The social minefield of school

This week, Ben is experiencing a new problem at school.

“There’s this girl in year 4, mum, and she follows me around at lunch time and asks me questions,” he says.

“Oh, are the questions rude or something?” I ask because of the worried look on his face.

“No. But she keeps following me. It makes me feel funny.”

“Maybe she likes you, Ben,” I suggest.

He frowns: “Mum, she’s in year 4. I’m in year 7.”

It turns out that not only is he uncomfortable that a girl is following him around, he also feels it is totally inappropriate for a girl three years his junior to be friendly with him, especially as she is “quite short for her age”. Of course, I don’t point out that he is immature for his age (common with autistic boys) and short himself, but I do suggest that he can do with all the friends he can get. After all, he spends many lunch breaks on his own while the other year 7 boys play sport and the year 7 girls hang around in little groups.

“Why don’t you just play with her?” I suggest.

“I don’t know if that’s allowed,” he says.

If there was a prize for the most law-abiding kid in school, this boy would win hands down. (He’d also win child most likely to remember to ring the school siren on time, not to mention most anxious child of the year.) I encourage him to loosen up a bit and try to make a new friend. Then a frightening thought strikes him.

“Mum, you don’t think she like-likes me, do you?”

“It’s not a tragedy if a girl fancies you,” I say. “You don’t have to do anything. Just talk and play on the monkey bars or something.” He looks unconvinced.

“I don’t know if today is going to be a good day,” he mutters as we get into the car to drive to school.

I have to laugh. I never thought I’d be counselling my son on how to remain cheerful when a girl seems to like him!

4 Responses to “The social minefield of school”

  1. sue taylor says:

    Love your Blog Rach and how you write xx

  2. Hi Rachel! My name is Shadi, I am originally from Iran and I live in Perth. I am a writer in my country and I write stories and poems for preschool kids. I have a 3.5 son which is autistic. I went to active library few weeks ago and found your great book. Really enjoyed reading that, you gave me lots of ideas to help my son and myself as well. wish you and your lovely son the best.

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