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Why are little girls so boy crazy? And is young love appropriate?

Why are so many little girls boy-crazy?

By Vivian Manning-Schaffel |

My 6-year-old son is sooooo over women.

You heard right. While he’s still somewhat into me, thank goodness, he’s over females in general. Why the sudden change? It’s all because recently one of his classmates chased him down and tried to kiss him during recess.

It’s not the first time he’s unwittingly experienced an aggressive come-on. At a birthday party last year, I walked in on one of his girl friends pinning him down on a couch. After blinking in disbelief, I announced loudly that it was time to eat and startled her off of him.

Yet another one my son’s friends (not the kisser, nor the wrestler) is just seven, but she’s so heavy on the boy tip you’d think she was ten years older. She has a new “boyfriend” every week. Her notebooks are festooned with amorous scribbles like “I Love Marcus/Peter/Alan/Parker.” I did not do this at seven; I barely did it at fourteen.

When I broached this topic with a mom friend, she shared a lurid tale of another girl, a second-grader, who was apprehended by school authorities for thrusting her washboard nipples into the face of an unwitting male in the stairwell.

This terrified me. I know a chasm often develops between the sexes around kindergarten. I know kids today grow up fast and curious impulses require a restraint these girls have yet to cultivate, but aren’t these gals a little young to be so ardently boy-crazy, let alone to possess an arsenal of seductive techniques?

Just what would drive the need for a girl to “experience” boys so young? The two boy-crazy girls I know are incredibly kind, lovely, smart kids with incredibly kind, lovely, smart parents. Could this brand of behavior be fallout from cultural influences, like those preternaturally sexualized Bratz doll-hos? Or could it be due to the ingestion of hormone-laced milk products? Who knows! But many of my friends with daughters say the same thing – the boy-crazies seem to be coming on earlier and earlier, and they don’t know how to handle it.

A few weeks back, I ran into a sweet, conservative mom acquaintance with three girls under 7. She casually mentioned her state of bewilderment over her 5-year old’s behavior, because the kid – to put it plainly – was hot-to-trot after anything in pants. “She ran after her seven-year-old cousin, sat in his lap and began to stroke his hair!” she exclaimed. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I’d walked in on a sorority girl mid-makeout!”

When my son first relayed the playground incident, my knee-jerk reaction was to shrug, chuff and inform him how he’ll long for these moves in 10 years. And as most first-graders are staunchly repelled by any glimpse into the elder-life, he shrugged and chuffed back an indignant “whatever,” then promptly went on with his business.

But almost immediately, I realized that in adopting such a casual attitude to his dilemma, I neglected to acknowledge his feelings of confusion, as he was forced into an experience he clearly was not interested in and not ready for. Upon further reflection, I had to admit my fear that these advances, desired or not, would eventually signal a need to have “the talk.”

When I was growing up, I was the first one on the block to read about how babies were made. Naturally, I was elected by my peers to conduct a sex tutorial under a maple tree, with my collection of anatomically incorrect Barbie and Ken dolls rendering the demonstration quite complex.

Although I’m able to intellectually recognize a span of time between when kids learn where babies come from and when they feel compelled to go through the motions of making them, I’m completely mortified at the mere thought of my sweet little boy thinking of someone in “that way.”

Because I’m well aware that once he does, he will begin the inevitable process of detaching from me. For now, displays of pure, untainted love and affection, such as kissing and hugging and so forth, are reserved just for mom. And as I bask in my role as the leading lady in his life, it’s my hope to cling to this title until he begins to resist, or the general public deems it borderline unhealthy – whichever comes first.

Of course by then, his little sister will be entering first grade, and I’ll have my hands full.

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About Vivian Manning-Schaffel

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Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, ParentsParentingThe AdvocateThe New York Post, and a variety of other publications. She lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She's on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com, blogs about pop culture on soapboxdirty.com, and spews her thoughts on Twitter @SoapboxDirty.

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16 thoughts on “Why are little girls so boy crazy? And is young love appropriate?

  1. staciedale says:

    There’s alway a girl or two in every grade who is boy-crazy. There’s also always a boy who is girl-crazy. They are a minority in the school, not the majority and usually by middle school, they have stopped that behavior (not to say it won’t rear it’s ugly head again in the teenage years). It’s hard to say why some girls or boys show more aggressive affection toward other children. Maybe it’s their way of getting everyone to notice them but I don’t think it has any deviant sexual cause behind it. When I was in 3rd grade, back in 1978, there was a boy who chased a girl down on the playground so he could kiss her almost every day, but it was his way of showing off in front of the boys. I think girls do the same thing and maybe more so now, they feel empowered to do so with the cultural shift women have experienced over the last 2 decades. I don’t think it’s something to be overly concerned about. Most schools have a “no-touch” policy and the girl who does this at school should be forewarned that she is breaking a school rule and could be expelled. Maybe she’ll find another way to get attention instead of kissing your son.

  2. 1smalllaxe says:

    My daughter is in kindergarten-she kisses boys and likes to hold their hands. She is not exposed to Bratz or Barbies. What she is exposed to is natural affection between her father and myself. We kiss and hold hands often and in plain sight of the family. Humans are sexual beings from the moment they are born and are shown how to display that affection caretakers. When a girl or boy likes another person, they naturally treat them as they have been shown-for better or worse.

  3. nanabnyc2 says:

    It seems to be happening even younger – my 12 month old grandson was repeatedly kissed on the lips by a 2-1/2 year old girl.

  4. Chiken says:

    I was boy crazy at 6 — and I’m 32 now. I’m sure mothers have always been worried about this, thinking it was a new phenomenon. So it goes.

  5. TheMadMom says:

    I remember there was always a girl or two who were aware of themselves in that way – be it for romantic or curious reasons. They usually just emulate behavior they’ve seen between their parents or on TV. It’s all a part of growing up!

  6. operasara says:

    Five and six year olds have always been boy crazy. When they turn about seven they start thinking boys are icky. If your nine year old is boy crazy it’s a problem, but your six year old, that’s normal.

  7. Jenna Boettger Boring says:

    I was boy crazy at that age and I seem to remember my friends being that way too. At that age I wasn’t allowed TV or Barbies or any of that but it didn’t stop me from chasing Ryan around the playground trying to kiss him every single recess.
    I grew up fine, was not overly sexual, and am now a happily married mother.

  8. FeministMom says:

    I don’t why these mother’s of girls are minimizing assault. You wouldn’t tolerate a boy making these gestures to your daughters, and I don’t minimize the physically inappropriate things these girls do to my sons. Aggression, be it with fists or lips is age inappropriate. I’m really questing the parenting skill & moral ethics of these girls.

  9. staciedale says:

    I don’t think any parent would tolerate aggression toward their child, especially if the child voiced their concerns about it. Again, in school, there is a no-touch policy and those who break that rule are suspended from school if it continues. It’s up to every parent to make sure they remind their child to respect others personal space but that concept of it being a sexual act at 6 years old doesn’t fly with me. If you’re child is being sexually aggressive at 6, then yes, you have a problem. If they’re upsetting another child with their behavior, then yes, you have a problem. If it is a meaningless hug or kiss, I don’t think it’s a problem that needs anything more than a reminder to respect others and their feelings about the affection.

  10. DiaryofaNewMom says:

    Can we blame Lady Gaga? Seriously, though, this piece is very interesting. My son is 4 and he came home from preschool last week with TWO love notes from girls! Granted, he is cute. But he seemed a little embarrassed and confused by it. For his part, he claims to have zero interest in girls.

  11. wew71 says:

    This is nothing new. I remember doing that when I was in first grade in 1977 and I was crazy about Little House on the Prarie and riding my bike too. Remember the little girls who were mad for horses? Pretty sure they got over it too.

  12. vapple says:

    I’m so glad I got to read this, my daughter is only three and has a thing for boys. She doesn’t chase or kiss them, but waves and gives them flirty smiles, it makes my hubby nervous. I don’t expose her to bratz dolls or inapropriate tv, so I wasn’t sure what to do about it, maybe she’ll just grow out of it.

  13. Amber says:

    I was a little girl just like this — boy crazy, it seemed, from birth.

    Take heart — I didn’t have my first actual kiss until college.

  14. SurvivingRecess says:

    Since no other guys have responded with comments I kind of felt compelled to — particularly because my experience was pretty funny looking back. In third grade, whatever age that was, A couple girls tried kissing me so I ran away — but apparently other girls saw. So every recess more and more girls thought it was great fun to run at me and threaten to kiss me in front of the guys so I would feel more and more compelled to run away lest the guys would see me and tease me mercilessly. That went on at every recess for four months — me running in away in mortal fear of a couple classes of girls all trying to corner me to lay one on me. Finally in desperation I tried a new tactic. Come hell or high water I determined that I was going to stand my ground — and plant super big kisses on those that dared to draw near. The first few girls were stunned they couldn’t scare me away and went off screaming when I planted far bigger ones on them than they intended to on me. Eventually I was free from the torment when the girls realized I would kiss them back.

    In any event, maybe that is the answer for these other girls that are boy crazy. If the boys they chase every recess stood their ground and planted far bigger kisses on them the surprise my really throw them off. Just an idea!

  15. teengirl says:

    Just wait till they’re 12 or so the rolls will switchTRUST me and tge boys will have nothing but SEX on the brain

  16. Rion says:

    Well, don’t panic. I am 18 years old, 2nd year of university and boy crazy since I was 4 years old. Never even been kissed yet or had a boyfriend ;)

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