Play dates are NOT dates. Girls who play with boys are NOT girlfriends. And this Applies to boys as well. Why are we as parents not focusing on healthy relationship building between opposite genders?
I feel sad when people feel that it is okay to tease boys about how “cool” they are that they have a lot of “girlfriends” who play with them.
In Indian culture, boys who have more friends who are girls are proudly called “Kanha”, because Lord Krishna is known to be adored by many “gopis”. This is so detrimental as it instills UNEARNED confidence in boys and makes them feel that having MANY girlfriends is somehow COOL!
In Indian culture, girls do not get similar comments but I imagine the effect on them being the same when heard… That being desirable is essential to validation !
Why can’t we normalize the relationship between a girl and a boy?
On one hand we talk like this and on the other hand, we worry if our kids will end up “dating” way too early in life. A relationship is a HUGE responsibility and a person has to know that they are ready to take it on BEFORE committing to someone by calling it LOVE. And THIS too is a conversation you need to have with your child when the time is right.
The world we live in, it is so important to get that mind-shift and talk more to our kids (BOTH GENDERS) about RESPECT and how to treat those we care about. Which is why I talk in detail about instilling Gender Equality and Good Decision making, early in children in my Book.
And Caring has NOTHING to do with hormones or being in a relationship or the drama that comes with it. That can be done happily between two HUMAN BEINGS.
Let’s teach our kids to have healthy relationships with their friends (Boys AND Girls). Let’s encourage them to express their CARING in wonderful ways that empower them to KNOW that LOVE is beyond definitions.
That you can CARE for someone and NOT want to BE WITH them.
Here are simple things you can do with your child.
BE A ROLE MODEL.
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EXPRESSION OF FEELINGS.
TALK IN EXTENSIVE ABOUT RESPECT.
TALK ABOUT BODY BOUNDARIES.
Here is a detailed post about teaching kids about gender equality and healthy relationship building.
Have you made this an important part of your daily conversation? A great age to talk about relationships with kids is between 8-10 years of age. Don’t wait for the school to do the work for you or kids to learn by their own experiences.
Keep your foot forward in your child’s life and teach them about respect. What are your tips for this?