It starts in kindergarten


This past weekend at a birthday party with Finn, I found myself quite troubled by all the talk about boyfriends, girlfriends, he doesn’t like me, I don’t like her, etc. It’s kindergarten. Can’t they all just get along and play? I sat by a mom who’s daughter was Finn’s girlfriend several months ago until they “broke up.” I knew about this because he came home around Valentine’s Day talking about the girl and even bringing home valentines from her. At the time, I thought it was cute and fun. A few weeks later he came home saying the little girl wasn’t his girlfriend anymore. He seemed mildly bummed about it but quickly (like 5 minutes later) forgot all about it. I asked him how he knew she was no longer his girlfriend. He said: Because she told him.

I hadn’t given it much more thought until this past weekend’s party. Other moms were talking about which girls were the girlfriends of which boys, how many girlfriends a certain boy had, how their daughter used to like this boy but now she likes this other boy, and so on. They all thought it was so cute. And it kind of is. But some kids seemed to be taking it too far and being mean to boys or girls they don’t “like.” The mom of Finn’s “ex-girlfriend” talked about one girl in another kindergarten class who  started this “club” and she tells the other girls that she’s the most popular girl and bosses them around. Can we say the 5-year-old version of Mean Girls?

The whole experience just broke my heart because he’s 5! I think back to when I was 5, and we had the whole boyfriend/girlfriend stuff too, and we chased boys at recess and visa versa. My “boyfriend” most of that time was a red-headed, freckled-face boy named Junior. But I don’t remember kids being so catty and serious. I just want my kids to enjoy being children and not stress over silly stuff like this. I’m thinking, though, there’s very little I can do about it.

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