How many times have you seen this situation happen? A little girl comes crying to her parents from the playground because a little boy pushed her, pulled her hair, called her a name, whatever. The age-old response (and one I would have admittedly said in the past) is “Oh, honey, when a boy teases you, it means he likes you, why don’t you go make friends with him?”
We don’t say this about little girls teasing other little girls, and we don’t say this about little boys teasing little boys, but when it comes to boy versus girl, it seems to be an acceptable response.
The innocence in this statement is clear, and at one time it had its place (maybe?). Parents will say anything to try to make their child feel better about a situation that hurt their feelings. But the more I ponder it, the more I cannot stop thinking about how damaging this can be to our daughters. Are we just trying to make them feel better, or are we teaching them that men are allowed to be mean to them because it means they love them? Are we setting them up for a future of accepting abusive partners because that is just how they show love?
I want my daughters to speak up when something is wrong. I want them to know abuse in any form is not OK and will never come from someone who truly cares about them and their feelings.
Am I saying kids need to stop teasing each other? No. I know this is just how kids operate (to a certain extent), and I know it is important for children to understand not everyone is going to like them. What I am not OK with is allowing my daughters to accept when someone is teasing them because it is a way to show affection—it is not. I will not allow my daughters to coddle fragile masculinity because that’s just the way it has always been. Their young minds absorb everything and at such a young age we need to set them up with a good foundation of what is acceptable in a friendship or relationship.
Stop teaching your daughters they need to be nice to someone who is hurting their feelings, that they should play with them anyway. I am going to get some hate for saying that because yes, some kids are looking for attention which results in bullying others in order to get it. But that does not make it OK.
I will not force my daughters to play with someone who hurt their feelings and trust them anyway.
We live in a world where lessons like never leave your drink unattended, do not walk alone at night, or hold your keys between your fingers like a weapon are taught to females at a young age and telling girls that men can be mean and still love you is not going to protect them.
RELATED: Here’s to the Daddies Who Raise Little Boys to be Great Men and Little Girls to be Strong Women
Girl moms, we need to make sure our daughters know this—they need to understand that someone hurting their feelings does not mean they like them, and they are not responsible for making them feel better.
Boy moms, we need to teach our sons it is not a female’s responsibility to make them feel better about themselves, and the consequences of not being kind to people are they will not want to be a part of your life (or play with you in this case).
Let’s do better for our children.