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Girl friend or girlfriend?

While it feels like Kit is doing better and calmer at school, he still had difficulty relating to other kids. He has problems with personal boundaries and since his friends are generally girls, that adds a layer of difficulty. Today, l learned that he had said and acted inappropriately towards two friends and they decided not to be his friends anymore.

This isn't new and we've talked about it many times. So we went at it again. I asked what happened. I said I wasn't mad, I just want to help him understand how to be better around his friends. He was reluctant so I did most of the talking. He really doesn't know sometimes how to behave, especially when the signals he gets from the girls are mixed. I want him to know that having girls for friends is fine. Most of my best friends were girls and girls like to do all the same things boys do: play and run and talk and joke.

"The problem is," I said, "you can be friends with a girl but then you can't act like she's your girlfriend at the same time. You're 10 years old and have no place for a girlfriend." He protested hollowly, saying one of them was a girlfriend but he couldn't say why or even how. Since they'd been friends since first grade, I suggested they'd be better off being just friends and we left it there to have supper.

An hour later he asked, "Before, when you said you wouldn't get mad but just wanted to talk, were you just saying that so I'd talk or did you mean it?"

"I meant it. I'm not mad. I want you to have friendships that last."

After that he opened up and we had a real talk.