Parenting Success and Not-as-Much Success

I have a couple of stories to share: one about a parenting victory that is worth celebrating; an occasion where I feel like my child got it right. The other story: an occasion where I see that I’ve missed the mark and my child did not get it right.

Let me first begin with the success:

My 8-year-old, Jocelin, came home from school the other day and told me that a nice boy she has become friends with asked her if she would marry him when they grew up.

(Note: I wanted to include some pictures of Jocelin. Turns-out, the only pictures I have of her by herself are ones she has taken while holding the camera – and therefore are close ups!!)

Now, some explanation is required for you to fully appreciate the end of this story. We have talked about the issue of girls and boys many times in our household. The subject of boyfriends and girlfriends is probably one area that I’m prone to over-parenting, because of how I was as a child/teen…

I can remember chasing boys on the playground in Kindergarten and trying to kiss them, they would, in turn, do the same to us girls and we would giggle and wave good-bye at the end of recess feeling like we had the best time ever. I can still see Craig Schwartensky (yes, that was his name) acting all silly as the pack of girls would blow kisses as he lined up to go back inside the school.

For me, my desire to have a boy of interest in my life began then – in Kindergarten!! Throughout my childhood years adult relatives and family friends would ask me if I had a boyfriend, of course in a harmless and cutsie kind of way, but I began to feel like I was always supposed to have a crush on someone and should indeed always be looking for a boyfriend.

Turns out, that became the story of my life. I have several friends that can attest to my boy-crazy personality from the time I was a child and especially in my middle school, high school, and college years.

Since I can trace many undesirable qualities and actions to my early misplaced affections on boys, I’ve really worked at addressing this topic with my kids.

Before they start school, we discuss how they can have friends that are boys/girls but there is no need to call them a boyfriend/girlfriend since the reason to have a boyfriend/girlfriend is in preparation to find a spouse and I don’t believe they are going to get married any time soon. Now, I realize the subject of dating is a whole other can of worms, one I am not going to open in this post!

So, I’ve taught my kids to have some tools in response to a child who asks, “Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend.” Or more importantly, to respond to other kids who say, “Oooh, is that your boyfriend/girlfriend?”

The response is simple, “No, but I’ll be your friend,” or “No, we’re just friends.” I also suggest they can say, “I’m not old enough to have a boyfriend/girlfriend,” but I’m not sure if they actually say that.

I realize many people feel these type of interactions with grade-school kids are harmless, but I found, for myself  as a young child, that I began to feel like an outsider if I wasn’t always liking some boy. And, for me, this “harmless” desire did not die off once I was old enough to actually start dating; instead it was a match to a big fire and I got burned

Okay, now that you have some understanding of the back-story, let’s return to what Jocelin did when her schoolmate asked if she would marry him.

“Will you marry me when we get older?” “No,” she said, “If you ask me to marry you when I’m 8, my Dad will get you.” (This made Bradley so proud he can hardly stand it).

For further explanation, she said, “And it’s God’s choice for a husband, not mine.” Woo, hoo! That’s my girl, you tell him! I could not have said it better. You are listening and confidently standing up for yourself! I’m so proud of you.

One victory down, umpteen thousand more to go.

Well, since this post is plenty long, I’ll write about my sweet Brooklyn and her not-as-successful story in my next post! Tune-in…

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