“You told him what?!”
What was the big deal? “Nerd” is not a bad word.
Or so I thought.
I was on the phone with my husband R to figure out what was going on with our 10 year old. Different would be putting it mildly. He has been clingy while pushing me away. I had no idea how to handle this. Ten years ago he was this long skinny little thing that cried all the time. If he was hungry, we fed him. If he was bored, we played with him. If he was sleepy, we pushed him around in his stroller.
How was this the same kid?
“You were supposed to tell him that he wasn’t a nerd.”
“I thought owning the word would be better,” I said. “As in his parents are nerds. His mom’s friends are nerds. Etcetera.”
“No,” he said. “You have to tell him that he wasn’t a nerd.” Oh geez. I cannot do this by myself. Stipulations. Postulates. If he’s a boy you have to do this, but you can’t say that unless it’s the third Sunday of the month. I can barely get by in my own life let alone help him navigate his. Apparently I cannot even help him with his. It’s not allowed.
After a very long conversation with R, I came up with a lists of do’s and don’ts on how to handle my tweenager.
DO LISTEN to everything he has to say. He needs to be validated.
DON’T GIVE HIM ADVICE no matter much it hurts. Unless, of course, he asks for it. Even then run it by your spouse to see if it is relevant and/or legit.
DO TELL HIM WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH but only if he asks to hear it.
DON’T TELL HIM IT’S OKAY TO BE A NERD. Yes, definitely don’t tell him that. Apparently it has to do with alpha dogs and finding his niche and other things that I pretend to know about when I talk to my husband.
DO FIND AN OUTLET but…
DON’T FORCE HIM TO CHOOSE AN OUTLET. I asked him if he wanted to play a sport. He said no. Well, alrighty then.
DO ASK FOR ADVICE FROM OTHERS like your spouse or your brother.
DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR KID!
He’s there. I know it. R is doing his best to prepare me for the tween peer pressure that has reared its ugly head, the teenage angst that is coming. This will be multiplied by three eventually… and females!
R said that from this moment on his focus will be on his friends because he already knows he has the love of his famiy. Is this my cue to find friends for him that I like? No?
Before R hung up, he suggested that my brother take M shooting. He said, “Yeah, it will be something he enjoys, he’ll learn about gun safety, and he’ll gain self-confidence.”
I thought about it. This little brother is a former Marine but would he be able to handle a kid at the shooting range? I said, “Maybe you could call him and tell him what he should and shouldn’t do.”
R said, “No, I wouldn’t insult his intelligence.”
Sigh. Guess I should start a list of do’s and don’ts of talking to your brother.
I was wondering when the last kid was going to get the stomach flu. L, down for the count.