It’s quite amusing to see how some little children have left their parents stumped when they casually inform them that they want to “marry”. Haaaa! What could a 5 year old possibly know about marriage? The other day my 6-year-old nephew told his mum that he had seen the person he would want to marry. My friend also told me about her 8 year old daughter who said she had seen someone in their church who she wanted to marry. Could this mean that contrary to popular belief we are doing something very right that is making marriage an attractive option to our children? Or perhaps they believe that there are some fringe benefits that come with marriage e.g. for the man – not having to take your plate to the kitchen! (I heard of a boy who mentioned this as one of his reasons for wanting to marry quickly).
Anyway while we can attribute conversations like this to childish babbling, it might be worth probing a bit deeper to know the concept our children have of “going out”, dating and marriage. I’ve asked severally (not sure I’ve actually gotten a satisfactory answer), what children especially ages 16 and below mean when they say “so and so” and “so and so” are going out. Going out as in? I mean trust mean I’m no prude but really wouldn’t it help to get a bit more clarification?
Valentine is a few days away. What does valentine mean to your child? Does your child have a val? What informed their choice? Do they plan to give any valentine gifts? What? How much? Who would be funding their “love life”? Who’s giving them tips on what is or isn’t appropriate behavior? Wouldn’t you want to know? I would.
Oh and before you take a trip down Holier-than-Thou Boulevard, remember you were once a love struck teenager so probe with wisdom. Keep it age appropriate and don’t bombard them with too many questions if not the only response you’ll get is silence. Also know when to stop. Please o…all the questions I asked above are just to arouse your curiosity – not to serve as the exam questions! My fellow parents, there is a strategy and skill to these things critical amongst which is learning the art of absorbing shock and staying calm. Remember the objective is to get honest feedback so you can guide your child to make choices that are in their best interest.