Bonus Boy has had a very close relationship with one particular friend since before he was born. His Mum and I met at ante-natal yoga classes so our boys were bumps together, they were born within two weeks of each other and have played with each other virtually every week ever since. However, it has lately become apparent that my boy has strayed. He is sharing his affections. He is in love. With a girl!
I first found out that something was ‘going on’ from Bonus Boy himself. He stopped talking about A on the way home from nursery and started talking about B instead. He told me he was in love with her, that he was ‘on her team’ that she was his ‘Supergirl’.
I had a little think (I have learned that this is a good thing to do rather than blurting out my first thoughts every time!) and then told him that I was delighted he had found a new special friend but that I hoped he wasn’t leaving A out; that he wasn’t being unkind.
He had a bit of a think (wiser than his years would suggest) and said ‘I know Mummy, I can share myself. I can play with A and B.’ Later on he started talking about slicing himself down the middle and sharing himself out in little pieces but I told him that I didn’t think that would be necessary.
It is a complicated thing this friendship lark and there is only so much interfering we can do as parents. In the end, they have to sort themselves out, find their own level, fight their own fights. But it is very hard to keep your nose out, to keep your mouth shut. I am very fond of Bonus Boy’s Best Friend and I couldn’t bear to see him being sad. I kept mentioning it to my boy ‘You’re not being unkind are you?’ and ‘You won’t leave A out will you?’ until I could hear the teenager in his voice ‘Mu-um, I know!’ and I zipped my lip.
They did, of course, sort it out and re-establish their equilibrium. They love being together and doing ‘boy stuff’.
Next week they start big school together and there will undoubtedly be more friendship issues on both sides. I will keep my lip zipped. I will not nag. I will encourage kindness and thoughtfulness. This is my pledge! Fundamentally, they like each other…a lot, and that will carry them through!
So, are you a parent who can’t help getting involved? Have you sorted it out or made it worse? Or do you stand back and let them sort themselves out and does it always work?