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Counselor showing son attention

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 7:41 pm
My oldest son is almost 13 and is very mature in some ways. He’s very sharp and witty and confident and loves to hang out with people older than him. He’s a lot of fun - I love spending time with him!
He was in day camp this summer and got close with a lot of counselors - particularly the head counselor who is in his early twenties. My son talks about him all the time. He said that he’s like an older brother and he talks to him about high school next year and other things that he needs advice about. This counselor seems nice and whenever I pick my son up always says My son is his favorite camper and he’s so great.
But I’m just a little worried about why this counselor is so interested in being friends with an almost 13 year old. My son just got a phone and today he was texting with this counselor and talking on the phone to him a lot. Is that weird? Should I be concerned? Camp is over, why is he still talking to my son? Is he just being nice?
Am I being paranoid? Is it normal for someone that age to interact with younger boys outside of camp?
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amother




Lawngreen
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 7:48 pm
amother OP wrote:
My oldest son is almost 13 and is very mature in some ways. He’s very sharp and witty and confident and loves to hang out with people older than him. He’s a lot of fun - I love spending time with him!
He was in day camp this summer and got close with a lot of counselors - particularly the head counselor who is in his early twenties. My son talks about him all the time. He said that he’s like an older brother and he talks to him about high school next year and other things that he needs advice about. This counselor seems nice and whenever I pick my son up always says My son is his favorite camper and he’s so great.
But I’m just a little worried about why this counselor is so interested in being friends with an almost 13 year old. My son just got a phone and today he was texting with this counselor and talking on the phone to him a lot. Is that weird? Should I be concerned? Camp is over, why is he still talking to my son? Is he just being nice?
Am I being paranoid? Is it normal for someone that age to interact with younger boys outside of camp?


How do you expect anyone to answer this for you? Is the counselor married? Just like you don’t know if it’s weird or not, neither do we.
Always err on the side of caution,
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amother




Aster
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 7:49 pm
It doesn't have to be weird. Some guys are just cut out for being really good mentors, think big brother/little brother type of thing. But definitely keep an eye on it to make sure that thats all it is.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 7:50 pm
amother Lawngreen wrote:
How do you expect anyone to answer this for you? Is the counselor married? Just like you don’t know if it’s weird or not, neither do we.
Always err on the side of caution,


No he’s not married. I thought maybe people with older sons might have insight into relationships between boys and what’s normal.
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amother




Dahlia
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 7:55 pm
It used to be normal for counselors to keep in touch with campers and be a mentor.
Now I understand why my daughter was specifically told NOT to keep in touch and keep up the relationship.

Don’t assume anything bad unless you see or hear anything concerning. And talk to your son casually about his conversations, so that if there was anything weird he’d have an opening to bring it up with you.

A mentor relationship can be very valuable and helpful if done right.

Also a big difference is if the counselor is initiating the relationship vs your son initiating it.
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amother




Cobalt
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 8:06 pm
I would put a cap on the type and and amount of communication. Let him have this friendship but make sure he knows how to maintain his own boundaries. Maybe no texting. Limit it to a weekly or bi-weekly phone call. Not after a certain time of day..

If he's a groomer(chas vshalom) he will see parents are involved.

If he is not, he will appreciate the boundaries being set.
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amother




Babypink
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 8:08 pm
amother Cobalt wrote:
I would put a cap on the type and and amount of communication. Let him have this friendship but make sure he knows how to maintain his own boundaries. Maybe no texting. Limit it to a weekly or bi-weekly phone call. Not after a certain time of day..

If he's a groomer(chas vshalom) he will see parents are involved.

If he is not, he will appreciate the boundaries being set.
No texting and once a week convo sound good.
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TravelHearter




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 8:13 pm
Sleepaway camp?

In my day as staff we totally used to keep up with campers. But obviously I don’t know your situation.
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amother




Mistyrose
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 8:17 pm
I actually had the same concerns with my son when we bumped into his counselor at shul. He ended up coming over and I invited him for lunch. He sat at the kid table despite being invited to adult table and he ended up with one of the boys (my sons friend) in his lap. I immediately said get up and told my son I don't want him ever to contact him alone. My son is 10 and counselor is 19.
I feel bad that I think everyone is a predator but even before the lap incident at shul when I was introduced to him he had eyes that creeped me out. Totally based on nothing but intuition. I even made a comment to my husband at shul that the counselor looked off to me. After lunch I found out the counselors father is on the registry but not for child stuff more for peeping etc... not even sure what to do with this info or why I'm sharing.
Yes, I have a double standard. If my daughter was on her counselor lap I wouldn't be as wary.
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rmbg




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Aug 29 2022, 8:22 pm
Talk to your son openly! It might be a Very valuable relationship that would be a shame to cut off and it might be a very dangerous one! You need to openly communicate with your child.
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amother




Orchid
 

Post Wed, Aug 31 2022, 11:46 pm
Our school had a safety awareness event and this was something which was discussed.

Strongly discouraging the friendships our kids make with others that are older or younger than them

Molestation concerns aside, elitism isolates the child from his peers which already is a big problem especially that you're saying your son is too mature as is.

I would strongly go with my gut and discourage this relationship but tread as carefully as possible because your son might turn it into a secretly relationship if he's also craving the attention or whatever he might be gaining from this relationship
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amother




Orange
 

Post Thu, Sep 01 2022, 2:16 am
As a kid, I always preferred friendships with those older than me. In elementary school, my best friend was 4 years older than me. In camp, I became really good friends with some of the counselors and head counselors. I kept in touch with some of them (including high school dorm counselors) and they were VERY influential and I wouldn’t be where I am today without those relationships.

Isn’t middle school the typical age to encourage kids to have a mashpia?

I would not interfere. I’m sure he gains a lot from the friendship.

In response to “what does he see in my son?”, people like feeling that they’re a good influence on someone, that they’re making a difference to someone’s life. That he’s using his life experience (he’s closer in age to your son so he can relate to him better than a 30 year old) to mentor your son.
Also, young adults ARE encouraged to be mashpiim for younger boys.

This is very normal. I don’t see any issues. Watch out for red flags the same way you watch out for red flags in other relationships. Maybe invite him for a shabbos meal (or shabbos, depending on how far he lives), to see what the relationship is like.

Another point, you said he’s your oldest. I think it’s very common for oldests to want friendships with older people. (I’m the oldest too.)
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amother




Buttercup
 

Post Thu, Sep 01 2022, 2:36 am
Can you bring up with DS that they can speak once a week on phone. No Meeting each other in person. (only if the parents are there.) Maybe get in touch with the camp and ask about him?
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amother




DarkGray
 

Post Thu, Sep 01 2022, 3:25 am
I'm an oldest and I'm also the oldest of my generation as both my parents were the oldest of their families. I grew up around older people and was always more comfortable speaking to adults than my peers. I wasn't interested in a lot of the same things teenage girls were and never found I had a lot in common.
I don't think it's a bad thing for your ds to have a good older influence. If you are keeping on top of it and know your ds is comfortable coming to speak to you about anything, then go for it.
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amother




Cinnamon
 

Post Thu, Sep 01 2022, 7:34 am
Remind your son about safety rules have an open conversation ask him if counselor ever tried anything and keep an eye and that's it. My ds also hangs out with older or younger kids it's his personality.
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amother




Steelblue
 

Post Thu, Sep 01 2022, 9:50 am
As a mother you should always keep a watch in friendships in general, so you know what's going on. Going out by himself with this counselor would be weird but you don't have to traumatize your kid asking if something happened, since most likely it's a regular friendship. I feel bad that anyone that is super friendly is under suspicion now, what kind of world we live in that everyone is afraid and thinking every person is a molester or groomer.
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