant and to never become “that guy.” But after I saw this episode on Friday, my thoughts opened to the entirety of the situation. Because he was simply trying to play a video game on his phone and was constantly interrupted by the texts pouring in,I began to feel the harassment aspect of this. I realized that this was one of the many future episodes that will mark the end of the innocence.
But my thoughts quickly went beyond this “nuisance” for my son; they quickly went to “what are these girls doing to themselves” and soon after that, how many times when I was young did I do this to myself. Do not get me wrong, I adore my son. But no boy should be the object of any girl’s desperation. I remembered all the boys I chased after and how those boys must of thought, “just leave me alone.” I remember all the time I lost to dreaming about whatever boy of the hour, when I could have been focusing on building my own dreams. The worst part was, I incessantly was wracking my brain trying to understand what was wrong with me and tearing down my own self-esteem, crush by unattainable crush.
Raising both a son and a daughter, I will see both of these sides over the next ten years and will handle them as best as I can. But I will be the most sensitive to ensuring that my daughter’s self-esteem remains built upon things that matter to her and not by the boys’ affections for which she pines. I understand puppy love, but we all need to realize that these experiences build the people that our children become. They are all tests for us to respond to as parents. We can not catch everything but we need to be there during these seemingly innocent situations, reminding them that while they seem catastrophic in nature within the pre-teen social order, being true to themselves is paramount.