Boy crazy at a young age

March 20, 2012 in boys

A friend with younger kids wrote me and asked a few questions. I thought I would change the names and share my thoughts with you. Please remember that my girls are not teenagers yet and really I am praying my way through crazy parenting scenarios just like you. I have no degree or job training expertise. Still, it’s fun to help each other along with our thoughts and prayers.   Please jump in and send your thoughts (or your questions). 

The first boy Bird planned to marry. Doesn’t that grin just melt your heart? And the boy’s reluctance make you smile?
Here’s the question:
  How did you handle boy crushes/boyfriend talks?? One of the girls that Sally spends most of her time with is into boys and I think (not sure) that boyfriends are fine in their house. I am a firm believer that you should not have boyfriends this young, let alone before HS or even college. But Sally has jumped on this wagon and likes a certain boy, and I found a note she was going to give her friend that said she and the friend love this particular boy. Now I know that it is natural for girls to like boys but I want to protect her heart and stop this early so that when she is older and the boy is actually interested too she can be prepared. I have the book Princess and the Kiss that I am going to read with her soon to start the conversation about protecting your heart and waiting to have a boyfriend. How did you handle this new stage in life? (Not hanging out with this girl is not an option since there are few girls in the school for Sally to hang out with.) How did you address their real feelings and not give them the impression that it is wrong to have them but instead to teach them what to do with them? 

Dear Friend, 

I can’t remember Sally’s exact age..but I think 5 might be close. You are on the right track. Use the Princess and the Kiss or other books like the ones I wrote about here to begin talking to her. It’s important to start the conversation about future dating and a future spouse now, while she is young, impressionable and still looks to you and your husband as the #1 source of advice. Talk about what love is (not based on looks), talk about qualities to look for in a husband, talk about your view of dating versus the world’s. And giggle about it all together. If you are watching a TV show where the character falls madly in love at first sight, talk about how that isn’t realistic, that love isn’t based on looks. If you see a show where a kid gets a crush on a teacher, talk about which qualities the kids liked in the teacher. Talk easily and often. 

Don’t embarrass her by announcing at Grandpa’s 70th birthday that Sally loves the boy next door. Don’t ignore her crushes either. And don’t respond with frustration with comments like, “Sally, you are too young to talk like that. Stop it.” Boys are one topic that you should always be willing to discuss. 

When my girls were three, my husband drilled into their heads that when they wanted a boyfriend, the first step would be to bring the boy to him so he could have a talk with the boy. When we do get to the age of boyfriends, it might not work exactly like that, but we hope it is something close. Dating isn’t something to be taken lightly and it is up to us to establish our expectations now–while there won’t be any arguing!  Whenever your daughter is ready to understand, talk to her about how your family plans to handle boyfriends (only group dates in high school…whatever your standards). 

My guess is that the boyfriend talk at this age is just something that brings giggles and fun secrets so don’t overact. It could be imitative behavior from an older sibling, cousin or tv show. With a calm, curious demeanor, ask your daughter why she sends the notes. My guess is she will say, “I don’t know.” Pursue more. Ask how she thought to write the notes. Once you figure out what is going on explain to her why she is too young to send such notes. Then thank her and drop it. If you need to follow up with a neighbor or add rules about not watching certain shows, do so after you pray and chat with your husband. 

For now, Dad is still in the #1 boy spot. And really, it’s the relationship between dad and daughter you want to build on and protect. (Maybe your princess would love one of those father/daughter dances so she can go on a date!)

One last thought, if you are comfortable, it might not hurt to chat with the little girl Sally spends time with. Could be the beginning of a great mentoring relationship for you. 

With prayers, 
Laura 

(Okay…pretending to be an advice columnist was super fun. Thanks for humoring me. )


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