The kids are sure to be talking about Valentine’s Day over the next week or so – you can’t miss it. There are cards in the shops and heart-shaped boxes of chocs everywhere, to say nothing of all the extra flower bouquets on sale in the supermarkets (underneath huge hearts and Valentine’s Day signs). It’s also National Marriage Week this week (7th – 14th February), so now is a good time to discuss love and marriage with your children and find out what their views are on the subject.
Obviously, as the children grow, their views on these subjects may change. However, getting a good idea on what your kids think of love can be a valuable exercise for all the family. By discussing this subject with them, you’ll have the chance to explain any misconceptions they have and point them in the right direction when it comes to discussing abstract subjects like feelings.
Kids can come up with the funniest statements and here are some that we’ve found that gave us a good chuckle:
“I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” (8 year old)
“I’m in favour of love as long as it doesn’t happen when Dinosaurs is on television.” (6 year old)
“I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” (10 year old)
“No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” (9 year old)
“If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” (7 year old)
“One of the people has freckles, and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.” (7 year old)
“One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.” (8 year old)
These statements serve to demonstrate just how difficult it is to define love and marriage, no wonder kids get confused. Talking to your kids about the subject is essential so that they grow up with sensible expectations and are able to form good relationships. There will also come a point where you will need to talk to the kids about sex – well-informed is much better than misinformed when it comes to this subject.
However, you’ll need to make sure that the discussion you have is age appropriate and that you use language that they can easily understand. There are plenty of books available that will help you explain to your kids about love and sex and where babies come from. However, you’ll need to have a good look at them yourself first to ensure that it’s the sort of book that you feel comfortable with. If you don’t know where to start, then check in the Children’s Section of your local library – look at what they have on the subject so that you have some idea of what’s available and what to choose to suit you and your family.
Talking to your child about relationships, love and marriage at an early age will set the stage for more detailed discussions as they grow older. The easier they find it to talk to you about these sometimes difficult subjects, the more likely they are to be open and honest with you about their own relationships later on.