Not sure that this post I read recently: “The Trouble With Stealing Kisses” by Purposefully Scarred had the right title. Only because I felt the writer successfully offered a more important perspective on what we as parents are possibly teaching our children about sex (sometimes unconsciously), and especially since we exist in a world abounding with sexual innuendo.
However it is unfortunate that sometimes the boundaries for what is wrong and what is right can become so blurred everyone ends up losing their objectivity when certain situations occur, as in this one detailed in the post:
“People are up in arms because a 6-year-old boy in Colorado was suspended for “planting a kiss” on a girl in his class.”
In Barbados, I do not think a 6-year old would be suspended for kissing another child; nor would such an action be considered sexual harassment. Seems a bit drastic for children of such a young age but then again, I remember being called to a special parents’ meeting during which the headteacher warned us sternly about letting our children (all under 10) watch pornographic movies and/or witness us adults performing certain ‘acts of endearment’. Why? Because unfortunately, what those little eyes were seeing at home was what was being acted out in the restrooms at school.
My personal experience as a parent went something like this. My son was suspended from school for ‘touching a female student inappropriately’. He was about 12 or 13 at the time; young and immature, more interested in playing around than anything else. Sex was not on his mind. He was in a group of boys and girls hitting at each other (you know that usually harmless game of ‘I hit you, you hit me back’ and the race is on to see who will get the last lash in). A senior student passed by just in time to see the hand of one of the younger boys smacking a girl on her behind. It was not my son’s hand. It was an accident. But the older child witnessing this ‘gross disrespectful’ action reported the entire group to the principal. ALL OF THE BOYS were suspended; nothing happened to the girls, even though they were part of the group and had also been hitting at the boys – because as the boys were told: “girls are always the victims.”
I was livid as my son related the story because I believe that boys are victims too. I had heard many stories from teachers who confirm that girls as young as eight years old aggressively attack and/or physically assault boys who refuse to pay them any attention. And it gets worse because these same females as they get older are known to accost their naive male counterparts with a barrage of profanity for not agreeing to step up to the boyfriend plate on their field. My son added that when he and his friends tried to ignore the girls and stick together, the girls threw stones and called them names. That tells me no, girls are not always victims and yes, boys are definitely victims too.
So getting back to the blog post which made me pause a while to think seriously about what I am teaching my son. Not about the birds and the bees or even about sex. He was taught all about reproduction at an early age and at 17 years old I am more about teaching him the importance of doing all that is necessary to protect himself from ever being in a situation like those outlined above – because if anything untoward ever happens, it’s going to be her word against his … and he’s probably not going to win.
Our children are our most precious gifts. They are on loan to us for a short time to love and cherish, and it is our duty as their parents/guardians to train them in ‘the way they should go’, to teach them right from wrong and to clearly outline when and where boundaries exist especially in relationships – and this applies whether they are boys or girls, and whether it has to do with sex or life.
And so even though I agree with most of what was shared in the “The Trouble With Stealing Kisses”, as the parent of a boy I will still end with this thought: in the event of potential accusations of sexual harassment, let us always bear in mind that boys can be victims too. Do you agree?