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Boy-Girl Relationships, by Dr. Brad SchwallDr. Brad Schwall

Cooties, boys chasing girls on the playground at recess, dating...boy-girl relationships begin developing early and change quickly.  How can parents guide their children to have healthy perspectives about the opposite sex?  What do parents need to do to help their children treat the opposite sex with respect and develop a foundation for healthy relationships in the future?

Question:  Why do boys and girls seem to show disgust for each other when they are young?

  • As children grow, they begin to notice differences between boys and girls.  They express their developing awareness of differences though talk about cooties and actions that show a dislike of the opposite sex.
  • In pre-school, boys and girls often play readily with each other.  They begin to prefer to play with their same sex as they enter elementary school.

Question: What is the best way to respond when our kids talk to us about cooties and hating boys or hating girls?

  • Understand that talk about cooties and disliking the opposite sex is normal, but do not feed their perceptions and behavior by giving their words and actions too much attention or joining in with them.

Question:  How can we respond when our kids make that transition to actually being interested in the opposite sex?

  • Focus on the friendship aspects of boy-girl relationships rather than boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.
  • De-mystify boy-girl relationships by emphasizing that it is great to have friendships with the opposite sex.  Do not create unnecessary anxiety about relating to the opposite sex by making it into a big deal to talk to a boy or girl.
  • Affirm your kids for being mature about boy-girl relationships.

Question:  What do we need to teach boys and girls about how to treat each other and relate with each other?

  • Teach respect.  Teach boys and girls to speak respectfully about and to the opposite sex.  Teach them about manners and how to act around the opposite sex.
  • Teach boundaries.  Teach children to ignore, confront, or talk to an adult about inappropriate comments or behavior.

Our kids learn the most about boy-girl relationships from our example.  Choose your words and actions wisely and you will help your child have healthy relationships with the opposite sex into adulthood.


    © Dr. Brad Schwall - Cool Kids. All Rights Reserved.

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