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