The little girls who go to school with my sons are absolutely precious. Adorable! I grin every day as I watch them bounce through the doors in hair clips and matching outfits. Once in a while I find myself wishing there was a little more estrogen in my own home, a fantasy quickly replaced by the memory of how difficult the infant years can be.
I enjoy talking to other parents and I especially love to hear about how friendships are forming in their classrooms. I hear a lot about "besties" and requests to get together. The only comments that ever force me to pause sound something like this, "I asked her if (my son) is her boyfriend, but she said they're just friends."
It's happened on so many occasions these past few years. As parents, we don't mean anything by it. We think it's cute and we're programmed to have conversations like that with our adult friends.
Sadly, no, my son can't be your daughter's boyfriend.
Here are a few reasons why...
1. Someday, you'll be repulsed if either of my sons believe that every woman is fair game for a romantic relationship.
Our kids are in class together. They're learning and growing. They attend some of the same churches. They'll be on sports or debate teams at the same time. They'll volunteer together and work in companies that employ both male and female workers.
I think we can all agree that 99.99....% of your daughters, will not in fact, be one of my sons' girlfriends.
Childhood is confusing. When they hit adolescence, it'll be developmentally normal for our children to want to confide in one another instead of solely on us. They'll share common successes and struggles. All of that will be much more difficult if they view each other as romantic or sexual prospects versus comrades on a journey together.
Dating is great, but it's the very small exception to all of the full and lasting relationships that our children will carry with them throughout their entire lives.
Let's help our young ones to develop skills that support healthy friendships, heartfelt encouragement, and a belief in one another's dreams!
2. Romanticizing young friendships makes common, daily interactions "weird".
You should see my kids' faces when somebody asks them about a "girlfriend" or "wife". They never used to believe little people of the opposite sex were "icky", until somebody suggested that girls around them might be more than just friends.
Now that's confusing! The girl they used to dig in the dirt with on the playground isn't so comfortable to be around anymore. Now, talking about her illicits embarrassing comments from grown ups and giggles from the other kids.
Let them enjoy one another un-nuanced. Let them be little.
3. Your daughter's attractiveness is not determined by how many boys chase after her.
Attention is a temptress. We've all known how it feels to chase after it with everything in us. If we're honest with ourselves, we'd admit that we've elevated the opinions of far too many boys. We'd admit that their approval towered over us, blocking any chance of seeing the Light of day.
If I can just be noticed as pretty...or smart...or good. If I can just be seen...
It started so young for so many of us. It started with the little pony-tailed girls who had lots of "boyfriends". They became her comfort and her worth.
So, no. My son probably won't be your daughter's boyfriend, but I hope he's the best brother she's ever known.
I pray daily that he'll see her God-given beauty and gifts from the inside out. I hope he'll set an example of sibling love and kindness fit for the princess she is. And I know if all of those things happen, he'll be one of her biggest fans.
That's all we can pray for any of our children doing this life together.
With much love,
Questions to Consider:
1. Do you remember what it was like to worry about whether or not other kids "liked" you?
2. What types of things did your friends and family joke about regarding the opposite sex?
3. Have your kids struggled to figure out some of the same things?
4. How might you help them process the differences between boys and girls? That their beauty comes from God alone?
All your children will have God for their teacher--
what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.