My Toddler Doesn’t have a “Boyfriend”

Why is it that adults find it entertaining to ask young children if they have a girlfriend/boyfriend? I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Your kid has a friend of the opposite sex at daycare. “Is that your boyfriend?” or “You’re how old? Do you have a boyfriend yet?”

Sure, they don’t mean anything by it; it’s all in good fun. It’s meant as a joke.

But, stop.

My child is three. She needs to just be a kid. She needs to have friends of all kinds. Why does it matter what gender they are? What kind of message are you sending when you tell your child and other children that they are defined by their relationships?

I don’t want my child to think that she should have a significant other or even that it’s good to do so.  Having one should not be a goal in life. Having one shouldn’t define who you are. And, by the way, the gender of the person shouldn’t define what the relationship is. I’m not in the business of gender indoctrination.

Toddlers are still learning how to be people. They don’t even understand the concept of a “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship. Yet, when you ask them about it, you are introducing something that sounds like something they should strive for. Something they should feel bad about if they don’t attain. Don’t think that won’t carry over to their teen and adult years.  Kids already grow up too quickly, why try to hasten that while also giving them unrealistic expectations?

Yes, my daughter has boy friends. She also has girl friends. She’s friends with a lot of people. And, that’s the way it should be.

So, ask her about school, ask her about her favorite activities, her favorite foods, her favorite shows. There are a multitude of things in my child’s life that she would love to tell you about. Delight in my child being awesome because she’s awesome and not because of her relationships. Because, that is how she should learn to live her life.