The other day Richard and I had a talk about kids education. We both thought that it is very important to prepare kids for a proper attitude towards the opposite sex when they reach adolescence. We especially don’t want them to follow our old trap. For most Chinese parents, sex is like a taboo and it is never a topic of conversation between parents and their teen kids. So when I grew up to a teen, I was extremely shy and withdrawn, especially in front of the opposite sex. I remembered that when my breast began to develop, I became so sub-conscious that I stooped all the time with a fear of being noticed. For a very long time, I dared not to face up to a boy. I struggled for years to adjust my attitude/character and learn to get along with the opposite sex after I attended the university. So it was not surprising that I started to have a boyfriend at a very late age.
Both Richard and I suffered this process, so we realized the importance to prepare our kids for their adolescence, although they are very young now. During the conversation, we didn’t get a conclusion about how-to though. Today when I read the classic parenting book — the 5 love languages of children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, I kinda found part of the solution. (I haven’t finish the book yet. Once I finish reading the book, I may get more ideas on this topic to share.) Here are some of the excerpt from the book:-
During your child’s grade school years, it is essential to remember that you are preparing him or her for the most difficult part of childhood–adolescence.
…While boys approaching adolescence may pull back from touch, fearing it’s too feminine, girls may find their fathers pulling back. If you want to properly prepare your preadolescent daughter for the future, don’t hold back with the touches. Here is why.
During the preadolescent stage, girls have a particular need for expressions of love from their fathers. Unlike boys, the importance of being assured of unconditional love increases for girls and seems to reach a zenith around the age of eleven. One reason for this special need is that mothers generally provide more physical affection at this stage than fathers do.
If you could watch a group of sixth-grade girls at school, you would see the difference between those who are prepared for adolescence and those who are struggling. As a girl nears this delicate stage in her life, she intuitively knows that she needs to feel good about herself. She also unconsciously knows that she needs to have a good sexual identity in order to weather the years ahead. It is crucial that she feel valuable as a female.
As you watch the girls, you will see that some have a difficult time relating to the opposite sex. They are either shy or withdrawn around boys, or they may be flirtatious and even seductive. While boys may enjoy the flirtations of an attractive girl, they do not hold her in high regard and usually ridicule her in private. But the real agony for this girl is not just her reputation but her ongoing relationships with other girls. They tend to resent her because of her behavior with boys. At this age, having normal and supportive friendships with other girls is far more important than getting along with boys. These friendships also set a lifelong pattern.
Some of those girls you observe do not resort to awkward behavior with boys. They can simply be themselves because of their healthy self-esteem and sexual identity. Their behavioral patterns are consistent and stable, whether they are interacting with the star quarterback or a shy, hesitant boy. You also notice that the boys hold them in high esteem. But best of all, they have close, supportive, meaningful relationships with other girls.
Girls with strong and healthy self-esteem and sexual identity can better stand against negative peer pressure. They are more able to hold on to the moral standards they were taught at home, and are better equipped to think for themselves.
What makes the difference in these girls? Some have such problems with their peer relationships and others are doing beautifully. You guessed it — the emotional love tank. Most of those who are doing well have fathers who take their part in keeping the emotional tank full. But if a girl does not have a father present in the home, all is not lost. She may find a good father substitute in a grandfather or uncle. Many fatherless girls grow to be healthy women in every way.