What I’ll Tell My Daughters About Their First Boyfriend

Cute children holding red heart shape in summer park. Valentines day background.

Huddle up girls.

I know you’re only six and nine and the idea of a boy kissing, touching or liking you is capital G GROSS right now, but you need to be ready for the day that changes. You need to be ready for the day a boy, or girl, takes your heart and cradles it lovingly in his hand before smashing it to the ground and jumping on it with soccer cleats.

I know, that was harsh, but this is important. I need to make sure you’re paying attention.

Oh sweetie, don’t cry, I don’t mean your actual heart. I meant your feelings. What happens when someone hurts your feelings.

Better now? Okay good.

So here’s the scoop: Right now boys are annoying. They’re loud, they’re rough and most of them smell. They don’t like dolls or stuffies and they think most of the things you like are stupid. They’re right about Shopkins, by the way, but I digress.

Soon, much sooner than mommy and daddy would like, you will start to see boys, or girls, differently. You will develop feelings for them that are different from the feelings you have for us or for your other friends. You’ll probably feel these feelings in your tummy. You might start acting different when that person is around. You might start to pay attention to where he is at all times and finding reasons to be around him. These feelings might make you embarrassed, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Liking, or feeling like you love someone, is a wonderful thing. It’s called having a crush …. because that’s how you’ll feel when it ends.

But trust me my little angels, you will survive.  You will cry and sob and rage about the unfairness of it all. You will wonder what you did wrong and consider changing everything about yourself in order to please him.

But here’s the really important part: DON’T.

One of the hardest lessons you’ll ever learn is this: sometimes the people we love don’t love us back. Sometimes they start loving us then change their minds, and sometimes we change our minds about them.

Remember, this is romantic love we’re talking about, the long, smoochy kissing kind of love. The kind mommy and daddy have for you is the kind that lasts forever and ever no matter how many things you break, what colour you dye your hair or how many times you skip school. We will always love you unconditionally and beyond reason, forever and ever. This is non-negotiable. (That means stamped it, no erasies).

Boys, on the other hand, come with no such guarantee. They will come and go and the only thing that will stay the same is YOU. Yes, you will change, grow, travel, learn new things and do different jobs but your pure, sweet, wonderful, full hearts will, I hope, never change. The person you are in your heart and soul should remain strong.

When I watch you I’m overwhelmed by your confidence, the way you walk around the house singing and dancing, laughing and being silly, so sure of who you are and that you are loved. If I could bottle that innocence, my babies, I would. And even though I can’t protect you from every crappy thing the world throws at you, I will prepare you for it as best I can.

If you’ve hurt someone or made a mistake, please apologize and make it right. If you’ve been hurt, know that it’s okay to cry, and to be disappointed and heartbroken when things don’t go your way. But promise me you will never doubt who you are. Staying true to yourself is the thing that will get you through difficult times. Know your heart and know your worth. Believe in them and don’t settle for someone who makes you feel less than you are.

Movies would have us believe that everything works out in the end. That all you need to mend a broken heart is a quirky best friend, unlimited Chardonnay and a great haircut. An entire industry has been built on the fantasy that a handsome single dad will eventually notice you and you’ll live happily ever after with his adorable twins and the blind cat he rescued from the well on his parents’ farm. Your happily ever after may not involve any of those things and yet everything will be okay because you have what you need to be happy: your own true heart, and confidence in who you are and what you’re meant to be.

You’re still at the age where you believe me and like me (most days) so I hope this lesson sinks in. It’s the best I can do to prepare you for that crazy BIG thing called love. This is the voice of experience talking so I’m asking you to trust me, even if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Remember what I’ve said, call me every day, don’t get a tattoo and you’ll be just fine.



Picture of Jen Millard

Author: Jen Millard

Jen Millard is a proud wife and mother of two living in Markham, Ontario. After adopting both her girls at age four, Jen and her husband Daren became passionate advocates for older child adoption, foster care reform and LCBO gift cards. An avid traveller, Jen counts Hawaii, Edinburgh, Greece and Canada's east and west coasts among her favourite destinations. Jen is happiest when she's got her nose in a book, a glass of wine at her side and a nap on the horizon. Jen is at her unhappiest when she is talking to her husband about her credit card bill or contemplating working out. When she's not blogging, Jen is busy cleaning up after three badly-behaved pets and working as a part-time College instructor and Stella & Dot Stylist. Jen and her family spend their summers on Prince Edward Island.

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