When it comes to my children and preparing them for romance, I’m pretty conservative, if you haven’t figured it out by now. Love, relationships and sex are all huge life situations that can make or break times of your life and influence who you are and the path your life will take. I don’t want to underprepare my kids.
Linda Sharps recently wrote a post on The Stir called “Cute Kid Moment or Too Close for Comfort?” about how she walked in on her 6-year-old son watching TV and cuddling with his good friend who happens to be a girl, and had a bit of an internal freakout while trying to weigh what the appropriate reaction would be. Luckily the situation broke up before she had to intervene, but while many of the commenters called Sharps crazy for reacting to something so innocent, the post and Sharps’ reaction resonated with me.
Right, I know, conservative. But stop rolling your eyes and hear me out on why I think that allowing children to play at romance and to mimic romantic affection just isn’t healthy.
1. Children should be focusing on being good friends. At a young age, children need to be learning how to resolve disputes, how to consider the feelings of their friends, and how to stand up for themselves. These aren’t easy skills… obviously, since most adults could use a refresher course. If you allow or encourage kids to play at romance, it’s like letting them act out Relationships 301 before they’ve even bought the book for 101. Allowing them to venture into situations where their hearts are going to be hurt and confused because her boyfriend wants to “break up” on their two-day anniversary or his girlfriend won’t hold his hand because it’s sweaty puts them in danger of getting bogged down with hurts that they shouldn’t yet consider.