This adorable, distressed 5-year-old is two girls away from having as many girlfriends as the years he has been alive. The young boy feels the weight of balancing these three girls, wishing he were 4 again, when apparently dating was easier. However, instead of learning his lesson and aiming for a more monogamous relationship, he can only fathom letting go of one. With his cute little childish lisp, viewers cannot help but smile at the naivety and pure honesty of his confession. Many commenters are caught up in how adorably cute this Don Juan that they praise, tease, and even commend his efforts. Some commenters however, see the risk of promoting such lax dating views at such a young age.
This child is not the only cutie pie dating at this young of an age. Adults tend to accept youths dating as a temporary phase or rite of passage, knowing from their own experience or the experiences of others that dating tends not to last the earlier it is committed. Some parents see it as a necessary character-building experience or resign to the inevitable truth that children will date before they are ready. Although these kinds of experiences shape and mold a person, several studies showed that children that started dating as early as 11 were at risk of lasting term damage of emotionally scarring. Relationships are difficult to maintain and can cause stress even without juggling more than one.
These studies encouraged dating later than earlier, regardless of how cute it would be to see two children in a “relationship.” One study concluded that younger daters were “twice as likely to engage in abnormal behaviors” than late developers. They were more likely to fight, “lie, cheat, and run away.” These studies found a correlation between early-dating and delinquent behavior, concluding that the possibility of unhealthy attachments were higher for kids who dated at a younger age because of their underdeveloped perspective and lack of coping techniques. They were also more like to “indulge in risky behaviors,” like drinking and unprotected intimacy.
Meanwhile, the academic achievers became late bloomers, and managed to maintain more mature relationships. Their focus on school allowed them to develop their social skills and experiencing less emotionally attached disappointments. As a result, they were capable of increasing the velocity of intimacy without risking similar adverse effects. They would experience working through their feelings without their hormones clouding their judgment.
Children have always learned about relationships from what they were exposed to, whether it was the media, school, or the household. Youths start to develop and become curious about relationships as they derive information about dating from the people around them. Avoiding unhealthy relationships at an early age is highly dependent on parental guidance. While this 5-year-old child can melt hearts with his cute demeanor, the risk of emotional dependence and social difficulties does not seem worth it. While there appears to be genuine benefits to waiting to date, it would take a carefully worded explanation, consistent follow up, and actual live examples to have a chance of successfully dissuading premature dating.
Opinion by Sophia Bien