K-I-S-S-I-N-G in a Tree at Primary School?

Image Courtesy Unsplash

Image Courtesy Unsplash

The other day I overheard a conversation from a group of primary school aged girls, sitting cross-legged in a circle in the shade waiting for their parents to arrive. It went something like this:

“So and so likes so and so but I like him and he has 10 girls that like him, so I hope he chooses me…” and then she went off to list the possible girlfriend candidates.

Lucky dude.

They giggled and debated who he might choose.

My son Jack told me recently one of his besties has a girlfriend. He said this while rolling his eyes. I didn’t even know he knew how to do that, roll his eyes that is. He’s thoroughly annoyed he’s lost a buddy to a girl.

Another playmate of his also has a gf and apparently word on the street, er playground, is they’ve even kissed!

Say what!

It could be pure speculation. Or exaggerated and/or altered as it passed from orange slide to green slide to blue slide.

As much as these little tidbits make us grin and chuckle, it sure does seem a little premature.

I don’t remember being interested in boys that way until maybe Grade 7, maybe even Grade 8 as I went through the awful puberty stage in Grade 7 and was teased about pimples. I kind of despised boys because of that.

And certainly in elementary school I worried more about things like who got the best swing at recess. If I didn’t, NO FAIR! Why did they budge in line? I hope I win those pink cupcakes at the fair. I can’t wait for my friend’s bowling party.

My thoughts didn’t gravitate towards having a “relationship” or hoping a boy would choose me.

So, this gf/bf thing at such a young age makes me wonder how do you approach the topic with your child if they come home telling you they’ve started courting another kid on the dodgeball court?

Do you brush it off? Try not to think much of it?

Or do you take it as an opportunity to explain they’re too young for that certain type of relationship. Why can’t they simply be friends?

Another example came up recently with Jack and it’s what inspired me to create a post about this.

I had taken the kids to an outdoor pool with friends and Jack was having a great time, sunburn and all (oops!) with some girls from his school.

He told me later, in between aloe vera applications, that he had so much fun and especially with one of the girls.

The moment it slipped from his lips, he cranked his head towards me and said (eyes super wide and serious), ‘Mom, don’t even think about teasing me. She’s not my girlfriend.’

I found it hilarious that he felt the need to add that disclaimer.

I also made a mental note not to tease, which can be quite tough since there’s a strong teasing gene in our family, stemming from my late French pepe who began joking about boyfriends the minute we stepped into his house. But we were teenagers then.

Back to the topic: how do you explain to your Grade 1 son that he’s got many years ahead of him of relationships, too many text messages, messy fights and breakups, the on and off again sagas, marital bliss and then you’ve been married so long you’re farting in front of each other and laughing about it?

I reached out to a few friends who are elementary teachers and they really didn’t have much input. I cornered one at my friend’s coffee shop with questions and she said she typically brushes it off, unless there’s talk of kissing.

One of the teachers told me she didn’t really have much experience with that or has even heard of this topic much amongst elementary kids.

But it can’t just be happening at my kid’s school though can it? Based on conversations with a variety of friends, no it’s not.

Even my preschool age daughter will talk about “getting married” to boys in her friend’s circle. It’s a toss-up between two boys right now. She figures she will marry both of them, either at the same time or maybe two different times.

When she has talked about it, of course it makes me smile, but typically I choose to insert a line like, “Awe, well I’m glad you two are such great friends. It’s so nice to see you play so well together.”

And even sometimes, “Awe sweetie, that’s so nice to hear that you guys are great friends, but you’re WAY too young to get married.”

I tried to research the topic but there isn’t much online for children that young either.

I’m guessing the reason is because there isn’t a lot to talk about or concern behind these so-called relationships. It’s mostly harmless.

I’m not trying to “stir the pot” with this post or inspire a big debate (that’s why I wrote it in a tongue-in-cheek style), however I still can’t help but wonder how on earth this topic is coming up so soon?

As always, I’d love to hear your experiences/funny stories/input in the comments below.

Ashley Degraaf