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  #11  
Old 05-28-2013, 03:06 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Thanks for the clarification on why you and Karma will be involved in the discussion. I honestly don't think it's necessary for the two of you to be there in order for the daughter to know she can come to you.

My further question would be, since you wish as a child you'd had more concrete answers, what concrete answers are you thinking of giving a 4 year old? To tell her directly this is Karma's girlfriend? What does 'girlfriend' mean to this 4 year old? When she asks, do you intend to go on to tell her it means the two of them have sex?

I recently read a short excerpt about a father on a train, whose young daughter asked a question that was beyond her years by far. When they got off the train, he asked her to carry his work bag. She protested that it was too heavy for her. He said, "For now, so is the answer to your question. Let me carry that for a bit, too, until you're older." (From a Corrie ten Boom book in case anyone is interested.)

I get the feeling there's almost an eagerness to Discuss Poly with this little girl; an eagerness on the part of you, karma, your brother, and his wife, to Be Open-Minded and Teach Open-Mindedness. My feeling is that no matter how precocious a 4 year old is, no matter how intelligent, she is still a very young child. Sometimes, as adults, we can say, "She's a friend," and "We'll talk about that when you're older." I work with kids, and have a great deal of experience with kids this age. Take what you want from my thoughts.
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  #12  
Old 05-28-2013, 09:07 PM
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RainyGrlJenny RainyGrlJenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
My further question would be, since you wish as a child you'd had more concrete answers, what concrete answers are you thinking of giving a 4 year old? To tell her directly this is Karma's girlfriend? What does 'girlfriend' mean to this 4 year old? When she asks, do you intend to go on to tell her it means the two of them have sex?
...
I get the feeling there's almost an eagerness to Discuss Poly with this little girl; an eagerness on the part of you, karma, your brother, and his wife, to Be Open-Minded and Teach Open-Mindedness. My feeling is that no matter how precocious a 4 year old is, no matter how intelligent, she is still a very young child. Sometimes, as adults, we can say, "She's a friend," and "We'll talk about that when you're older." I work with kids, and have a great deal of experience with kids this age. Take what you want from my thoughts.
I think it's weird that you equate "girlfriend" with "sex." Do you think the 4-year-old will think of sex when she hears "girlfriend?" Would you feel differently if a monogamous person was introducing their long-term girlfriend to a child? When I became serious with Fly, and especially moved in with him, he didn't tell his son (who was around 3 when I moved in) "This is who Daddy has sex with." He told him, "This is someone Daddy loves, this is my girlfriend." Fly and I are not getting married, so I will always be the girlfriend.

It's a huge difference between introducing kids to your fuck buddies, vs. the people you love. I think it's demeaning to the partner to be introduced as just a friend, and demeaning to the child to believe they can't handle understanding that people create their own families. I also think it's an admirable thing to want to teach tolerance and open-mindedness. Looking at what goes on in the world, it's my belief that more children need to be taught those values.

I also work with young children, and have for decades. It's important to not give them information beyond their developmental capabilities, but there are a lot of ways to convey big concepts to kids without using words or ideas that are adult in nature. In my opinion, it's never wrong to teach children that it's ok to love people, and that families are all different and all valid and valuable.
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- Moonlight, single, leans monogamous, girlfriend since 6/2012
- Punk, married guy, poly, FWB since 9/2011 with an emphasis on the "F"
- No longer lives with ex-boyfriend Fly (1/2006 - 12/2013, my introduction to nonmonogamy), and his 9-year-old son Kiddo
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  #13  
Old 05-28-2013, 09:25 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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First, it was a question, not a statement. It was a request for clarification about what they really plan on telling this child. About what they plan to say if she presses for more information about what 'girlfriend' means when he clearly already has a wife. I think that's important.

Second, in this day and age, 'girlfriend' usually does mean someone you're having sex with. Not always, obviously. My experience--on forums, etc--has been that it's so common that many people tend to get very critical of people who choose not to have sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend, and act as if that person is abnormal or perhaps has some issues. Based on reading on this board, I don't think it's weird at all that someone would think most people on this forum in particular are having sex with their boyfriends/girlfriends. (Might be an interesting poll.) In fact, a comment addressed to me just last week made the assumption that I am 'fucking' my boyfriend and no one at all stopped to point out that it was, in fact, an assumption, that I have never once said I'm sleeping with him.

But the fact remains, it was a question, not a statement.

My comment was not on the value of open-mindedness or tolerance or teaching it, but on being so eager to exhibit one's open-mindedness that one races into a conversation sooner than might be appropriate, or discusses things that aren't necessary.

I don't find it demeaning at all to introduce someone as a friend. And if my boyfriend had children, I would find their well-being more important than what word was used to describe me. He himself puts concern for my children (and how my dating a married man would affect them) above his feelings about whether I introduce him as a friend or boyfriend. I believe children's well-being should always come above adult's concern about a label. But everyone has their opinion on that, and that's the value of asking a question here and getting different opinions and views on which to reflect.
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2013, 10:19 PM
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RainyGrlJenny RainyGrlJenny is offline
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I think my problem is that it feels like you're focused on the sexual part of girlfriend as a relationship label. I don't see how it's any different than wife - I think most people assume men fuck their wives, and vice versa (regardless if that's actually the case), but I don't know that you'd say that to a four-year-old..."This is my wife. That means we have sex."

I don't see how being honest with kids endangers their well-being, but I do see how being dishonest or unforthcoming could hurt my kid. I don't choose to perpetuate secrets or gloss over reality, and I don't want him to grow up to be ashamed of anyone or ones that he chooses to love. I strongly believe that teaching love, teaching, tolerance, teaching truth, teaching compassion are our most sacred responsibilities as adults who influence children. Trying to hide, or to gloss over someone's loving relationships sends a message that it's wrong, bad, shameful, or something not to be discussed.

I'm happy to agree to disagree, and I think you and I probably live very different kinds of lives that color our perceptions.
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35/bi/f

- Moonlight, single, leans monogamous, girlfriend since 6/2012
- Punk, married guy, poly, FWB since 9/2011 with an emphasis on the "F"
- No longer lives with ex-boyfriend Fly (1/2006 - 12/2013, my introduction to nonmonogamy), and his 9-year-old son Kiddo
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  #15  
Old 05-29-2013, 03:36 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyGrlJenny View Post
I think my problem is that it feels like you're focused on the sexual part of girlfriend as a relationship label.
I'm not sure why one sentence in my original post would make you think I'm 'focused on' that. It seems to me this should be a fairly simple discussion: "Pixie? That's Karma's friend." There's nothing dishonest about it and I don't see where any 'shame' comes into that.
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  #16  
Old 05-31-2013, 06:20 AM
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Mohegan Mohegan is offline
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Thank you RainygrlJenny, Karma and I were just reading this together and couldn't have responded better ourselves. You pretty much covered what we were thinking.

To us g/f doesn't equate sex, especially for my brother and his wife who stayed virgins until marriage 6 years (or more I don't remember) into their relationship. We equate the terms g/f, b/f, spouse with love and deep affection, not sex.

I do find it demeaning to refer to someone in a relationship as a 'friend'. Even as a young child when my Gma would refer to my aunt's b/f's as 'friends' I wondered how stupid she thought we were. We knew they were dating.

There's really no 'eagerness' to discuss poly with her. But it is what her parents want to do and Karma and I are okay with that. Is it necessary for us all to be involved in the talk, maybe not. But it's how our family is choosing to handle it.

As for what we'll say or how we'll answer questions...we aren't sure yet, hence the starting of this thread.
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