Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Girl Trouble, Part Two

He was reading, silently. As he read, it seemed, he came across the word "bell." I heard him whisper.

"Bell. Like Bella. Bella. That's what Isabella likes to be called."

"Did you say something? Are you talking to me?" I said, pretending I hadn't heard him, in case he hadn't meant me to.

"Oh, I just said something about-- about--"

Then he leaned toward me, and whispered in my ear, "About Isabella."

"Isabella?" I said. "You mean your friend Isabella, who you met in summer school? The one who likes to sit next to you on the bus? The one who taught you how to do a jump shot with a basketball?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"But why are you whispering about her?"

"Because Grant said girls are bad."

"What? A boy in your class said girls are bad?"

He nodded.

"Why did he say that?" I asked.

"I don't know. He just did. He said girls are bad, and no fun to play with. He said they're boring, and they can't play sports. And he said boys couldn't be friends with girls."

"But you don't think that, do you?"


"You have lots of friends who are girls, right?"


"And I'm a girl. You don't think I'm bad, do you?"

"Oh, Mommy. Of course you're not bad."

"Well, that kid doesn't know what he's talking about. It's okay to be friends with girls," I said. "Don't let anyone stop you from being friends with a girl if she's nice to you and you like playing with her. Girls aren't bad. Girls are just as good as boys are."

But I wondered, how many times will I have to say it to him?

And I wondered, even if I convince him he is right to treat women and girls with respect, how will all the other boys who have been taught otherwise treat him if he acts the way I teach him to?

And I wondered, with so many voices fighting for his attention, will mine, one day, be drowned out?


Anonymous said...

It's hard, but you are doing it right. Invite Bella over to play so they can have one on one time with out Grant interfering....

Jake has a lot of female friends and still invites them to his birthday parties, of course this is not to say that there isn't division among the kids once everyone is there. :)

Just continue to foster all of his positive friendships the best you can, and he will figure out the rest for himself.

sugaredharpy said...

Keep doing it. That's all. My older son is fourteen and he has mostly girl friends, but I still have to have talks with him about his behavior when he has a "girlfriend." Friends who are girls? He's completely respectful and normal. Girlfriend? He immediately forgets they are people and is an ass.

He's getting better. But we must keep on it!

Jeannette E. Spaghetti said...

Your voice will never be drowned out. Don't even think about it.

(Keep up the good work, mom!)

Farrell said...

I've always said that mothers raising sons have an extremely difficutl job as you are raising somebody's future husband.
but you are doing great and you will not get drowned out because you will work hard to make sure you are not.

Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

there will be plenty of those other voices, but what he's seeing and hearing at home is huge. What you teach him, how your husband treats you, how you and your husband teach him to treat you, etc.
These boys of ours...most of what I dread about kindergarten starting are those other voices and I hope we can help him remain a confident, empathic and respectful kid.
I enjoy reading the comments and hearing from those mamas whose boys are preteens or teens. It's a perspective I don't have and enjoy learning from.

Anonymous said...

With a voice like yours, I'm pretty sure that he'll hear you forever.