Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash
Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash

My 5 Year-old Kissed a Student at School: Should I be Worried?

Question

Our kindergarten son recently got in trouble at school for kissing a girl. Should we be worried?

Answer

Worried no.  Concerned yes.  Let me explain.

I remember when the oldest daughter of one of my good friends got off the bus after her first day of kindergarten holding the hand of a little boy.  She introduced him to her dad and told him that “Someday Roger and I are going to get married.”  He talked with her about what that meant to her and within a couple of days she and Roger were still friends but decided they wouldn’t get married and that was the end of it.

Kids have great imaginations and it’s not uncommon for them to play boyfriend and girlfriend.  It’s also not uncommon for little kids to be affectionate, to want to hug a friend who is sad or to want to kiss the “owie” of a friend who is hurt . . .  so you probably don’t need to be alarmed.

At the same time there are surprising things that can take place in kindergarten.  I remember when one of my sons came home from his Christian kindergarten and asked what oral sex was.  Really?  In a Christian school? Yes. Parents need to be ready for any conversation and grab every teachable moment.

This is a great opportunity to talk about touching—good touching and bad touching.  Good touch is like when Mommy or Daddy, Granny or Grandpa give you a hug or a kiss or squeeze your hand.  Bad touch makes you feel uncomfortable and is usually in places that are private and personal.

It’s never too early to teach your kids about their body, sexuality and what healthy boundaries look like.  It’s never too early to teach them that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and what healthy and appropriate expressions of affection look like.  You and your spouse need to prayerfully consider what to tell your son.  Most parents set boundaries such as no touching the private parts and no kissing on the mouth.  It’s okay to give hugs but kisses are saved for your family and close friends.

It’s never too early to begin to teach, in language a kindergartner can understand, the message of I Corinthians 6: 19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Rather than react by jumping to conclusions it’s better to respond by learning more about what happened.  Talk to the teacher and talk to your son.  Find out what was going through his mind and what the kiss meant to him.  Let him experience that you will always listen to him and always try to understand.  Let him know that he is precious to God and precious to you.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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