TheKid turned twelve Monday and while entering into the final stages of “tween-hood”, he brought along some relationship drama. He’s been smitten before. A year or two ago, when the jewelry stores were pimping the “Journey” necklaces during Christmas, he was completely enamored with the neighbor kids’ half sister. He begged to get her a diamond necklace for Christmas with hopes of a kiss in return. (Stupid Kaye’s Jewelers commercials and their jingle “every kiss begins with k…”) (Hum that to yourself. Now try to get it out of your head. Yeah – you’re welcome). We found a $7 CZ necklace to his liking and he nervously presented it to her. She wore it often but he never did get his kiss. He quit hanging around those neighborhood kids and the crush slowly faded. But now? Now he’s crushing HARD over a cute little girl in his youth group that won’t give him the time of day. He just HAPPENS to be friends with her cousin (also a 6th grader). Rather he WAS friends with her (very protective) cousin.
I had just stumbled out of bed Monday morning when TheKid emerges from his room, cell phone in hand and said “Cousin’s dad wants to talk to you.” On the line was a very irate father, whom I had not met, informing me that TheKid was harassing and upsetting his son (via text) in an attempt to get CuteLittleGirl’s phone number. (Cousin has consistently refused to give up that phone number for the past few months) His dad told me he wanted his son’s number removed from TheKid’s cell phone (he was doing the same) and no more contact between the two. I agreed. And then Jon and I took a look at the text messaging log where Cousin had cussed out my son, threatened to beat him up, and called him names. TheKid was quite persistent and annoying, flatly refusing to give up on the idea of talking to this little girl even though SHE has told him she’s not interested and avoids him. He pushes ME close to my snapping point on a weekly basis with his constant arguing/negotiating/questioning/refusing to accept our answers – so I can sympathize with this little twelve year old kid. At the same time, Mama Bear was rather irate by the suggestions that he only wanted to talk to her to HURT her in some way. And ya know, the numerous “f*** you”/ “I’m gonna kick your a**” texts.
The most disturbing part of all this though isn’t that TheKid might end up with a bloody nose. It’s his seeming inability to take “no” for an answer. We battle that at home regularly but how often do we as parents deal with some trait at home that the kid doesn’t display around others. How often do we hear “Oh he was so polite!” or “Oh he was the perfect angel” and want to reply “My kid? Are you sure?” I assumed, I had hoped, that our battle was one of him pushing him limits within the safety of home. But apparently he just doesn’t acknowledge, doesn’t recognize boundaries. And that concerns me, for his sake as well as for everyone around him. He’s twelve and his attentions will be turning more and more towards the girls. His activities SHOULD be increasingly sans parents. But right now? I’m not comfortable letting him out of my sight except for school & youth group, and barely then. He’s not malicious or in any way mean spirited. He has a kind, soft heart. But he’s also very high strung and oh yeah – that whole not acknowledging boundaries issue. We’ve had the “no means NO” conversation – and watched his eyes glaze over. And that scares me because of all the concepts I want him to grasp before he’s released on the world, THAT ranks really close to the top. We’ve also involved the youth group leaders so they can (A) help monitor the situation and (B) help teach him limits in another loving environment. They’re good. They honestly love the kids and we trust them. Besides, he’s much more likely to listen to them than us. Hopefully the lightbulb will flicker on before he gets hurt – or hurts someone.