Something that Tony and I have noticed as we walk this parenting journey is the use of "girlfriend/boyfriend" for Littles, I mean very Littles. They are having "dates" (I'm not talking about play dates) when they are babes and don't even know the other exsits. And as soon as a child of the opposite sex they know walks in the room its, "Look there's your girlfriend/boyfriend." This baffles and frustrates us. Why do we have to call someone of the opposite sex that when our child is two?
Yes, its cute to think about these two little innocent kids in that way, but is that right? We live in a culture where there is more and more pressure to date young, have sex young, grow up young. We no longer let our kids be kids. We no longer treat that other child as just a friend. I mean why can't they be? Why do they have to be a boyfried or girlfriend?
I feel like we as parents are just making the situation worse. These children are uninhibited by the opposite sex. Either it doesn't phase them or they are grossed out by them. When we as parents start to suggest that it should be something more or something special, even in a joking manner, we start to put pressure on our own child. Suddenly every boy that little girl spends any time with is a boyfriend. As she grows up and finds out what a boyfriend truly is she begins to think that she MUST have one of those.
I remember growing up with lots of boys that were friends, Tony being one. There was no pressure to think anything else. But if my parents had labelled Tony and the other guys boyfriends, I probably would have thought "well thats what they should be, so lets make them that." Any boy that crossed my path that was at all friendly would be someone who should be my boyfriend. Why do we put that on our kids? They will get enough pressure in middle school from their peers and hormones without us as parents pushing them.
I have to admit it is really hard for me as a parent to step back and no infuse any of that on my child. Its cute when Addilece walks up and stares at a boy. But does it really mean something? Most likely not. She probably knows he is different then she is and that fasinats her. I'm learning to keep my mouth shut and treat the friends that are girls and the friends that are boys the same, nature and culture will push her the rest of the way all too soon.