5 things boys should know by 5th grade

1.  Being a bully isn’t cool.  It’s just sad.  Sure, you might have some sycophants who stand around and echo your taunts, but you don’t impress them.  Deep down inside they think you’re a loser, they’re just not ready to toss you off your self-appointed throne yet.

2.  I know you’ve got a lot going on right now.  Physical changes, growth spurts, a newly pungent body odor that brings tears to your teachers’ eyes…but all those girls in your classes? They’re also going through puberty, and there are plenty of changes raging through their bodies, too.  So tread gently.  Be kind.  And remember that there may be days when your friend acts batshit crazy – don’t call her on it.

3.  Girls can be cruel to each other…incredibly cruel.  They spread gossip and backstab and freeze each other out of groups until fifth grade resembles a grudge match on WWE.  My best advice?   a) Stay out of the drama.  It’s easy to get sucked in; avoid the temptation.  b) Be a good friend to the girls you know.  A guy’s perspective is invaluable, and a true girl friend can give be the best support you’ll find among your peers.  c) Stick up for your friends.  You wouldn’t let one of your bros get dogged at recess; give your girl friends the same consideration.

4.  Unexpectedly starting your period is mortifying, and it’s particularly traumatic for young girls.  It’s humiliating to find yourself in blood stained shorts, and fifth grade classmates aren’t exactly known for their compassion.  You must never participate in teasing or cruelty, or be one of those boys who piles on when the class is snickering away.  Be ready to quietly clue in the teacher – it could mean the difference between an embarrassing moment and public shaming that leaves emotional scars.  There’s plenty of embarrassment to go around in the puberty years; the next one up to bat may be you.

5.  Teachers are people – real, live people – and they have bad days, too.  This means sometimes you’ll deserve the reaming you get, sometimes it might be an overreaction, but them’s the breaks.  Just like sometimes you get away with the nonsense you pull at school, and sometimes you get caught.  It all evens out in the end.

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