In the 4th-6th grade Our Whole Lives workshops one of the questions children are asked is, “Is it appropriate to have a romantic relationship at your age?” We don’t answer the question—we just let them position themselves either at the “yes” end of the room and the “no” end of the room and have a conversation. As you might imagine, there are as many reasons for a person’s position as there are people answering.
As guardians, though, we have a harder job than we do as facilitators. We make the rules. We hold the family conversations. And, no pressure, we play a huge part in shaping our kids’ future attitudes.
“Acknowledging and age-appropriately supporting kids’ crushes (“How’s Sarah doing? Oh, you got to sit by her? That must have been fun!”) can be a valuable early opportunity, she said, to open trustworthy lines of communication with our kids about love, relationships and, eventually, healthy sexuality. “
The rest of this essay gives guardians a road map and a lot to think about as they navigate this terrain with their kids. Enjoy.