Dear Dr. Bill,
I have 5-year-old daughter who talks a lot about having a boyfriend. Recently, while playing with some neighborhood, she and a boy her age kept going off into a corner of the yard so they could quote, “be alone.”
I calmly told her this behavior was not appropriate and that she’s too young to have a boyfriend. My daughter also likes to chase and hug boys a lot. What should we do about this?
My first piece of advice is TURN OFF THE TV! My guess is that your daughter has learned about the concept of boyfriends and “being alone together” from what she’s seen on television.
I’d encourage you to think about the type of programs that you’ve allowed her to watch, and then set up some new viewing guidelines in your family. Another possibility is that she has learned this behavior by observing an older brother or sister or the older sibling of one of her friends.
I wouldn’t be overly concerned about your daughter’s behavior. Part of what you are witnessing is simply 5-year-old make believe. However, the fact that is chasing after boys and seems intent on hugging them indicates she is imitating behavior she’s seen elsewhere.
If she engages in this behavior again, I would gently take her aside and ask her where she learned about “boyfriends.” Lovingly explain to her that you’re glad that she has good friends who are both boys and girls, but that girls don’t have “boyfriends” until they are much older.
In the case of my daughters Anna and Eva, that won’t be until their at least 25 (just kidding!)
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