Remember those days when “puppy love” was considered cute and endearing? It’s not unusual for kids to have crushes (even before they really know what it means) or classmates they are really fond of, but for North West, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s 5-year-old daughter, it seems like she’s way ahead of the other kids her age.
Caiden Mills, rapper Consequence’s 7-year-old son, has shared several photos of him and North, making their relationship “Instagram official.” Of course, an adult might be the one behind the captions and postings on his Instagram account, but photos show how he took her on a date and he even got her a Tiffany & Co. gift. “Shout out to Northie, Babygirl I’ll see you soon 😘😘😘,” he wrote in one shot of him posing with his Tiffany & Co. bag. Caiden seems well liked by North’s parents. He posted a shot with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on December 3. “Kim and Kanye treated me to dinner last night!”
Too much too soon?
Being a parent means guiding your child through many stages of life. We all know the lifestyle of the Kardashian-Wests. They live the life of luxurious mansions, designer clothing, exclusive parties, social media, and the like, and North is already exposed to all of it, including being in the public eye. In one TMZ episode, North was shown visibly distressed at the paparazzi taking photos of her while she and mom Kim were out and about at the Ice Cream Museum in LA. In the video, she can be seen shouting, “No photos!”
Having a boyfriend is another matter altogether, and it was documented on social media for all to see.
In August, 2016, a 10-year- old girls’ letter to her teacher went viral after she implored the school to let students have boyfriends and girlfriends. During the previous term, staff had spoken to students and discouraged relationships because they were ‘too young’ and they should not display affection at school. The fifth grade student argued in her letter that boyfriends and girlfriends should be allowed at school because it helps children “learn to handle big emotions.” Secondly, she wrote, “love is normal and natural.”
But should we put too much stress on the terms “boyfriend and girlfriend” with kids as young as 5 and 7? Should we even be worried?
Erika Brodnock, CEO of Karisma Kidz, which helps children raise their self esteem, says. “Children are innocent and platonic friendships between girls and boys are similar to same gender friendships and are harmless.”
Judy Reith, parenting coach and director of Parenting People said, “There is no law about when you are old enough to have a girlfriend or boyfriend, unlike the age of consent. You need to know your child well, because some children may be ready for a relationship at 12 but another not until they are 17.”
But while North and Caiden’s “relationship” seems harmless, the fact that it is shared in the media might cause issues for other kids. Gylnis Kozma of Huffington Post writes, “The pressure on young teens to have a relationship – and even a sexual one – is often created by the media and many children feel they ought to have a boyfriend or girlfriend by a certain age to prove their attractiveness. Building your child’s self esteem so they don’t need to go down that road too soon will help.”
While parents shouldn’t have to worry about their children interacting and forming friendships with children of all genders, we shouldn’t have to label these as “boyfriend and girlfriend” relationships, or in what Caiden referred to as his “boo.” More importantly, we should let kids be kids, and allow them to grow and discover relationships in the right time.