15 Nov
My 5 Year Old Has a Friend. With Some Benefits.

Welcome to Guest Mouthy Monday. Today’s Guest Mouthy Housewife is Lisa, a mom, a blogger, a cancer survivor, who blogs about life, death, cancer, survival and family. Lisa wrote one of my favorite posts, Things Don’t Happen for a Reason, and we’re delighted that she’s dispensing her wisdom with us today. (Also do not deprive yourself of the joy of following Lisa on Twitter. You will thank us!) -Marinka, TMH

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 5 year old girl is constantly kissing another friend’s 5 year old boy.  At first we thought it was funny and cute but now it’s out of control.  They are “holding” the kiss for longer and longer, their siblings are cheering them on and now they are hiding it. I found them kissing behind the couch.  These are not french kisses but still!  Should I be concerned? How do I put a stop to it?

Signed,

Concerned

_____________________________________

Dear Concerned,

Whenever I have a parenting dilemma the first thing I say to myself is, “What would that mom from the other Housewives group do?” That is, I look to Camille Grammer from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Then I do the opposite.

The first issue is that 5 year olds do not know what constitutes appropriate behavior. Children do whatever they want until they are socialized and taught manners and self-control. Although they might be accomplishing something by being behind the couch and cleaning out the dust bunnies as they huddle back there while kissing, this behavior should definitely not be encouraged. At age 5 they are old enough to understand basic ideas of how to behave. That said, they will take their cues on social norms from siblings and parents. The first thing to do is to talk to the siblings. They should not be encouraging/cheering this on. The kissers are getting a big reaction and it may be as much for the attention they are getting as much as the enjoyment from kissing. Removing the reaction should help.

Once that is done, the next step is to talk to the children (preferably when they are not when lip-locked). You and the other mom should sit down with the two children so that you are all hearing the same discussion and present a unified adult perspective. I’ve always found that explaining things to children directly and honestly and giving them a different way to express their emotions in an age-appropriate way is best. You and your friend should sit down with the two children and explain that while you understand they are great friends, and really care about each other, kissing on the mouth is not what children should do; kissing on the mouth is for when you are much, much older (like dinosaur age… however old Mommy and Daddy are). Try to give them some other examples of ways they can show their affection for one another; instead of kissing, they can draw pictures for each other or even hold hands (if you are comfortable with that).

In the future, stopping these types of things at the outset (not “oh, they’re kissing, how cute!”) might be easier than undoing what has already happened. There is quite a slippery slope where physical contact is concerned and having limits at the outset is always the easiest. Respect for personal space and one’s body should start young; you’ll be teaching them a great lesson early in life. While it might still seem harmless, the fact that you and your friend are questioning it shows that it has already gone a step beyond comfortable. You also can see that the other siblings are not only encouraging the kissing, but also may be encouraged by this display. That is, they might be interpreting that if it’s okay for a 5 year old to be kissing on the mouth, it must be okay for an 8 year old to do it, too.

Now, for extra credit in this exercise teach the two lovebirds that doing household chores– including Swiffering up the dust bunnies behind the couch– is always a perfect way to show someone you really care.

Good Luck,

Lisa, Guest TMH

5 Responses to “My 5 Year Old Has a Friend. With Some Benefits.”

11.15.10#1

Comment by Diane.

Great advice. I’m going to file away in my mental archives as I know my 5YO is boy crazy and has a propensity to follow unwittingly her older siblings behaviors and suggestions. Hearing her call college-age Andy from Toy Story 3 ‘hot!’ was just too much for me.

11.15.10#2

Comment by StephanieG.

What a relief! I thought LittleG was the only boy crazy 6 year old on the planet! When she came home last year talking about “hot Connor” (vs. the plain, homely one, I suppose), her Dad and I both about had a cow. Maybe she’s not destined to be a pre-teen tart after all.

11.15.10#3

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Well said, Lisa.

11.15.10#4

Comment by Wendi.

Excellent advice, Lisa!

And if anyone ever wants to come make out behind my couch, just bring a Swiffer with you and go to town.

03.27.13#5

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