It is considered poor form and bad parenting to suggest your child resolve their differences with brass knuckles, bastard swords and or hand grenades.
Nor are you supposed to suggest duels or any sort of trial by combat. Words are what we want to use and most of us do our very best to teach our children that.
The Life Lesson No Parent Wants To Teach
Sometimes people suck. Sometimes friendships fail and sometimes you get stuck having toÂ dealÂ with the surviving parts and pieces of a friendship turned sour.
I remember writing Â How To Raise The Perfect Daughter and thinking about how lucky my son had been not to have any serious drama at school or at home.
He once asked me if boys have the same sort of drama that girls do and I had told him that it happens, but we hope it is infrequent. He told me he didn’t understand how his little sister could have a frenemy and I told him that sometimes we give certain people lots of chances to be our friends.
And then I told him that everyone has to decide what they are willing to tolerate and that there is a line we should never let people cross.
Maybe he got lucky because he didn’t have any first hand experience with a frenemy until six weeks or so ago. That is when a friend from school began swinging between being a jerk and being a friend.
My son was hurt and angry by this other kid’s behavior. When he asked me for advice I told him to sit the kid down and tell him that his behavior was unacceptable.
“Dad, what happens if he doesn’t change?”
“No one is allowed to treat your poorly. If he keeps being a jerk you cut him loose. There is no reason to walk on eggshells. Loyalty is admirable but being mistreated because you allow it to happen is not.”
You Know Where This Is Going
My son sat the kid down and for a short while things were good and then they weren’t. He told me that he was very upset because his frenemy cussed him out but wouldn’t say why he was angry.
“If he won’t tell me what I did I can’t apologize.”
“You might not have done anything. Sometimes people just act like jerks because they can and not because of anything you did.”
“He is my friend, if something is bothering him I want to help.”
“I am your father and I don’t like what I am hearing. I am not angry with you but I think this kid has crossed the line. You need to be prepared to let go and accept that you may never get answers. That is just how life is.”
When he told me he was going to do things his way I smiled. He is going to do things his way and in his time, wonder who he got that from.
I am proud of him. There are so many good qualities in him, the kid is growing up to be a really good person. But part of me is screaming inside because I see another piece of his innocence being stripped away.
The frenemy isn’t the only thing.
People Are Teasing Me
You’ll excuse me if I call the frenemy a little prick and not just because he has been such a dick to my son but because he is pulling other kids into this.
There are several now who have given my son a nickname he hates and they are riding him about it. I gave him advice for how to handle it and now we will see what happens.
It is hard to sit back and watch but if he is going to learn anything I have to let him deal with this. If it crosses a certain line I will step in but I can’t do that yet.
And so I sit here remembering what life was like when I was his age and I hadn’t become so callous and hard about some things. I wasn’t born with this thick skin, I earned it. I just wish he wouldn’t have to earn one too.