I have a first-grade, first-class little lover on my hands. My six-year-old is obsessed with girls. Thankfully, he is kind to the girls he likes — unlike his father, who kicked the girls he liked on the playground.
Last year in kindergarten, D told me about his first girlfriend. When I asked what he liked about her, I was relieved to hear lots of good things about her personality, although he did comment that he liked her braids and Minion clothes (turns out he meant overalls…hahahaha).
Around Christmastime, I found a sweet, hilarious and terrifying top 10 list about how to get a girlfriend that he had written and hid under his bed. The list finally explained his tattered kindergarten yearbook that he paged often before bed (seriously). After reading his list, I couldn’t help but feel a small sense of relief that it included many items that gave a hint that some of our parental teachings were sinking in (be yourself, be kind, be helpful). I have to say that “roll with it” is my favorite item on the list!
The icing on the cake was a series of interactions during an evening school event where D and his girlfriend sat together and took selfies (???!!!) and he occasionally hissed at me to make friends with her dad so they could have a playDATE. I was stunned and overwhelmed.
Since puppy love has started blossoming much earlier than expected in our household, we’ve been scrambling to leverage teachable moments to guide not only the way D treats girls, but to frame the way he and his younger sister think about love overall. This is intimidating stuff! Like all of the other parents out there, we want to raise good human beings who find happiness. All of this puppy love business is increasing that pressure and our worry that we’ll mess this up.
There are things I know and things that I feel clueless about (that’s where you all come in).
Here are my “knowns:” our evolving Klenotic family’s love lessons:
- Be yourself: Don’t change for someone else
- Respect everyone: Don’t touch (or be touched) without permission (including K-I-S-S-I-N-G), be a defender of the weak, treat others as they want to be treated (the Platinum rule)
- You love who you love: Not everyone will love you back. Some girls love girls, some boys love boys and some people both boys and girls
- Love changes: There’s plenty of time to find the person you want to marry. For now, have fun (but treat others’ feelings with care)
- Trust us and we’ll trust you back: Confide in us; let us help you when you get stuck trying to figure things out. The truth is always the best choice
Here’s where I’m clueless:
PlayDATES: I remember boy/girl parties around fifth grade (that I was never allowed to go to). During what age do boys and girls start mixing? I don’t want to lock our kids in a tower but saying no for five more years feels exhausting.
Kissing: Holy hell did I not know what to say when D asked me if he was allowed to kiss a girl. I panicked and went into the whole “body boundaries” spiel. Help!
I think my mind will explode if I try to document any additional overwhelming unknowns. Please share your advice on those two topics. You’ll have my gratitude!