One day after school, my then 9-year-old son told me not to kiss him in front of a huge group of kids.
At first, I didn't understand. He said that it was OK to kiss him at home in front of family and even at the bus stop where there were other kids, but not in a large group in front of all of his classmates. I panicked and asked him if he was teased or bullied at school to generate such a response. He assured me that nothing of this sort happened but that he just wasn't comfortable with his mom kissing him in front of 59 other children (his entire fourth grade class). I admit, I was a little enthusiastic to see him in school as those moments are rare and I may have smothered him with one too many kisses but still — I literally felt like a truck hit me.
I know that my son was a late-bloomer with this boundary setting, and many of my friends have already talked about their children having such responses. Still, I was not ready. I wasn't ready to let my oldest go so easily. We set those parenting boundaries so soon in our lives. After all, he was my boy, the one who loved to cuddle, the one who would ask me every morning on the evenings that I work late whether he would see me at night before he went to bed, knowing very well that he most likely wouldn't. His idea of fun was spending time with his family talking, chatting and listening to stories. So you can see why his comment rendered me speechless (which is actually a task in and of itself) for several minutes. Keep reading...
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