Last Updated on March 20, 2018

What can a teenage girl teach a bunch of boys about relationships in a simple greeting?


We recently had some visitors at our home. We have been friends with this family for about eight years, though most of that time we’ve lived in different states and enjoy visits just two or three times a year. This is a family who has three boys ages 15, 13, and 10 … and to put it bluntly, whenever they are with us all three boys are so interested in “hanging” with our daughter it’s almost comical to me. They refer to her as the sister they never had.

For them she’s “safe,” not like the typical girl they deal with at school and church, but a safe girl they can actually spend time with and not feel intimidated by. It’s like she’s the representative of these strange creatures that these boys are constantly trying to figure out. My take is that they observe and interact with her in an effort to figure out just how girls work.

I always get a kick out of meal time, when there is always major jockeying for position as they each are trying to sit by her. They went with us to church on Sunday, the 10-year-old got the coveted seat next to her during church, much to the chagrin of the other two.  After church we hung out a while and they met a few of my daughters friends—more interested curiosity and “strange creature” observing.

Back at the house during lunch the boy’s dad made the following observation: “Why is it that when girls see their friends they hug and start chatting happily? When my sons meet their friends they say, ‘Hey’ and look down at their shoes.”

I realize now that my son truly is at an advantage because he is learning so much about girls and the way they act and think because he has a sister to observe. For that matter, my daughter is learning all about guys (at times more than she wants to know) when it comes to what they find funny and how they communicate love. All the bantering, bickering, laughing, and shoving is teaching each child how the opposite sex reacts and communicates.

Teenagers are reminding me that I learned some of my best lessons on boundaries and feelings of others by how I interacted with my own siblings.

If your children do not have siblings of the opposite sex, I encourage you to seek out opportunities for them to spend time with families who can offer those experiences to your children. Everyone needs a chance to figure out the “strange creatures” they will someday be married to … childhood playmates and friendships provide that opportunity.

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  1. I grew up the oldest of three boys. It wasn't until I have had three girls of my own (as well as four boys) that I've begun to understand girls (and women) better. I see the way my sons interact with their sisters and realize that they have a much greater perspective on girls than I did.