My first grade son Volcano came home the first few weeks of school constantly talking about Emily: Emily this and Emily that. I thought it was an innocent little crush, much like Volcano has on Princess Leia or Gabriella from High School Musical.
But then things got weird. Volcano would often say that Emily is talking to him about marriage and asking him when he can start dating. What? Excuse me?! RED FLAG!
Then Volcano said Emily keeps asking for his phone number. Now, why does a 7-year-old girl need my son's phone number? And when I volunteered in Volcano's class, Emily told me, "I think your son's in LOVE with me! He said he's going to MARRY me!"
"Really?" I said, annoyed. "Because my son isn't allowed to think about marriage until he graduates college. So... you could be waiting a looooooong time."
A few weeks later, Volcano brought home a note from Emily. (Thank God he tells me everything and shows me anything he gets from school.) In it was a crayon drawing of a boy and a girl kissing, with the labels showing that they were indeed Volcano and Emily. Hearts surrounded the couple. Written, in pencil, the note said, "I love you and I will never stop loving you and when I'm a grown up I will love you forever." Just this past weekend at a recent birthday party, this same girl was tackling the boys and chasing after them, telling them to give her a kiss. She even tried to start a rumor that day that Volcano was in love with the guest of honor.
Two words: SIGH and KO. I am officially creeped out by a 7-year-old girl.
Apparently I am not the only one that has had this experience. Some of my other friends who have first grade sons have had similar stories, with girls buying their sons gifts, writing inappropriate love notes, or asking for phone numbers. I even saw a girl slip my friends' son a piece of paper with her phone number on it and coo, "Call me." These girls are acting like they're some 22-year-old on The Bachelor, not a 7-year-old in a first grade classroom. What is it with the girls of today? Why are they pushing relationships and professing crushes at the tender age of 7?
I have a feeling it has to do with a lot of the media out there. Shows like Hannah Montana and Suite Life of Zach and Cody portray pre-teens and teens chasing the opposite sex as the major plot of the show. "Trying to get the guy" seems to be the motive of almost all of the female characters on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel. That is what these young girls are watching, so that is what they think they should be doing.
Now, I'll admit, I've never watched any of these shows (I can't bear to sit through any of them) and I certainly don't let my kids watch them. But I see the backpacks and the Halloween costumes these young girls are wearing that try to emulate them. I find it more than coincidental that the girls wearing these clothes and giving out the Hannah Montana valentines are the same ones chasing after the boys. These shows are targeted for the younger, female set -- no way would a teenage boy be interested in that junk. Believe me, I have a 15-year-old nephew, and he is constantly making fun of all of it. And the sad thing is, I know it's just going to get worse as the kids get older.
It doesn't help that Miley Cyrus and her cronies have had their own scandals, including their own racy photos. When searching images, it was hard not to avoid any of these girls exposing themselves for the camera.
The whole Emily experience has been a good lesson for both of my kids. For my son, we are continuously discussing how to handle a girl like this. For my daughter, we are discussing the difference between inappropriate and appropriate behavior between the sexes.
Apparently, it's never too early to start.