Irritation Alert: Parents Who Encourage Flirting

I got a bit slammed by the comments on Facebook regarding my post about letting toddlers wear makeup. I will say it made me think that perhaps I am a bit too protective in that regard. As is Victoria Beckham, apparently. I was thrown down for not wanting Fia to play with a little girl’s purse that was chock full of Hello Kitty makeup. I am still on the fence with how I feel about that. I did find it a bit gross that a 3-year old is running around with blush and lipstick in her purse, stopping mid run to re-apply her cosmetics.

I know I was the only one there so no one else witnessed what I did. But the conclusion that I jerked Fia away in a “judgmental” way is just false.

I didn’t say, “That girl is awful. Look at her makeup. Come on Fia, let’s get out of here.” Or anything even close.

We were leaving the Science Center when we ran into this mom and child on the lawn. The girls played for a few minutes, the cursed-purse was pulled out, and we bid farewell and left. We would have anyway.  So perhaps if I had explained that better I wouldn’t have been railed on as much.

I know kids like to imitate their moms and they also like to paint–whether with lipstick on their face or a brush on a canvas. There are extremes to any and all of this. I just choose to not encourage or push the makeup thing on my daughter. And she doesn’t seem all that interested anyway. So I’m in the clear for a bit.

But at the risk of getting yelled at again, I am going to launch into another major irritation of mine: sexualizing our babies. I know, it’s a strong statement. So maybe I should just say “language I find distasteful.” But when I hear parents of toddlers saying, “Oh-Liam– look at you flirting with Lily!” or “Asher–where is your girlfriend Abigail?” I, once again, get grossed out. I guess my prude factor is pretty high. But seriously, why can’t they just be friends? Why does it have to be flirting and boyfriend-girlfriend stuff?

Maybe it’s no different when Courtney and I joke that Fia and Teddy are like an old married couple–he gets cranky with her and she nags him. But we don’t tell it to them like, “Fia, your husband Teddy is getting cranky” or “Teds, don’t get cranky with your wife.” We whisper it to each other, then usually yell at one of them to chill out.

And why do people who have even older kids like 9-year-olds use the “boyfriend-girlfriend” term so loosely? The tween age is on the cusp of teen. Why push the romance language on them any earlier than need be? I heard a mom at the playground say to another mom, as she patted her son’s head, “Oh, my son isn’t cooperating today because he wants to be with his girlfriend. Right, Jacob?” And that is not an isolated case. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find it cute.

So once again I’m throwing myself out there. Am I being prudent or prudish?


picture of toddlers via Shutterstock

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