“Mom, I do not want to go back to camp tomorrow. All the girls kiss me and I do NOT like it!”
We giggle at something like that, right? I know I choked back a laugh when one of my boys said this to me earlier this summer.
Isn’t it cute that all the girls want to kiss him? And they aren’t hurting him, they’re just little kids, it’s no big deal.
But, but, but.
Here’s the thing.
No, I don’t think I needed to go into camp and make a fuss, yelling at the little girls who were kissing my son or demanding to speak to their parents.
In general, if a girl kisses or hugs a little boy or calls him her boyfriend, we tend to coo at how cute it is, even if(and sometimes especially if) the little boy wants nothing to with the little girl.
Yet, if the situation were reversed and it were the boy showering unwanted attention on a girl, it’s not so cute. We talk about teaching our boys to respect girls, how they have to listen to “no,” how girls need to stand up for themselves.
And I agree. I do teach my boys these things. We’ve talked about personal boundaries and how no one is allowed to touch them unless they’re okay with it(and yes, we’re talking about appropriate touches here) and how they need to show the same consideration for others. And they’re good about it. They might hug their cousins and they kiss their mama, but they’ve been taught that it’s best to keep their hands(and lips) to themselves when it comes to people outside our family.
My problem comes with the difference between how we treat boys and girls in this same situation. Are boys just supposed to suck it up and deal with it because oh, it’s so stinking cute that some little girl can’t keep her lips off of him? Squee, maybe they’ll get married someday… even though they’re all of 6 now.
Though there’s no way a girl should have to put up with a little boy kissing her.
Look, I get that it really is innocent at this age. I’m not accusing some little girl of sexually harassing my son.
But I am wondering when it stops and what our kids are learning along the way.
If we teach a little boy that it’s okay if a girl kisses him whenever she wants, even if he doesn’t want… will that lesson take root in his memory and he’ll become a teenage boy who thinks he can kiss someone(or more) just because he wants to, regardless of what the girl wants? After all, he was kissed countless times, said he didn’t want it, and everyone just giggled.
And yes, I realize that I have to teach my sons to respect girls, to always recognize a “no,” even when it’s not verbal. I feel up to this job. I feel like this lesson starts early, even with just the unwanted kindergarten kisses.
But, I don’t want the lessons they learn from their own experiences to weigh heavier in their minds than the lessons they’re taught at home. So maybe we shouldn’t just giggle over those innocent unwanted kisses.
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