When children are little, up through age six or seven, the opposite sex is just something that is. A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl and there isn’t too much more to it than that. They know there is something different, but that’s something for adults and maybe older kids to worry about.
About age seven or eight, they start learning there is a difference. There are things girls play with and things girls do that boys don’t do and vice versa. About that time getting caught doing something meant to be done by the opposite sex (playing house, playing with Barbies, playing with cars, wrestling) starts being taboo and often results in ridicule and ostracization by members of your sex.
As children reached the age of ten or eleven those taboos become very strict. For boys it’s especially difficult. The attraction to the opposite sex begins, but boys don’t really know how to deal with it. Boys usually interact with each other by rough-housing, wrestling, teasing, daring and so on. That’s what they know how to do, but when (after years of being told not to like girls) a girl shows up and things start changing. The boy is curious and for some reason wants to like the girl, but they don’t really know how to do that.
Awhile ago a friend and I were talking about our pets. The conversation led to a story about an eleven year old boy who apparently wanted to like her. Eventually, though, I think he must have wondered if liking a girl was such a good idea.
This is Geri’s story.
“When I was a little girl,” she said, “there was a boy who had a crush on me, but he didn’t know how to tell me. So he showed it by kicking me every time he rode by on his bicycle.
“I’d always get mad at him and he’d ride off kind of giggling.
“One day I was out walking my dog and as he rode by he kicked my dog. He probably didn’t want to kick the dog, but missed me and kicked the dog instead. But I got really mad at him and pushed him off his bike. That also knocked his glasses off and they broke.
“He told his mom they broke when I pushed him down. When she found out what really happened, she taped his glasses back together with duct tape and made him wear them like that the rest of the school year.
“He never kicked me again and I don’t think he ever had any kind of crush on me again, either.”
It’s not easy being an adolescent boy. So much is expected of you. It’s especially difficult when such things as your motor skills are still developing, too.