Tuesday, June 28, 2011

boys and girls come out to play

The dancing queen has a new best friend.  And that best friend happens to be a boy.  They draw together, play on the trampoline, make up dance routines, perform 'shows' - all the things one might expect of any kid of 8 or 9.

Sadly for her though, thanks to the ever growing pressure on children to become adults, they is getting rather a lot of stick from the rest of her class - ooh you have a boyfriend!  have you kissed yet? and other less than savoury, clearly misunderstood, and obviously uneducated guesses at what might be transpiring between them.

We've talked at length about this, her and I.  She is upset, somewhat confused about what the questions all mean, but also curious, knows that there is 'something' involved in this.  To start with they were almost amused by the attention shown by the other children, but now it has become a source of angst - and is causing some ripples in the classroom.  Apparently it's all about 'liking' and 'hating'.  Ick, what horrible language for children to be using in the first place!

I want to put an end to the teasing but understand it is just kids being kids.  I want to protect her from knowing 'too much' about boy/girl relationships, but get that just having a friend is probably the very early stages of understanding the differences between the genders.

I've taken the line that, when the others are teasing them, and asking such questions, they are only using language that is 'inappropriate for their age' (she likes this), and that it is just fine to walk away or tell them to stop.  I've told her I'm really glad that she has friends who are girls AND boys, and that this is a really great way to get to know all kinds of people and have good relationships as she grows older.  We talked about how important it is to keep the other friends, and not abandon them just for this new one.

I'm sure that when I was young there were similar situations - but at 8 years old? surely not!

I am becoming more and more sceptical about this modern culture of technology and easy access to knowledge that we live in.  .  It's bad enough that puberty is coming 3 or 5 years early than it did 30 years ago.

I want my children to enjoy being children for as long as they can


Broot said...

I think you handled it well. My boy (7) is still at the "eww yuck girls" stage. Hopefully I'll have the grace and sense of mind you've just shown when it does come up!!

susan said...

thanks! sometimes i astound even myself at the sage motherly advice that i manage to come up with!