Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Teen drama isn't just for girls....

I have always been very happy that I have two sons. Don't get me wrong, if I'd had a daughter, I'd love her just as much as I do my boys. But, having been raised basically as a boy (Biological Father always wanted a son and I'm the only child he's ever had), I'm not sure I'd know what to do with a girl. I'm not into Barbie and makeup and dresses. I don't watch fashion shows or keep up with the latest dreamboat boy bands. I'm much more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt than I am a skirt or even capris or shorts. The only dresses I own are my wedding dress (which no longer fits) and a costume I bought for Halloween one year that's just too awesome to get rid of.

I remember in school that Valentine's Day was always a big issue. You either got a card or candy because everyone else did or you got a flower/balloon/etc. because your boyfriend/girlfriend/parents sent you something. And the ones who usually got something from their parents were mortified for at least a week. If you didn't have a boyfriend/girlfriend, you got nothing and you went on about your day. If you did get something, you loved hearing your name called over the intercom with the other "blessed" members of your school who would all be mobbed in the office by everyone else who wanted to see which person got the biggest gift.

Or, occasionally, you'd be told you had a gift waiting -- perhaps a balloon or candy sold from one of the school's clubs as a fundraiser -- only to find that you did have something but it was "sent" from someone who actually didn't send you anything. And when you went to thank them for the nice gesture, they would laugh and make fun of the fact that you'd believe they'd actually take the time to send you something, much less pay for anything. I fell victim to that a few times. It didn't help with Biological Father being my school's principal from the time I was in 2nd grade until 8th grade. Then he became an administrator and that was even worse. I always felt bad when I saw it happen to others because I personally knew what they were going through and usually could figure out who'd been the person to pull the prank (especially since he/she usually couldn't keep their mouth shut about it).

The same thing happened this year to Youngest Son. He received a Valentine from one of the school clubs' fundraisers signed with the name of a boy that he hangs-out with in a group before school. Youngest Son told me that evening he thought it was creepy and even posted it on Facebook. I lectured him on how rude that was, especially since the boy was a friend of his through Facebook as well and could read the post. I told him that if someone had the time and thoughtfulness to remember him on Valentine's Day that he should just be thankful.

I was so furious at how insensitive he was at having received a card with a Hershey's Kiss from a male classmate that I went into maximum rant-drive. I told him that perhaps the boy felt that Youngest Son was a good friend and wanted to show his appreciation. I told him that maybe the boy had sent them to all of the guys that hang-out together as a friend. I then explained that maybe he felt that Youngest Son was his only friend and that reading on Facebook that it was "creepy" would be so hurtful that perhaps the boy might become depressed. I explained that maybe this boy had feelings for Youngest Son and the last thing he needed was to be made fun of by Youngest Son and his "friends" and asked how he would feel if the boy didn't return to school the next day. I also asked how he'd feel if the boy who might have been one that was picked-on by many others felt this was the last straw and never came back to school because he'd committed suicide. I also told him that it could, possibly, just be a prank by someone with nothing better to do with their time to try to embarrass this boy and make Youngest Son the newest accomplice (having experienced that myself).

Youngest Son went online and deleted the post but I reminded him that anyone could have shared it and started spreading rumors. Even one of his "friends" posted in the comments: "Gee, I didn't think your door swung that way!" Whether that "friend" was just trying to be funny (and failed) or really believes that Youngest Son feels that way is irrelevant. It's a small town with a lot of closed-minded people who don't take kindly to people who think and feel differently than the "normal" folk do. I told him the best thing to do would be to approach the boy the next morning at school and simply say "Thank you for thinking about me" and leave it at that.

Well, after school today, Youngest Son told me what he did. He went to the boy and said thank you for the card and candy. The boy said that he had been confused the evening before because he had received a card and candy addressed to him with Youngest Son's name as the sender. They both realized together -- they were the victims of a poorly thought out prank. Someone was trying to make them both look "bad" and get rumors started. Both boys agreed that they weren't going to fall into the "trap" that was laid for them and that they'd both enjoy the candy they didn't have to pay for and would still be friends and hang-out in the mornings with the rest of their group. No hard feelings and just laughter at whomever wasted their time and money on the trick. They even told their friends what had happened and all of the other guys and girls thought it was funny that they figured out they'd been "pranked" and laughed that someone would be insensitive and silly enough to try it. The group is still together and Youngest Son is even having a few (guys only, of course) over this weekend for a Star Wars marathon. I still can't believe that these are some of the smartest kids in the school and many STILL haven't seen the original trilogy!! How can that be??

Anyway, at least Youngest Son learned a valuable lesson. He needs to think before he posts and be much more sensitive of other people's feelings. The world has changed and bullying doesn't just happen on the schoolyard anymore. I hope this lesson sticks with him for a long time 'cause I know high school won't be any easier.

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