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…


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tamra
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 18:29:01

    Love it sweet Mama, and you KNOW I’m right there with ya! I love that picture of J and Bradley 🙂 So sweet!


  2. Amy Wright
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 21:26:15

    Yay for Jocelin!
    We are going through the same thing. Isaac can not keep girls away from him. (How this happens I have no clue. Neither his father nor I ever had this problem.) The girls chase him, try to kiss him, tell him they are going to marry him, put on lip gloss and kiss “I love you” papers for him… Some girls even kick him or hit him or pinch him just to get his attention. He doesn’t realize that they don’t know how to flirt and it hurts his feelings. Isaac didn’t even know what a girlfriend was before he went to school this year. He’s 7 and could be in 2nd grade, but we put him in 1st. 1st!!!! They do this in 1st!!! He starts acting like a goofball, all twitterpated. HE knows what we expect and he lets the girls know. But he also lets them chase him around and sure doesn’t seem to mind that girls are lining up to get his attention. Hearing your own story makes me think that we need to be taking more action. I have actually thought about talking with his teacher about the girls who are hurting him physically, but then I don’t want to be one of those parents.


    • shawnmelanie
      Feb 12, 2011 @ 09:12:48

      Amy, I think it is a good idea to check with his teacher. She may be able to let you in on more of the full picture. You might not ask her to intervene for Isaac, but if you know more about the situation from another adult’s perspective, it could help you in how you teach Isaac to deal with this.

      Don’t give up, I truly think it is a battle worth fighting! And if it’s any consolation, I’m not sure if this grade-school boy craziness affects boys as much. But from what I hear, the girls get super-fierce in middle school. We have a few years to get our tools ready for that!


  3. marcy hallden
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 18:10:44

    What a cute story. I laughed just thinking of teddy bear Bradley “getting” anybody :). But I’m sure when it comes to his girls, he can go from teddy to Grizly in 3.0 🙂


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