The one thing that I was scared of when it came to having a child is someone harming him. This included taking away their choices, making life decisions for them. I swore I would never let the person who handed my child ever get away with it the way my parents did. My past would not repeat in him.
And then it did…
He was 10, lived on the next block, and a pretty nice kid who seemed a little lost, lonely. My son was 8, and met him during the rainy part of fall just before winter. They became friends quickly, hung out at my house (because I don’t trust outsiders), played hot wheels and video games. We had busy schedules and were not home much so having someone to play with when we were was a treat for my son.
One night my son asked if his friends could stay the night. I had no issues with that. I set them up in his room, separate covers, but in his bed. I went up after a while to check on them, making sure they get some sleep…I couldn’t believe what I saw and flipped the f@#! out!! The friend was kissing on my son, his ear and neck and touching him where no 8 year old should be touched. I went off!!
I’m not proud of my language or words, but seriously it took everything I had not to throw him out the 2nd story window!! I told my son to get right and go to my room and the other boy to sit his ass on the bed until I came back. I then went downstairs to calm and think. My boyfriend at the time wasn’t much help, he actually pissed me off more by being so calm which made me wonder about him (we broke up shortly after). It was late, the boys parents had no phone so I couldn’t buzz their apt, he would have to stay the night.
I calmed enough to think, remembering innocent exploration and reminding myself the boys older and from a messed up home life so there might be more going on with him. I went upstairs to converse with the friend. He was scared and embarrassed, but he talked. I apologized for my reaction and explained to him why I was upset, how they, especially my son, are too young to be engaging in this type of activity and how it betrayed my trust and rules. He seemed to understand that.
I asked if anyone had done this to or with him before and he said yes, the guy was a couple years older than him. He said he really likes my son, turns out he’s had a big crush on him (my son is a cutie). I felt bad for him. I was no longer mad at him, but knew he could not be around my son anymore. We spoke more, he was very aware of sex, how it worked, and homosexuality…he’d already recognized his preferences. I explained, bottom line, that my son is too young and off limits completely until he is way older; I even explained statutory laws. I explained that my son knew at that time nothing about sexual preference or even how to have sex (sheltered to a point and not interested in general yet). I let the kid sleep in my son’s room, my son in mine.
My son was open and honest, he had no idea what was going on when his friend started all of that. He said he didn’t want to lose him as a friend so he didn’t hit him or stop him. It was heart breaking. What should have been a nice sleepover with a friend ended up stripping away what was left of his innocence and losing him a friendship.
I told the boys dad and let him know that I hope the best for his son, but he is no longer to be around my son…I still see them around, but just in passing.
That night my whole perspective changed as did my worry. I no longer focused on sheltering him, but on empowering him, teaching him how to defend himself, to say no, and about what being a friend means and how to decipher when someone isn’t a good fit for your life. It scared me that he couldn’t say no. What’s worse, I feared that my son’s sexuality had been decided by that one boy in that one moment before my son ever had a chance to know his true heart. Six years later and I still am not convinced it hasn’t caused some confusion.