Thursday, January 26, 2017

So far....boys are harder than girls

I often hear it said that girls are more difficult to raise to adulthood than boys, but my experience so far doesn't coincide with this sentiment.

G takes after his momma in being a highly sensitive person. He struggles with his feelings and his anxiety.  He has a difficult time adjusting to any changes that he doesn't implement himself.

G is also an exuberant child who loves to learn---this morning he asked me what "formidable" means.  What 9-year-old boy regularly asks his mother the meanings of words like "formidable?"  He is a  happy boy who smiles and laughs easily.  My mom says he is the most affectionate of all her grandchildren.

He and a little friend of his have been having some troubles lately mostly because G hugs his friend too much.

We are a huggy family.  Although I am not huggy with anyone else on the planet, I am very huggy and snuggly with my children.  My mouth is often very bad about being sarcastic or not saying things like, "I love you to the moon and back," but I touch my children often so that at least they know in some way that I adore them.

Anyway, G's little friend feels uncomfortable by G's hugginess.  Like a lot of boys his age, he is figuring out what men are, and for many boys, real men don't hug their friends because that might make them gay.

In the past 4 days, I have had talks with G that went something like this:

We are a hugging family, but not every family is.  You have to pay attention if people stiffen up or pull away as you hug them because that means they aren't comfortable.

Your dad is a sensitive man, but some men like to feel more macho and don't like to hug.  They think if they hug other men it makes them look less manly.

Your dad and I don't care if you grow up and love a woman or if you grow up and love a man, but some families do.  And boys hugging each other makes them uncomfortable because they think if they hug boys their son might grow up to love boys.

At first, I think G thought I was just being weird and giving him "mom lectures," but then I finally had to tell him that his friend didn't want to go to school because he was so upset.  G cried and wrote this note, which breaks my heart a little:

When I asked him what he meant by "mean things" and he said, "Hugging him."

This is just such a sad little note, but I am trying to think of it as a good lesson for G in understanding nonverbal communication and other people's boundaries.  It is also a good lesson for his friend in learning to speak up if something bothers him and not just pull away, which confused G.

It gave me an opportunity to encourage G to write this note and to talk to him about meeting with the school counselor, which he didn't want to do because he felt like he was getting in trouble.  When I informed him that his daddy and I had gone for talks with a counselor when we weren't getting along very well and how it helped our relationship it seemed to make the idea more palatable to him.

It is also a good lesson for me that having a sensitive, huggy little boy is a very special gift, and I'm glad he has us to help him navigate through a world that sometimes doesn't know what to do with sensitive, huggy people.  

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